"I just dug a little bit deeper into the depths of my soul."

Music

6.21.2017

monogem is Saying Goodbye to Her Safety Net With '100%'

monogem’s new album is a quite literal rendering of where she’s at with her artistry: all in. Sans safety net, this LA-based singer dropped 100% with intention, and artistry; and, digging deep, she’s laying it all out on the table. No complaints here.

One listen to 100% and it’s clear: monogem is flying high, enjoying the hell out of LA, and tapping into her truest form of self for an electro pop record that’s sure to dominate this summer’s sound. We’re more than happy to join her on the ride; here’s hoping there’s lots more to come.

I would love to start with 100% since it just came out a little over a month ago. What has the reception been like so far?

It’s been amazing. This is my second release, so I feel like people are starting to get to know me a little bit better which is a nice feeling. The response has been different than the first, for sure. I feel like this collection of songs is a little but more sophisticated and a little bit more…I just dug a little bit deeper into the depths of my soul. [Laughs] So, yeah I feel like people are really responding to that.

So can you talk about what kind of headspace you were in when you were writing? Like, where you were mentally and emotionally?

Yeah, well the writing process was stretched over a pretty long period of time, as most albums are. But I would say that working with one of my producers Peter Dyer—he’s like a sound design master—and the times that we spent together in his analogue synth lab were just incredible, inspiring and creative. We were able to play around with modular synths and experiment with different instrumentation which made me feel super creative and was really exciting to take some chances. As far as headspace goes, I’m a generally pretty happy person, and some of them, one of the songs—”100%”, actually—I wrote about that feeling when you’re just getting to know somebody and about to take a serious plunge into a new relationship. I wrote it after I had just gotten married—

So cool.

Yeah! It was kind of inspired by all of that. A couple of the others—I write a lot about my dreams or fantasies and other realities that I sort of wish that I was in. For the most part I let a lot of the music and the sound design inspire the writing.

I know that your first EP came out, was it two years ago?

Yes, two and a half.

So, how do you feel like you’ve evolved or changed as an artist since then?

I feel like I’m finding my artistry a lot more now. I’m just letting things happen in my life around me, and letting myself get inspired by them, whereas with that first record, I was trying to write a solid four songs and making—it was more of a job to finish that first EP. Whereas now, I’m going with the motions and letting things take me where they take me. And I feel like that’s a much better way to be as an artist, because it’s a lot more freeing and takes a little bit of the pressure off.

Do you think that just comes from being an artist for longer and knowing yourself more?

Exactly, yeah! I’ve been saying a lot with this second EP like, “This is happening now, this is definitely what I’m here to do.” There’s no plan B anymore, so it feels like I’m getting into this process where it’s like, “Okay, now I go back into the studio and now it’s time to write, and we come up with the next EP or the next album,” you know? So I’m really allowing myself to enjoy the process now, whereas in the beginning it was a little bit frightening and I was unsure of all of it—it’s hard to be an independent artist. But it’s working.

Totally. Did you feel like you had a safety nest when you didn’t fully commit before?

Yeah. The first round was sort of like, trial and error, just throwing stuff out of there and seeing if it worked. Which is a really scary process, but now it’s like—it all just makes sense. And the process is the process, and I’m just allowing it to happen. I feel like I’m being well received, and people are listening to it, and it’s an amazing process I’m excited to be a part of this independent network of artists.

And it’s kind of like, when the doors start opening more easily and everything kind of falls into place, it’s like confirmation—

Exactly—confirmation that I stuck with the right thing, which is… [Laughs] it’s good, you know?

[Laughs] Well it’s hard to know in the moment whether the decisions you’re making will pan out the way you want them to.

Exactly.

So that’s awesome.

It’s a good feeling.

So how long have you been out in LA, then?

I’ve been back for like six years, seven years?

Oh wow, so a while. [Laughs]

I’ve been back for a while, it’s been a minute.

I guess because I’m thinking about how different New York is from California, does your physical space influence how you create?

Absolutely. To be honest, it’s hard to get yourself to work in Los Angeles. I mean, I’m busy and I’m in sessions, but it’s also often to nice out and you just wanna go to the beach and spend time outside. That’s why I’m really excited to be here this week and get inspired by my surroundings and just have a change of scenery just for now. Because when I did live here, in New York, I felt inspired everyday because I’m like, seeing shows and getting lost in the city, and I’m really looking forward to spending a week here. A lot of the songs are generally a lot happier than the ones that I write out there. [Laughs]

[Laughs] That’s good! I think it’s obvious that you’re happy because the songs are happy.

I know! But I try to channel a lot with things that are happening in friends’ lives if I can’t necessarily create any sort of struggle or whatever—I pull from other people and from friends or whatever—friends’ experiences.

It’s a good problem to have, if you don’t have any huge struggles.

It is! I mean I do, I have daily struggles but they’re harder to write about, whatever I’m going through at the moment.

Right. So now that the EP is out, what have you got planned for the rest of the year?

We are planning some tour dates for hopefully this fall, and I’m like, back in the studio, I’m back to writing.

Awesome.

So you know, touring a little bit, hopefully I don’t have to tour extensively—

Do you not enjoy it?

No, mean I do—I haven’t really done a full national tour yet, so I don’t have an opinion. But from all the feedback I’ve gotten from friends, it seems really, really exhausting. So I’m holding out, I’m fine playing spot dates in big cities and really creating a local ripple. I’m cool to do that in LA for a little while, so that’s what we’re working on right now. And putting out a remix EP pretty soon. 

Oh, exciting!

Yeah. What else…remix, touring, this—[Laughs] doing some press and some fun stuff in New York, and really just focusing on new music.

Stay tuned to Milk for more west coast talent we love.

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