Photo by Dave Westbrook
Meet The Band
Monoculture is a Dallas-based self-described psych rock four-piece. Olan (Guitar and Vocals) and Nick (Percussion), the band’s founders, became friends and kindred spirits in music in a Richardson Texas Junior High School. Later they collaborated on a four-track demo that became the impetus for Monoculture’s full-length, debut album “Heavier Daze.”
These days Jason (Bass) and John (Keyboards) have partnered up with Olan and Nick to create Monoculture’s full live psych rock experience.
Wikipedia defines psychedelic rock a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Monoculture embraces the mind-altering without the drugs. Describing it as music that is improvisational with esoteric lyrics. Further stating that it is unchained and unbound by musical norms. But Monoculture says breaking the rules in Dallas doesn’t come without challenges. The culture of Dallas sometimes lacks a sense of community. When fans only go out to see bands they already know it causes real challenges to build a fanbase and expand your audience.
To us Monoculture combines the retro sound of The Doors with the musical exploration of David Bowie and crazy good blues riffs of Robert Cray without sounding like any one of them individually. Check out their music below to see what we mean.
Men In The Trenches
Get to Know Monoculture
Why did you decide to become a songwriter?
Although I don’t necessarily believe in the idealistic view of finding your ‘dream job,’ enjoying going to work every day, and living happily ever after, I do believe in finding something where doing your absolute best is something that you don’t find to be grating.
When I wake up every day, I want to improve on the guitar, as a songwriter, and as a composer, and every day I want to chip away at it. And that to me is more fulfilling than anything else I’ve done.
What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
The most recent ‘favorite piece’ of mine would have to be the album Whatevershebringswesing by Kevin Ayers.
Whatevershebringswesing is a journey. One song will be orchestral melodrama, the next will send you skipping along a sea of flowers as far as the eye can see, another will be harrowingly dissonant, the next will be like floating down a calm river. The emotions I feel when listening to that record are emotions I hope I can someday evoke on a listener with our music.
And better yet, when you take the record in context of the year it was released – 1969 – you realize just how cutting edge it was. The production is incredible and the musical ideas are so far-out compared to the mainly blues-based rock of the era.
Which song that you’ve written is your favorite and why?
Up to this point, our newest song Absurd is my favorite of ours. Our first album Heavier Daze was me and Nick (co-founder and drummer) trying to figure out what worked, and we tried to do our best with what we had. But since then, we added Jason on bass and John on keys, and it’s really freed us up to explore the space on the instruments we’re best at. The result is more of a complete band experience as opposed to a guitar lead line trying to carry the load.
Also, with Absurd we made a conscious effort to stray from clichéd musical themes in terms of chord progressions and song structures. We wanted it to wrap you up, take you down a winding road, and plop you down for whatever song we decide to put after it on the next record.
Lyrically, I think it captures my coming to grips with the absurdity of existence pretty well.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song or playing a song live?
There’s this cool interview that Kurt Vonnegut did shortly before his death where he talks about looking back at his works and wondering how he came up with some of the things he did.
I tend to interpret that as the zone that you find yourself in when things are just flowing. It’s just something magical. A skeletal idea at the beginning of a jam session can turn into something certifiably bonkers. And you can’t quite remember the road that led you there, but you have this tangible piece of music that you all chipped in on to create. That zone is pretty weird in a cool way.
Which two other DFW artists would you recommend people check out?
We’re putting together a DIY psych fest with some great psych bands in the DFW area. There’ll be music, art, and plenty of booze which will be a rad time. We’re aiming for late May/early June, but we don’t want to say anymore on it just yet.
When is your next BIG show & what are the social details:
Our next big show will be at The Foundry in Dallas on March 3 from 8-10 pm. Our friends Summit will open, and then we go on at 9.