As an artist, you always want to set yourself apart. One of the best ways to do this is by building upon a mixture of different influences and genres. Our recent discovery Monggrel has a wealth of interesting life experiences that he pours into his unique sound on new album Ceremonies.
We caught up with the electronic artist to get a deeper insight into his development. Enjoy the interview here.
First off, tell us about the name Monggrel?
Coming up with a name was tough, I wanted a name that set my project apart from others in the electronic genre, but was simple and easy to remember. I spent weeks trying to think of a suitable name, then it occurred to me that I might be trying too hard, and maybe I should let the name come to me naturally, after all, a watched pot never boils. I decided on the name Monggrel because it seemed to be a good way to describe my sound, as a mongrel is a dog of mixed breed, my overall sound is a mix of genres and sounds. I also liked that the connotation of the word mongrel carries with it a sense of grit, grime, and ferocity. I added the second “g” to set the name apart from the traditional spelling and for a sense of symmetry.
How would you describe your sound?
The Monggrel sound is inspired by a variety of sources, mainly traditional dub, early industrial music, field recordings, and harsh noise. I would describe the sound of this particular album as ethno-dub over all, but I like to think each track is different, but still sound like they belong on the same album.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
That is a big question, but I’ll try to be succinct, my overall influences range from Black Metal, to Reggae, to IDM/electronic music, and then back to Black Metal again. In regards to specific artists, I would say Muslimgauze would be the biggest influence on the Monggrel sound, with a splash of Boards of Canada, Merzbow, and Zero Kama.
Your recent album Ceremonies seems pretty exotic. What can you tell us about it?
The idea for Ceremonies came to me during a trip to India during November of 2018, my wife and I traveled from Mumbai to Delhi and absorbed a great deal of sights and sounds along the way. The initial purpose of the trip was to attend my brother in law’s wedding in Jaipur, and we were lucky enough to experience the local traditions and rituals leading up to the wedding. After returning home, and reflecting on my experiences in India, I realized that much of the time I was there I was either witness to, or involved in some type of ceremony, hence the album title. During the trip I recorded any interesting/esoteric sounds I possibly could (i.e., Hindu temple sounds, a conversation I had with a snake charmer, etc.), with the intention of using them musically. Aside from the influence of the artists mentioned in my answer to the previous question, the cultural stimuli I encountered in India had the biggest hand in the creation of the album.
How does a song come together for you? What is your songwriting process?
Every song seems to have its own process. There are tracks (like “Snakeman Traffic”) that are almost completely fleshed out in my head before I even begin to produce it, while there are others that are the result of many hours of sound manipulation. I often begin with a memory of a particular experience or atmosphere before I begin composing, and most of the time that keeps me on track. I’ve been making music of some kind or another for the last twenty years, and after much experimentation, trial, and error, I’ve learned to let the tracks come together in their own time.
What do you hope the listener will take away from Monggrel music?
Ceremonies is a concept album at heart, and my hope is that listeners feel immersed in the atmosphere it creates. The addition of the field recordings are intended to make the listener feel as though they are part of the scenery, or perhaps witness to the commotion of the environment in which the idea for the album was conceived.
Share some advice for other artists creating unique sounds?
The best advice I can give for artists who are attempting to create unique sounds is to remember that there are no set rules in music. Most popular music, in terms of sound, is a homogenous mass, musicians should concentrate on new and original sounds, even if that makes building a fanbase more difficult.
Give us a look at the future of Monggrel.
My plans for the future of Monggrel include recording a “live” performance (or, as live as it can be in the age of COVID-19) of Ceremonies onto cassette/CD, the recording will include alternate versions of existing tracks, and likely a few new ones. I’m already in the very early stages of putting together the next album, it will be a companion piece to Ceremonies, but the sound will be more modern, and less tribal. Long term goals include vinyl releases, and hopefully live performances with live audiences.
Keep up with more from Monggrel on his TWITTER.