Interview: Mone

Your fourth single, “Terrible Broadway Play” is out soon. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it? Also, what inspired the song title?
Terrible Broadway Play is a song written for that moment right after stumbling out of the rollercoaster of love. It’s about recalling early moments in a relationship and remembering why you loved someone while also knowing it is over. The rawest moments of a heartbreak. I wrote it when I just came out of a relationship, sitting in my room. The sun was shining but I was way too sad to go out so I just sat on my bed and played this guitar melody that I had lying around and began to sing. Thus Terrible Broadway Play was born. The title is inspired by the intense emotions that are often invoked by being in love and going through heartbreak. It’s very dramatic, like in a Broadway Play, but also too over the top to feel honest (that’s what makes it terrible). I was torn between feeling ridiculous in that way about how dramatic my feelings were and getting swept away by them. This element of being swept away by your feelings was translated beautifully into the soundscape and string arrangements I created with Gidon Carmel and Cameron James Laing, my producers.

You also have a video for the song. How did you create the video, and what ideas were behind it? Does the video deliver a story?
Actually, we made two videos for this song. One will be available everywhere and one will just be available on my Patreon.

My character for both videos was based on the Joker. I wanted to show a person that is so overwhelmed by the present that they disappear into a world of their own, a fantasy world. In this case, it’s a world of happy memories. The Joker fascinates me, because he is in one way so scary and unpredictable, yet so sweet and tragic. To me, it’s comparable to the kind of emotional unpredictability that comes with being in love and going through heartbreak.

We shot both video in the apartment of my colleague Mark from Fruit Salat Films, a video production collective we just started. It was at the very end of four days of intense video shooting, we just wanted to catch a little dance of the joker with their imaginary lover and, for the patreon-only-video, me dressing up and getting into character. Both these one-shot videos turned out to accidentally fit the length of the song exactly when being slowed down (they were filmed in slow-motion).
They just looked so beautiful and we decided to just use that instead of the hours of material we shot in the days before. Both videos were in some way happy accidents.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
My sound is rooted in folk music but influenced by artists from many genres, from Nina Simone and Leonard Cohen to The Dresden Dolls and Björk. I’d like to think I fuse more traditional genres with avant-garde music. Maybe one could call it ‘dark folk meets artpop’. The main characteristics of my sound are expressiveness and rawness.

What have been career highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
My career highlight was definitely the recording of my debut album in The Famous Gold Watch Studios in Berlin. It was the first time I spend a lot of time practising with a band, arranging my songs with Gidon Carmel and Cameron James Laing and recording. It opened a whole new world of music for me, beyond just playing guitar and singing, that I happily dived into. Also, it was fairly new to me to play my own songs with others. It is a very intimate and beautiful experience to share.
In the future, I’d love to go on tour since my first tour this year was cancelled due to the corona-pandemic. I know I would love it on the road.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Hm, there is many artists I’d love to support. Benjamin Clementine is very high on the list as well as Aldous Harding and Fiona Apple.
My dream live booking would be Paradiso in Amsterdam, because I have many fond memories of seeing artists I love there. But honestly, to play a show anywhere would be a dream come true at the moment.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Lately I’m completely addicted to Adrianne Lenker’s new album ‘Songs’, ‘Flying Away’ by Smoke City and ‘Doolittle’ by the Pixies.

I also absolutely love the new album ‘Hands’ by Lotta St. Joan. It is so raw and beautiful. We are both part of The Famous Goldwatch Label Collective, based around The Famous Gold Watch studios.
There’s many incredible, small artists I’m surrounded with here in Berlin, they are all great recommendations to listen to. Olivia Void, James Michael Rodgers, Erika Severyns, Lisa Akuah and Michael Brinkworth are just a few names from the Berlin folk scene that recently released singles that I love.

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