Lukas Grech and Jorje Bosios have been enchanting audiences with their music for the past year; following their Gozo gig, they will now be travelling overseas to….Coach & Horses. I interviewed the duo about the upcoming gig and the release of their new CD, Carpet Clown.
How did Monobrow get together?
The project came about after our previous band, The Imagery petered out. We continued writing and recording songs together and were convinced enough about their quality to decide to do something with them. The name comes from our obsession with facial hair, a lot of our songwriting sessions would end up with us trying to find the most interesting monobrow picture. It is also a name without a profound meaning, which means it can age well.
How do you describe your new CD?
A couple of songs on it are remains from the very first songs we’ve written. We’ve recylced them and produced them so that the album makes sense as a complete listen. The CD probably represents a good ‘in-between’ marker for us. It has got some of our intial ideas on it, the songs we started this project with, and it also has songs that are more in the direction we should be going in. In that sense, the album is a good story teller of how we’ve grown and changed since our first few ideas. We started proper songwriting and production of these songs in the scope of the album probably around last september.
What were the biggest challenges in finalising it?
Deciding that it was actually ready. Since we were doing everything ourselves, with no deadlines or commitments, we could have kept working on it, or not do anything with it. So deciding that it was going to be released and all the logistics that go with that was probably the hardest part.
Your favourite track from the CD and why?
Lukas: It is hard to pick, because we worked hard on all of them, but I’m particularly proud of the arrangement on William, and the simplicity of Matthew.
Jorje: Frederick, at the moment.
Which bands/musicians influence you?
Lukas: Anything I listen to really, but Tom Waits and Josh Homme are always looming.
Jorje: Depends on the phase I’m going through at that moment. During the album writing period I was listeneing to a lot of Anna Calvi and PJ Harvey.
What was the first CD/cassette tape you ever bought?
Lukas: Something by either Limp Bizkit or Eminem.
Jorje: Ira Losco or Spice girls, heh.
Your top three albums ever and why?
Lukas: In no particular order; Tool’s 10,000 days for the sound and dynamics. Tom Waits’s Mule Variations, because it is what got me interested in songwriting and Queens of the Stone Age’s Lullabies to Paralyse, for the hooks and the mood.
Jorje: Anna Calvi’s albums for the way the songs are put together and how she uses her voice. The Tallest Man on Earth by Shallow Grave , because I love the over-all sound and his lyrics are very striking. Finally, Beirut’s East Harlem, for that happily morose mood.
A song you hate and why?
Lukas: Anything by Rihanna, I don’t get her.
Jorje: I particularly don’t enjoy songs by Abba.
A musician you’d like to collaborate with and why?
Josh Homme, probably. Would be a very memorable hip-shaking moment
Your go-to music when you’re happy?
Lukas: Arctic Monkeys.
Jorje: Anything I can dance to.
Jorje: Happy music, to kill the bad mood.
Do you listen to the radio?
Jorje: Sometimes, not by choice.
Three words to describe the Maltese music scene?
Jorje: On an island.
Lukas: Funny… Plentiful, entertaining, decent.
Last good concert/gig you attended was…
Lukas: Laura Marling.
Which particular band would you like to see live and why?
Lukas: Beirut, at a festival. Just for the atmosphere of the brass instruments .
Jorje: Beat you to it, Lukas. At the moment I really want to see the Tallest man on Earth, he gives a very good one man show.
What inspires you?
Lukas: Anything… a lot of rythm ideas come from the pace of my walks to university.
Jorje: Nothing in particular, but some things just trigger soemthing in my mind
What do we find on your MP3 player?
Lukas: Lots of music I don’t listen to. But, at the moment I’m stuck on Dr.John – Locked down.
Jorje: Quite the mix, but Nick Drake is currently at the top.
The music industry destroyed real music. True or false and why?
Lukas: I think it is false, the music industry, referring to the major labels and distributors, always pushed the big artists and the most commercial ones, it is an ‘industry’ after all, it is there to make money. In parallel, there’s always been an independent scene, with its own infrastructure and modes of operation. The type of music you make, and how lucky you are, dictate the group you fall under. I don’t think the industry is responsible for rubbish music, anyone who complains is just not looking hard enough.
Jorje: False, I don’t think it’s destroyed. There are many artists that still produce “real” music, even though we are constantly bombarded with the industry’s commerical stuff.
A life without music would be?
Lukas: Less entertaining, but I’d probably have more time to read.
Jorje: Quiet, and quite boring.
What do your family think about your music?
Lukas: They like it, but they’re biased.
Jorje: They’re big fans.
Did you ever get the “music is not a real career” talk when younger?
Lukas: Not really, I never really wanted to pursue it as a career
Jorje: Yes, but I always thought that turning it into a career would ruin it eventually.
Which of your own compositions is your favourite and why?
Lukas: Whitmore, it is the first song I wrote on banjo, and it was written, recorded and released in 3 or 4 days, I love the novelty of that.
Jorje: Whitmore too. It happened very naturally and easily.
Monobrow MP will be performing live at Coach & Horses on Friday June 29. Entrance is €3 – for more info find the events page on Facebook. You can get the online album on http://monobrowmp.bandcamp.com/
An edited version of this interview appeared on The Times TV Guide.