– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with MONO?
We just finished our first Asia tour. 8 cities in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietname for the first time. They all went great!
– Firts off, could you please elaborate a little bit on the origin behind the band’s name?
MONO means one thing. We wanted to be the one thing that can go over the boundaries of countries, cultures and languages.
– You are now releasing two new albums simultaneously. Are your expectations the same for both releases?
Double album concept was in a way an accident, but also a necessity. Like heads and tails on a coin.
– Why did you decide to split this work in two different albums instead of releasing a double album for example?
The two albums are opposition of each other, and they are also both independent as albums.
– «The Last Dawn» apparently has a more mellow sound, feturing six tracks inspired in sound tracks and Shoegaze. What were some of the main musical inspirations behind it?
The reason for this is because there were two sides of strong emotions crashing inside of me: an absolute darkness and hope.
The darkness wasn’t anything to do with sadness, it was more or less about anger and suffering, like an endless disappointment or an uncontrollable despair. From these feelings, I started writing for a new album. But when you actually start writing based on these feelings, your daily life starts to become much darker and depressing. For example, even when I got out of the studio, my feelings were very rebellious without any thoughts, almost as though I had sold my soul to hell.
So at the same time, I started to compose more songs but in a very different style, not necessarily for MONO but just for the sake of letting my emotions out. I started to change my lifestyle as well, like I almost always composed songs at late nights, but started writing early in the mornings or in the afternoon instead. Eventually, these new songs started to become like medicine for myself, just to live through everyday life.
At that time, I had no intention of releasing two albums at the same time. But as time went on, I started to be able to accept the songs I wrote when I was in a really bad place, the songs which represented the dark side of me, the songs that I didn’t want to go near at least for a while. I then had thoughts about making all these songs as one album but it just did not feel right.
“The Last Dawn” is an opposition album to “Rays of Darkness”. It is essentially an album about escaping from the darkness and seeking the light. At least for me anyway. This is why we decided to release the songs as two albums.
– You also used here moe arrengments. How did you approach the whole writing process?
The main human emotions are divided into positivity and negativity, and let’s say that they’re both 50/50 to begin with. If we have even 1% more positive emotions, everything will start to lead towards the light. To simply put, for «The Last Dawn», in a minimalist approach, I wanted to express that regardless of your current situations or emotions, if you accept everything as it is and find more positivity, you will eventually be able to overcome all the negativity.
– On the other hand, «Rays of Darkness» has no string instruments on it, being your first album in 15 like this. What could you comment on this and on this album?
For “Rays of Darkness”, I wanted to express that if you have even 1% more negative emotions or thoughts, the chaos will eventually spread and drag you down to darkness without you noticing about it. I just started to think that even everything is in disorder; there is something that’s always in order. I really wanted to express that to the world as art.
– You play some kind of complex, not easy-listening Post-Rock, with different nuances. Due to this I would like to know where do you draw inspiration from, both to build your compositions as well as your ambiences.
This time, the inspiration came from a story I recently read about this athlete. He was a very fortunate and talented man since he was little, but one day, he injured himself during one of the games and became unable to play sports anymore for rest of his life. He fell into a deep depression and lost his purpose to live, could no longer have any dream or hope for many, many years. He even thought about killing himself.
Many years later, he rose from the darkness and wrote a book for athletes to create a body that would prevent them from getting injured. The book became really popular in the sports world and is now considered to be one of the most important books. He found out about the meaning of the deepest darkness for the first time and discovered what his destiny is.
This time, I wanted to express the both sides of darkness and light, which everyone experiences in their lives over two albums.
For those who are struggling to keep up with this progressing world, thinking about giving up on their dreams, have fear towards their future or can’t find their own place, I wanted to give them the music that will allow them to go over their walls.
The darkest place is near the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up and keep walking towards the light. You might not notice then but the darkness is there for you to be stronger and to get to the higher place. I wanted to show that and give people hope.
As far as the sound goes, we decided to not use much orchestra or strings which we have been using heavily up until now. As a result, we only used a small quartet in “The Last Dawn” but overall, we wanted to go back to the straight forward approach of expressing everything as a 4 piece band. We also wanted to expand the possibility of guitar music and create a wall crashing sound like we used to back in the days.
– All this about «The Last Dawn» and «Rays of Darkness» being said; how could you describe each album in just 3 words?
I can’t describe in 3 words, but they ended up expressing 2 essential, yet unavoidable sides of life:, such as light and darkness, hope and hopelessness, love and loss, indescribable pain and unmeasurable happiness.
– You are hailing from Japan, a country with quality bands, both into Rock and Metal. How’s the current state of this kind of music in your country?
I’m never really in Japan so I don’t know what’s happening in the Japanese scene.
– Is it easy to become a successful in Asia playing your brand of music?
It really wasn’t easy. Originally I decided to make an instrumental band because I couldn’t’ sing, and back then, because of that, we weren’t accepted to play in a lot of venues in Japan. This is why we decided to leave to the States.
Even after 15 years, we feel that our recognition in Japan is far less comparing to overseas.
– You’ve been around for about 15 years now, which is a long time so, what moments do you recall as the best and worst ones with the band thus far?
Every moment is our important memory, but the most special ones would be the ones with 24 people orchestra in New York, London, Melbourne and Tokyo. As an indie band, they were like a dream come true experiences.
– And what are some of your goals still to accomplish?
Like before, we want to keep on trying new things without fearing the risk. And also, we’ve played over 50 countries, but we still haven’t been to places like the Middle East, South America and India. We’d like to visit all the places we haven’t been yet.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
At the moment, we have plans to do our world tour for the new albums up until summer next year.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you very much! We will be touring in Spain next Spring, hope to see you then!