Congratulations to our Pieater fam member No Mono who today release their follow up album to 2018’sIslands part 1. Islands part 2 serves to complement and expand on their haunting debut. Where part 1 relished in being a little blurry around the edges, suspending the listener in an unsettling soundscape, part 2 pulls into jarring focus.
The percussion takes on a bigger role, at times bordering on frantic, but there’s also a swagger. Snowdon’s vocals are less tender, as he searches to find connection and empathy. Yet despite the eerie energy, there is always an alien beauty to the whole, and ultimately a sense of hope and faith.
The album art is an extension on the ripped artwork concept by Tom Iansek from Islands part 1. The track-list, artwork and pre-order info is all below. As with all our Pieater releases, it will be available on 12” vinyl.
PIEATER IN CONVERSATION WITH NO MONO
We caught up with Tom Snowdon and Tom Iansek to discuss the details of part 2, and how it flows together with Islands part 1
Pieater: What was the writing process for part 2?
Snowdon: This group of songs was written mostly in the same period as the material on Islands part 1. It follows similar themes, although is generally more energetic. Our writing is an intuitive process. We experiment with instruments, tempo and arrangements, and work out how the vocals (which is always a focus) fit into the song.
Iansek: The best No Mono ideas tend to come from deep and immersive atmospheres of tension, dark beauty and introspection. There are certainly vast instinctual and subconscious elements at play, and in fact most of the song writing and making would be in response and directed by these. What I love about this project is its active exploration of these as strong creative forces within our music and our lives: the forces that are unseen but strongly felt.
Snowdon: My words are usually shaped by the emotional feeling and attachment I have to the song I’m writing. Often it’s a visual process, whereby the music helps me to imagine a scene, and so I’ll explore that and try to flesh it out more fully. I follow my feeling more than I do my thinking – I really value honestly sharing moods and emotions with people. That to me is the magical thing about music, that it helps people to explore their emotions, to share moments with other people, or to just feel totally elevated.
Pieater: The album has quite an ominous beginning in “//Heavy State”, but also a sense of exploration – it’s almost like a soundtrack to a space movie, à la 2001: A Space Odyssey. What kind of motivations did you have in opening with this?
Iansek: We’re looking to create a mood or atmosphere initially, as it sets the scene for the reception of the songs that follow. Like when you go to a nice restaurant where certain music is chosen, the lighting is set a certain way, the décor etc… It is preparing you to receive the food in a certain way.
Snowdon: The Islands concept is about exploration and transition, through moments of elation and trauma. Part 2 is the more energetic sister to part 1, which contained more down-tempo and introspective pieces of music. In that way, neither record exists without reference to the other. “Heavy State” is the awakening into part 2.
Pieater: You mentioned exploration and transition. A lot of the themes seem to be about trying to connect pieces of a journey, or trying to bridge the gap in a relationship…
Snowdon: In some way the songs are all about moving from one place to another, literally, and through parts of life and in and out of relationships. That’s the journey underpinning the Islands concept. The struggle, fear and sometimes excitement through deep water parts, and the safety but longing when on land.
Pieater: Despite a lot of the desolate and lonely themes of the album, there is also a sense of determination and hope. The want to do better, be closer, take the plunge… Sometimes that’s alone, sometimes it’s if another can do it with you.
Snowdon: Taking the plunge is probably a good way of putting it. Although we don’t set out to make melancholic music, that’s often what comes out, but a lot of the time the stories aren’t of defeat but of that excitement and opportunities surrounding change.
Iansek: Perhaps a highest ideal of this project is to bring some light to these darker parts of ourselves. All of us experience ‘dark’ or challenging times and wonderful uplifting moments; times of turmoil and calm; times of inward and outward-ness – this is just part of being human. This project seems to want to reflect and relay this most basic understanding of life, where excitement and fear exist at the same time, and that this is okay, this is how we grow.
No Mono Islands part 2
City Gets Better