An Interview With MONOGEM On New Music, Favorite Artists And More!
Posted On 20 Jun 2017
MONOGEM recently released her sophomore EP, “100%.”
The EP plunges into more sophisticated territory with deeper cuts and complex production. Heightened vocal effects and a whirlwind of modular and analog synths contributed by producer and sound designer Peter Dyer amplify MONOGEM’s astral sound in this new EP.
MONOGEM captured everyone’s attention after she released the official music video for the single “Wild.” Directed by Finders Pictures, and starring COCO ARQUETTE (daughter of Courteney Cox & David Arquette) and Matthew RC Taylor (who has over 1 million followers on Musical.ly & Instagram. The video has already gained popularity and coverage from outlets such as Good Morning America. Following the viral video, MONOGEM released a makeup tutorial video on Refinery29 with Coco Arquette and Matthew RC Taylor to help break down gender stereotypes.
Learn more about MONOGEM and her music in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? How is 2017 treating you?
Thank you for interviewing and listening to my music! Looking back on 2016 in regards all things music, it was a creative and patient year. I fully enjoyed the process of finishing up my second EP and while it took longer than expected, it was totally worth the wait.
2017 has been extremely busy and filled with excitement and new experiences. I released a video that I could not be more proud of, a couple singles that all lead up to a 7 song EP, and just had an amazing sold out release show in my hometown of LA at the Bootleg Theater. Life is good.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
I am sitting in my home studio/office, it is a gloomy, gray Santa Monica afternoon, and I am listening to one of my favorite new artists: Nick Hakim – his new record Green Twins dropped the same day as mine, we’re release day twins 🙂
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
Growing up, becoming a musician was always my number one priority. Some of my earliest musical memories were always shared with my dad, driving around in many of LA’s beautiful canyons listening to anything from The Beatles, to Led Zeppelin, to The Three Tenors with Luciano Pavarotti. I was oddly obsessed with Pavarotti, which is kind of weird when you think of it? BUT, I think I loved him because my dad would sing his songs around the house at the top of his lungs….and they both had huge beards. I also dressed up as Mariah Carey for like 4 Halloweens in a row. I can’t picture doing anything else today. I am right where I’m supposed to be.
How did you come up with your name? Why did you decide not to go by your own name?
When I came up with the concept of MONOGEM, I was ready for a change. I had been making singer/songwriter music under my own name, Jen Hirsh, and I knew it was time for a musical departure. A lot of the visual inspiration for this project was very cosmic, astrological and dream-like. I discovered that a Monogem Ring is actually a supernova remnant, and one of the largest ones studied to date has been found near the Gemini and Cancer constellations — I am a Gemini/Cancer cusp. And the rest is history.
Let’s talk about your recently released EP, “100%.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the process at all?
The feeling of putting a musical baby out into the universe is scary af. However, this time around I felt more confident in all of my decisions, way more prepared and dare I say: a bit more seasoned. Collectively, this is my fourth release, including the singer/songwriter music from my past. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and it feels really really good. I think the most shocking thing about the process is that I’ve actually been independently creating and releasing music of my own for about 8 years now! I’m really proud that I’ve persisted and persevered.
What was it like making the video for your single, “Wild”? How did you get to have Coco Arquette be a part of it? How creatively involved were you with the video?
Creating that video was an amazing way to end the year. We filmed it in just one day in December, and all of the preparation that went into the making of the video completely fell into place on our shoot day. Leading up to it, everything felt super DIY and “indie” which has it’s own unique charm. However, once we had the finished product, I felt like a real producer with a creative vision that had been totally illuminated. I’ve been close with Coco and her family for years now, and I always knew I wanted her to star in a music video of mine – this was the perfect opportunity.
You have also released a makeup tutorial video with Coco Arquette and Matthew RC Taylor. Is makeup another one of your passions? Can you elaborate on how you hope to hope videos like this one on Refinery29 help break down gender stereotypes?
I love makeup and always have. I also love wearing zero makeup, I feel just as beautiful with and without it. I couldn’t be happier with the response of this video, and especially the responses from Coco and Matthew RC Taylor when interviewed about stereotypes and bullying in their community. I am proud to have worked with such brilliant young actors who have such strong opinions about the world they are living in. Working with young minds is inspiring and so important. I feel it is part of my job to instill feelings of peace and acceptance within my own community and the people who listen to my music.
When do you hope to release more new music and a full-length album of new songs? Are you constantly thinking of material for new songs these days? Where do you get the most inspired?
I’m already in the studio working on new material — I’ve been very inspired lately by all of the new music that is being released around me. Lately, I’ve been pulling inspiration from live shows — engaging in others’ artistry gets my wheels turning. I hope to have new music out as early as late summer or fall.
Do you have any plans to tour this summer? Where can people see you perform next?
Currently working on tour plans for the summer, I will be doing a few private shows in Chicago in August, ones where I can invite a few fans. I am very excited to tour this summer…stay tuned.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I love Solange, watching her develop into the artist she is today has been insanely stimulating and inspiring. I love how she uses performance art in her live show, she is a goddess. I also fell completely head over heels in love after seeing Bon Iver last fall, that show inspired a couple songs off the latest EP. I’ve also always been a huge fan of Kendrick Lamar. I’m also dying over a young UK musician/producer named Tom Misch, as well anything Kaytranada puts his genius on. I would kill to work with any of the above.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs?
I hope the message behind my music is honest, strong and super vibey. I hope whatever I was feeling when writing my music resonates with a listener in any capacity. That’s what it’s all about. That is why I make music.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I have so much more music in me, and I cannot wait to share it with you. <3