Sunday, 9 March 2014

INSOMNIA: An interview with The Mono Polys frontman Tom Knights!

Below is our interview with Tom Knights, vocalist and guitarist of The Mono Polys! Enjoy!
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What was your earliest musical memory and what pushed you towards pursuing a career in the music industry?
"My first musical memory is listening to Green Day's 'Dookie' with my mum really loud in her car on my way to primary school and knowing every single word. In my head I used to think I sounded amazing, looking back I’m not so sure. However, this triggered me to start playing the guitar, and I formed a band when I was about nine, called Frustrated. I think it’s always been my dream to be a musician."
What sort of records were played around the house when you were younger and did these records have an influence on your songwriting?
"My parents have a really broad taste in music so I grew up listening to a huge variety. Mostly I remember Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' being blasted out of my dad's car and my mum listened to our local radio station. I would say I have been influenced and feel like a lot of my songs have simplistic structures like a lot of the pop tripe that they’d play on the radio!"
Had you been involved in any other band prior to The Mono Polys?
"Me and Josh were in a band for a year or two before we started The Mono Polys called Red Fenetre, but it was more a bit of fun rather than actually trying to pursue a career in the industry, it was a great laugh though and we learnt a lot whilst doing it."
Can you introduce the band and tell us what everybody plays?
"So, we have Josh Harrison, he’s awesome at electronic music and plays synth and guitar in the band. We have Luke Vosper on the bass and the guitar, Isaac Vosper on the drums and me, Tom knights on guitar and vocals."
How did The Mono Polys begin?
"We started off as a two-piece, just me and Josh. I used to use a loop pedal and play about four different guitar parts at once, and Josh used to play synth with one hand and drum machine with the other! We realised we wanted to get a fuller sound and develop as a band and eventually found the Vosper brothers who have helped us come so far."
Where did the name The Mono Polys come from?
"I get asked this all the time, and I don’t really know unfortunately. I think it was one of those thing where we decided we wanted to start a band, and before we had even written any music we chose the name. I seem to remember sitting in my mates living room and seeing a monopoly board on the side and thinking, that's it!"
How would you describe the sound of The Mono Polys?
 "I would say our sound is constantly developing but I like to describe it as aggressive pop music that you can shout out loud and let your anger out. That's how I feel when I’m writing the songs anyway."
Your debut album was entitled ‘Pavilion’. This title obviously comes from the track of the same name but why did you choose it as the title?
"At the time we made 'Pavilion' we lived at home with our parents, and being a teenager I just couldn’t wait to move away and go to university. I’m currently studying in Brighton and in the town is an amazing building called the Pavilion. So the record was named that basically because I was so excited to move here!"
In Spring 2013, you were joined by two new members – Luke and Isaac Vosper. What would you say these guys have brought to the band?
"I think Isaac and Luke have helped us out so much. They’re excellent musicians and just give the sound so much more depth and energy. They also have given us so many hilarious memories already. Being brothers, we get to watch them have brotherly arguments all the time."
Your follow up EP is entitled ‘Blossom’. The EP has quite colourful artwork and it certainly stands out. Is the artwork an important part of the release for The Mono Polys?
"I think the artwork is important to any album, I’m glad you say it stands out because that's exactly what we had hoped for it! I feel that artwork is something that can become just as important as the actual record in the future, for example 'Dark Side Of The Moon', EVERYONE knows the artwork, however the music is always the main focus for us."
The EP was produced by The Rifles frontman, Joel Stoker. How did this come about and what would you say he brought to the EP as a whole?
"We were lucky enough to support The Rifles last year across the UK, and we mentioned that we were going to make an EP. And being the great guy that Joel is, he offered to help us out. I think he helped a lot with the record as he completely understands the sound we want as a band but put his own twists to it. I’d love to work with him again in the future! Check The Rifles new album out, it’s great!"
The lead track from the EP is called ‘Insomnia’ – a really catchy tune. What is this song about and what influenced it?
"Basically, last year I spent a lot of time sat in my bed all night with the lights off recording demos all night. And all of my songs are about personal experiences, so 'Insomnia' is just about not being able to sleep and having annoying thoughts rushing through my head, hence the catchy tune, it’s enough to keep you up all night…"
The final track on the EP is a re-recording of the track in French. Why did you choose to record this version?
"We decided to record a version of 'Insomnia' in French because we noticed we had a few French fans on facebook and thought it would be great if we could make a song that they could sing along to in their own language and relate to easily. I hope in the future to record songs in a few different languages, it’s just quite hard as I’m awful at languages!"
Do you have any 'rituals' before you go on stage?
"Well, Isaac normally gets quite nervous and starts tidying the dressing room. I like to make the dressing room messy and piss him off! And we just relax and have a beer or two!"
Any live dates coming up?
"We have just played a This Feeling club night and we will be playing on Wednesday March 19th at Green Door Store, Brighton supporting Dexters and on Wednesday April 2nd at The Barfly, Camden supporting The Franklys."
Any new songs in the pipeline?
"Yes! We actually have about eighty demos I’ve written over the past year. So hopefully we can release some of them in the near future. I’m excited to release more."
When can fans be expecting the next release?
"We hope to try and release something in 2014, but like anything making a record takes time and doesn’t always happen as quickly as we want it to. But we’ll try our very best."
Who would be your dream collaboration?
"For me, I’d love to play onstage with The Cure, they’re a big influence on me as a songwriter."
Who would be in your dream supergroup?
"I honestly have no idea, once again I’d say Robert Smith, maybe Ian Curtis, Dustin Payseur (Beach Fossils) and then there’s an electronic musician called Evenings I'd throw in just to mix things up a bit!"
Favourite Beatle?
"John Lennon for sure."
Favourite band?
"The Cure."
Favourite new band?
"DIIV are pretty sick."
Favourite song?
"Joy Division - Shadowplay."
Favourite album?
"Beach Fossils - Clash The Truth."
Vinyl, CD or download?
"I love vinyl, but I don't really care, it's the song that I like!"
When you press shuffle on your iPod, what is the first song to come on?
"I don't have an iPod!"
Style icon?
"I don’t really have one, hence why I look like a tramp half the time."
 Favourite film?
Favourite TV show?
"East Enders (I don’t take it serious, it’s just funny)."
Who would play you in a film of your life?
"A scruffy brown haired boy who never looks that healthy."
Favourite food?
"Chinese, Thai, Indian, McDonalds and anything my mum cooks."
Football team?
All pictures in this feature are taken from The Mono Polys official facebook page!

Thanks to Tom Knights for chatting to us!
Hope you enjoyed this feature on The Mono Polys! Check out our previous feature on Nova!

Check out The Mono Polys here -

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