Blog, Spotlight

Inspiration from Around the World: A Moment with Monolink [INTERVIEW]

Sultry vocals and hypnotizing House beats are the core of what Monolink has to offer in his free flowing music. From Black Rock City to his hometown in Germany and back, he is bringing his fine musical prowess to the Woogie stage for a set unlike any other. Get ready for, as Monolink would call it, “Guitar chords merging into synthetic pad sounds where hypnotic bass vibrations meet emotional vocal parts and passionate physicality meets sublime stimulation for the mind”. Brace yourself.

 

For those who are not familiar, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what the Monolink sound stands for?

I hope what my sound stands for is different to everyone, I can maybe explain where it comes from. I’m trying to merge the body experience of club music and electronic beats, with the emotional one of an actual concert. I love the hypnosis of a repetitive electronic kick drum but I also love songs and lyrics and someone telling me a story. So I’m trying to get these two worlds together. When I play live I play guitar and I sing, combining that with danceable electronic soundscapes.

 

Where does the name Monolink come from?

Before I started this project I played folk-music under my real name Steffen Linck. A close friend of mine had his project called Jon Van Mono, and the original plan was to start something together. So we came up with the name Monolink. I left out the c in my surname because it got super annoying always having to spell my name whenever someone asked. We never got to make anything out of it, but I really liked the name, so when I came up with my new project he allowed me to use it for myself.

 

monolink-by-Max-Hartmann

Photo by Max Hartmann

What inspired you to take on the role of both Singer/Songwriter and Electronic producer in one?

Before I moved to Berlin in 2009 I hadn’t really gotten in touch with electronic music or the club scene at all. When I did, it felt like a revelation to me. It was unlike anything I had heard before, not only different in the way it sounded, but also different in the way you’d listen to it, absorbing it with your body.

 

I soon got into a little party collective organizing small illegal open airs here in Berlin and started djing. At that time I was still playing with my folk band, so for a while I was doing both separately.

 

Eventually, I started remixing my own songs and learned how to produce electronic music, then one thing led to another. I played my first live gig here in Berlin in 2014.

 

What’s your take on the dance music scene in the United States as it stands right now?

I think it’s incredible how much is happening in the US at the moment in the scene. I remember how I met up with my friend Powel a couple of years ago, to have him teach me some production skills. At that time he started playing his first gigs over in the US and he told me that he thinks slow-house is becoming a thing in the states.

Since then it feels to me like things have exploded, there’s more and more parties and festivals coming up, and the international musical exchange has become a lot stronger. Many of my dj friends are now traveling to the US to play and a lot of US producers are coming over to Europe.

But I also feel that with this exponential rise of DJs (everybody’s a DJ these days..) people are getting a bit tired of it. I hear a lot of the same music playing everywhere. So for me personally I really appreciate live-acts, musicians trying to create something new, playing their own material, and I think I’m not alone with that.

 

Is there a vocalist that has directly influenced you and your career as an artist?

There are too many of them to name here. I think regarding songwriting I felt mostly influenced by Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. Sound-wise I think a singer called “Touchy Mob” played a big role as well. I’m not sure if he’s known outside of Berlin though. He was the first artist I saw combining electronic music with an acoustic guitar and vocals. He had a midi-controller taped to his guitar and played a mix of experimental sound collages along with his songs. I was quite impressed by that because it was a very new approach to me.

 

Monolink1

Photo Courtesy of Monolink

Name 3 artist’s sets you recommend everyone catches at Lightning In A Bottle.

Weval, Nicola Cruz and Stephan Bodzin

 

Do you think that coming from Berlin has influenced your music in a particular way?

I’m sure it did a lot. The Berlin music scene is very diverse and special, it’s hard to describe. You gotta experience it for yourself I think!

 

What are you looking forward to most about LIB?

I have never been to LiB, but people keep telling me it’s magical. I’m mostly looking forward to meeting people, that’s what I enjoy most about festivals. It encourages people to be creative and open, and you often have these special encounters. And I’m really looking forward to play, I saw pictures of last year’s Woogie stage and it looked insane!

 

by: Carlos Castellanos

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