MONOMANIC: "At the end of the day, a song has to be cool and hook you" 

When I went to see Valley of the Sun and King Buffalo this year, the Munich band MONOMANIC opened for them, who caught me quickly with their groovy mix of 70s influenced and modern sound. Since this turned out to be the release show for their debut album "Lágrimas", I got myself a hot off the press copy, and after having spent some time with their music, the quartet left me curious to learn more.


Glad about the opportunity to chat with them about their new record, backgrounds and the Munich music scene. Welcome to read here:  

Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions today. Could you please introduce yourself and MONOMANIC to our reader?

Schorsch: You’re most welcome :-) My name is Georg Bruchner, drummer and, together with Pablo, founding member for MONOMANIC. Pablo is our Spanish singer, bassist, and also the good soul of the band.

I've been involved in several bands before, but didn’t want to stop making music yet when I left my previous band Dune Pilot. In 2019, Pablo and I met each other through a Facebook group for Munich musicians. Oli joined us next, but he’s gonna introduce himself.

Oli: My name is Oliver Strosetzki. We started as a trio for a while, but realized something was missing, as I took over guitar and keyboards. So shortly before we recorded our album, Rafael, our man behind the keys found his way to us. He also brought great impacts to the song-writing with his huge organ licks. Over the years, we found a great dynamic and vibe with each other.

That's awesome. How did you come up with your band’s name, and is there a story behind?

Oli: I actually got the inspiration after having read Moby Dick. Captain Ahab is described as “monomanic”, which means he has this one idea of chasing the white whale, and is completely focused on that. First, we thought about “Monomaniac”, but taking one “a” away makes the name's sound even stronger. Having a connection with Mastodon’s famous album through this was a cool bonus ;-)

You just released your amazing debut album "Lágrimas" this summer. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?

Schorsch: We're very happy with the result and the feedback so far. There have been some reviews already, and they’re all positive, even though not a 10/10 ;-) but 4/5 or 7/10, which is awesome for the beginning, and a great motivation to continue writing new songs.

Oli: We often hear that people like the diversity on the album, and this is also something really important for us. When music is predictable, it becomes boring. Our genre is “heavy rock” if you like, which means everything and nothing ;-) Some people try to put us in the stoner rock corner, but I think it's cool when you have the one or other part in this direction, and then break out to bring in a different vibe.

"Angry Old Man" for example leads into a Rage against the Machine riff, in "Lágrimas", we have some slide guitar and lyrics in Spanish, "Medusa" got a bit of post rock, and so on. 

What can you tell us about the origins of your cover artwork, and how does it reflect the album thematically?

Pablo: The artwork was made by the Australian tatoo artist Oskar Marco, and contains parts of our song titles, like the Greek Medusa, tears and the rays from "Kingdom of the Sun". 

Could you dive a bit into the album's topics with us, please?

Schorsch: The lyrics were all written by Pablo. He always wants to tell a story, and they’re a mix of fictional and personal experiences and feelings.  He’s the protagonist, wandering through other galaxies, faraway countries, or whatever.

Pablo: Except “Angry Old Man”, which has a political background about those who reign the world at the moment, the lyrics are very personal. They're mostly metaphorical, deal with topics like unfulfilled relationships, impermanence, loss, and what remains when we’re gone. "Medusa" shines a different light on the Greek myth and women's role told through it.

Music-wise, it's dificult to pigeonhole MONOMANIC, as you lean in different directions. Where do you see your main influences?  

Schorsch: I started with classic heavy metal a long time ago, then turned toward grunge and crossover in the 90s. Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden is a great inspiration for me e.g with his incredible feeling for the right groove. If the drummer recognizes what the other instruments play and puts a cool rhythm on it, which doesn’t has to be always highly sophisticated or technical necessarly, then you’ve done everything right. It has to have groove :-)

Oli: My base comes from the 70s, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Michael Schenker... just to name a few. I’m also deeply into prog, and just discovered Black Metal for myself. Another interesting genre is electronic and pop music actually, which I can express myself with my other band, Electric Twin

Schorsch: Pablo comes from the punk rock direction, and sticks to the old rock fathers.
Raffi has a great classical background, also likes metal and stoner rock, but is very open minded  in all directions, like for example art projects melting electronic music with dance. 

That's an interesting mix indeed :-) Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process, please?

Schorsch: We always try to tell a little story. It’s not that A-B-A-B and probably a C part, but we want to find something that gives the song a new direction and makes it unique.

Oli: When I bring a new riff idea to the group, it’s wonderful to hear how the song develops when Schorsch adds a different groove, or Rafael lays his mighty organ chords over it. After two or three rehearsals, Pablo takes the song at home and makes his own thoughts about the lyrics, finding inspiration into our music as well as films and mythology. So we play the ball from one to another, everyone adds or changes something, till the song hooks us, which means feet or head start moving automatically. At the end of the day, the song has to be cool and catch you. 

We recorded with a friend of Pablo who works in a video game developing studio, and is a real mastermind. Schorsch impressed us all, as he needed only one session for his recording. He's really one of the best drummers I know. 

Schorsch: This recording was an interesting experience actually. Studios normally want to have the drums recorded with click, and I don’t mind to do so. But after having tried it with our tracks, we realized that the music doesn’t breathe anymore, as we have songs that increase or slow down a bit, which you can’t record with click programming.

Oli: So we all sat down with headphones and played the song together with Schorsch for the drum tracks, and recorded our own parts afterwards. Even though it might not be perfect, it’s vivid, and that's what music is supposed to be in our ears :-)

It is absolutely :-) Let's take a look at MONOMANIC live: What was your most memorable show so far? 

Oli: Opening for Valley of the Sun and King Buffalo was our first, big concert and CD release show in one, and the reactions were very positive. We sold merch and CDs, and are already booked for another gig there, so it seems we left a good impression. 

As you know, when you play as an opener, the first chords have to hit, and I think we really managed this, as the audience stayed and seemingly liked what they heard.
We couldn’t wish a better start for our album.

How would you describe the music scene in Munich? And did you notice any changes over the past years? 

Oli: There’s a lot diy going on at the moment. Since Corona, people don’t only want to wait for the big acts, but organize themselves, which brings a strong basis into the scene. Crisis means change, and in this case to a positive. 

Another important point for me is that you don’t have that much envy in our scene, there's a rather supportive atmosphere actually, compared to other areas.

Schorsch: Munich has the reputation of being “snobby” and rich, and not to be as "sexy" as Berlin for example ;-) but I think here’s a lot going on if you know the right corners, in which you can find really cool stuff. And even though there are not too many really big names around, we have a very active and vivid scene.

There is also a great funding from our city to support venues who are opened for local acts, and there is a wide range of bands now. When you make good music, you’ll get your chance to play, and when you deliver, you might get more invitations.

That's awesome to hear! What can you tell us about your future plans?

Oli: We want to play great gigs every 2 – 3 months - the next oone is on December 28th in Munich btw. - and probably record a new album end of 2023. We  have several songs already cooking, so this seems to be realistic.

Schorsch: We would be keen to play more shows outside of Munich, and already have several in sight, but no particular dates to share yet. So keep an eye on our socials for the announcements to come.


Thanks a lot for your time and these insights into your work. See you on December 28th :-)