The Star Late Edition - - TONIGHT | MUSIC -

T FACE value, you might look at Monark and think they are an­other rock band, maybe al­ter­na­tive or even folk, but never pop.

Af­ter hav­ing a chat with the lead vo­cal­ist of the lo­cal band, I found that their mu­sic isn’t just about the “vibe and groove”. The mes­sages are in­cred­i­bly re­lat­able and, for the most part, deep.

Fol­low­ing the re­lease of their self­ti­tled sec­ond stu­dio al­bum last year, Monark have re­leased their third and highly an­tic­i­pated sin­gle off the al­bum, You Lie. Lead vo­cal­ist Eu­gene Coet­zer told me all about it.

“There is this strange thing that hap­pens in re­la­tion­ships when things are go­ing well and you’re feel­ing on top of the world, but then for no par­tic­u­lar rea­son, a sense of un­cer­tainty makes its way into the back of your mind.

“You start to ques­tion whether your part­ner feels the same way and this in­ter­nal, emo­tion­ally drain­ing bat­tle be­gins. You Lie is a song about fight­ing that un­cer­tainty and the bat­tle be­tween the good and the bad thoughts,” said Coet­zer.

You Lie is based on his own ex­pe­ri­ence. “I had a very bad breakup and, be­fore the break-up, I had the feel­ing that my part­ner did not feel the same way about me and my feel­ings were right, so there is a part of me in this song. I think that when you create art you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to ex­pose your­self some­times,” he said.

The al­bum was writ­ten and pro­duced by Coet­zer, to­gether with gui­tarist Ewald Janse van Rens­burg. Other band mem­bers in­clude bass gui­tarist Deon de Klerk and drum­mer Graeme Wuth.

Coet­zer said he started writ­ing the mu­sic just over a year be­fore they re­leased the al­bum.

“As with our pre­vi­ous al­bum, we had an idea of what an­gle we wanted to go for and what theme would en­com­pass the al­bum, but life hap­pens and we found while putting the al­bum to­gether that our idea was not com­ing to­gether as we wanted it to. And that was not a prob­lem be­cause we started look­ing at our per­sonal lives and what each of us was go­ing through at the time. We did, how­ever, want the mu­sic to be au­then­tic and not be coated in any candy and I think we did that,” he said.

“In the broader sense it is about love and re­la­tion­ships, but it is also about our strug­gles as hu­mans and I think that our strug­gles are rep­re­sented in our re­la­tion­ships.”

Coet­zer said: “Monark, the al­bum, was in­spired by the con­flict of in­ter­ests be­tween any two hu­man be­ings and the irony which flows from that. There is a fine bal­ance be­tween the pas­sion that drives a re­la­tion­ship and the colder choices be­hind its long-term sta­bil­ity.”

He de­scribes the sound of the al­bum as beat-driven.

“Over­all, this is a pop al­bum, but it is ex­tremely beat-driven, the songs are all about the groove. There are also a lot of dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences like hip hop and lots of har­monies,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Coet­zer, the band took three months to record the al­bum and, al­though that was a con­sid­er­ably short time in the stu­dio, there was still drama.

“You know what, there is ac­tu­ally al­ways drama in a stu­dio. We are all very stub­born and al­ways have some­thing to say so we are al­ways shout­ing at each other. It isn’t drama that will ruin us and it has got a lot bet­ter since we first got to­gether to make mu­sic. We re­spect each other and value each other’s opin­ions and, most im­por­tantly, we trust each other,” he said.

Be­fore chat­ting to Coet­zer, I lis­tened to Monark a few times and en­joyed Sake of our Love the most. For Coet­zer, how­ever, Snow House is his favourite.

“It’s a very in­tense song be­cause of its mean­ing. Ba­si­cally, the snow house rep­re­sents sta­bil­ity in a re­la­tion­ship, but in or­der for this snow house to sur­vive, it needs a fire to burn on the in­side of it, which is pas­sion. And of­ten, that’s how re­la­tion­ships are,” he said.

He also said that Monark is very dif­fer­ent to Nega­tives, the band’s first al­bum.

“The sound and con­tent are very dif­fer­ent to our first al­bum and I think what’s great about that is that with Monark, there is some­thing that ev­ery­one can re­late to and re­ally that’s what we want. We want peo­ple to take some­thing away from this al­bum.” Monark have re­leased their third and highly an­tic­i­pated sin­gle off the al­bum


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