At the recent edition of Dunk Festival, Belgian drone act Monnik played a pretty solid set, kicking off a massive win for the whole Consouling Sounds stage (as you can read here). Not long after his gig, I had the chance to meet him and ask if he'd be interested in joining our Songs With Stories series. A few days after, he sent me this fine list.
I remember seeing Syndrome play some years ago in Ghent and completely being blow away by it. It really made a huge impact on me at the time. There was something about the stripped down minimalism that felt so compelling and awe-inspiring. From that moment on I just knew I wanted to be a musician and create music that conveyed the same emotional intensity that I felt during his performance. The next day I went out to the nearest music shop and bought the cheapest couple of pedals I could possibly find. And in that particular moment in time, Monnik was born.
This piece of music really had a huge impact on the way I look at music while I was busy writing the pieces for my next full length album (which will probably see the light of day somewhere late 2016 if all goes well). I was struggling with putting the music and the sounds together and felt like I was just repeating myself musically without really adding something new to the table. And then I really started listening to this album and I felt like I had opened an entirely new sonic playground, filled with options I hadn’t considered before. It really helped me in finding another musical voice, one that really removed boundaries I had imposed upon myself.
This is one of the later records Alice Coltrane made, after her husband (John Coltrane) passed away. I can't help but feel like the music on this album was her own way of coming to terms with the death of a loved one. The entire record really conveys the atmosphere of a grieving mother singing nursery rhymes to her children. Needless to say, it never fails to move me.
Indian classical music has always had a special place in my heart. The melodic character of the music, the pace, the meditative moods and the deep resonance of the tambura-drones; it all made so much sense from my musical perspective to listen to and take inspiration from what these musicians do. Although most people immediately think of sitar players like Shankar, for me Nikhil Banerjee always does the trick when I feel the need to shut off the outside world and become lost in the mind-altering atmosphere that this music so effortlessly seems to conjure up. His very minimalist yet effective way of playing the sitar has certainly had a huge influence on the way I approach playing the guitar, more so than any guitarist I ever listened to.
I don’t think any words could ever do this stunning piece of art any justice. There’s always something deeply personal and fragile about vocal music that makes it extremely powerful and effective. His music honestly made me consider using my own voice to evoke a similar religious and existential atmosphere. When you’re singing to an audience that is really listening, it can be the single most powerful thing ever, as if you’re connecting with all of them at the same time.