As some of you may know, life has been extremely busy the past 6 months. I have moved to Asheville NC to study Music Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I have recorded an EP. I have joined a band, which have played successfully live numerous times, and write their own work. With this band I have been back in the studio to record a single, done field recordings, have a documentary out about us and our beginnings, and are scheduling a 2-week summer tour of the eastern seaboard. I am writing and recording prolifically for my own personal music projects, and have taken up the pseudonym MONK. The EP tracks are uploaded on YouTube, where you can hear the demos. The official EP will be released in July.
Whew. Now you see why I haven’t released a post in a long while. Let’s start with the EP.
The EP – MONK – Seperation (EP)
In mid December, with the move date for Asheville fast-approaching, I began writing a short album of ambient and acoustic sketches as a surprise going away present to my life partner. There was no clear idea about what the album should be about, no clear directive musically. I expanded short sketches I had recorded over the previous few months, reshaping them to fit together more harmoniously as I didn’t have time to completely start from scratch. I had to do everything quickly. Write, rewrite, record, edit. Even miking the guitars and amplifiers was done quickly, using a single ribbon mic to record everything, running directly into the computer. No overdubs, no splicing or duplicating. Tracks were recorded in a matter of minutes, whenever I had the chance, yet somehow these basic sketches took on a beautifully rough nature. Not that the product was poorly executed, but in not having weeks or months to prepare the execution of such a project I was forced to create and create quickly. Not all parts have been recorded for the EP, only the bare bones guitar tracks. The rest will be completed in early May, and a release date should be set soon thereafter.
I used the idea of separation from me and her as a way to shape the sound of the album, giving it a lonely, haunting feel. This is why I have taken up the name MONK. The name represents my separation of not just loved ones, but from society in many ways, from the ideology of where I grew up, from the things that hold me back. Just as a monk or a nun separates themselves from the world in order to find a type of inner peace and self-realization, I have done this to myself in a way to fully tune in on who I am musically.
The Shameful Nameless
Vocals – Izzy Daniels
Synth – Caveh Davari-Nejad
Guitar – Jonathan Price
Bass – Jack Burton
Drums – Hurley (Drum machine) / Jack Burton
Within seriously hours of moving to Asheville, I had found a band. Unreal as it may seem, I had asked the now bassist, Jack, if he knew any bands at the time who were looking for a guitarist. Coincidentally, he was in a band, which was in need of a guitar player. They had only written one song, had never played live before, yet had somehow been around for a year, kicking musical ideas around without any luck of songwriting prolificacy. But there was potential. Within days of practicing together, there was a sound, a feeling developing. A feeling of pent up energy and raw potential which we are still trying to fully tap in to.
We held our first show only two weeks after our first practice, opening up for an indie-prog band called Mellowfield, at The Grotto; a venue on the bottom floor of the Highsmith Union building of UNC Asheville. Our setlist, which included three originals went over surprisingly well, being broadcast over the college radio live. Soon thereafter, we performed once again on campus opening the EchoFest music festival; a twelve hour college radio sponsored music festival on three stages simultaneously, held in the Highsmith Student Union. The culmination of what sounds like if the Pixies and the Foo Fighters had a punk offspring, our sound is full of classic, listenable aggression, with prog-like melodies and time signatures.
Talk soon emerged about touring. While we were at EchoFest, we were scouting for a potential band to travel with us for a short summer tour over the course of about two weeks, from Raleigh/Durham, up through Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence, Hartford, and finally Boston. Although there were a few possible contenders, none thusfare have been able to commit to such a difficult stretch of time. We have now been contacting venues and bands local to the previous areas to book ourselves as opening acts, spreading notoriety somewhere other than the Asheville area. Around this time, a documentary was put together to demonstrate what the beginnings of a band look like, and how each member brings their own set of skills to the table.
All the while we have been writing, and recording in order to keep growing as a band; fast approaching our goal of an EP. We entered University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Lipinsky’s recording studio two weeks ago to record our first single, “I’ve Been Looking for a Corpse“. A dance-y, hook-filled indie pop track, tastefully pieced together.
This past Thursday we cut a fast, lo-fi recording of “An Evening Out with Your Significant Other” live in a small conference room we commandeered yet again in the Highsmith Union. Although poorly mixed (We used a iPhone in the middle of the room) we’re using it as a rough demo and a way to analyze and critique ourselves into performing as well as writing better.
The Shameful Nameless
The Shameful Nameless
Writing and recording continues to expand upon the Separation EP, into the eventual album, entitled “Anamnesis.” The music has taken a bit more of a middle-eastern flavor acoustically, yet retains the big, ambient sound of electric guitar soundscapes and looping, with dramatic drums, and pulsating bass tracks.
More to come soon!