Photo Credit: Calm Elliot Armstrong

Before the pandemic hit, Dave Monks was keeping busy with his many music projects – Tokyo Police Club, Anyway Gang, bandcalledmax, and his solo work. During a year without live shows, he has taken to livestreaming and offering a behind-the-scenes look at his work via Patreon. He just released a brand new single, so we caught up with Dave to chat about the music, how his experience differs with each band, and what his dream curated festival would look like.

From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Love”.

Dave Monks: There’s a simplicity to it that had me wondering at first if it was really great or nothing special. It’s just the same 4 simple chords looping for the whole song and there isn’t any clever rhyming or wordplay. But what’s odd is that I never forget a single line in it. It’s such a clear visual journey for me and it’s connected to an emotion that makes it hard to forget. And for me that’s always a good sign that I’m on to something album-worthy.

FTS: Between Tokyo Police Club, Anyway Gang, and your solo work, how different is each experience for you?

Dave Monks: Well they are all certainly very different, that’s for sure!
Solo work means total creative freedom and the chance to really discover and experiment. But it also means I’m 100% responsible for every aspect of making and promoting that record. Which will take over your life if you aren’t careful!
Anyway Gang is the opposite! I just show up with a couple tunes or ideas and the rest is all taken care of. Very luxurious although I feel a little distant from the record because I haven’t pored over every aspect of it. Which sort of allows me to be in the audience, which I quite enjoy!
Tokyo Police Club has been different on every album, always somewhere between these two extremes.

FTS: It feels like such a long time since we last saw you perform – how has it been for you, not being able to play live shows? Have your online videos helped to fill that gap?

Dave Monks: My Feb 2020 was really jammed with shows (bandcalledmax had a weekly residency and I was doing solo shows as well with Alyson McNamara) so I was lucky I had my fill for the beginning of covid life. But now it’s been the longest chunk of time in my life without a tour since I was 19 and it feels very weird. Very weird indeed. I miss the audience and getting to ham it up. It’s a big part of who I am. I’ve had the catharsis of being loud with other musicians a couple times but I am excited to feel it all come together again. Hopefully the drive-in shows TPC has coming up will help with that!

FTS: Let’s pretend that we’re in normal times, and festivals are still happening right now. If you were headlining and curating your own festival, who would you put on the bill, and what would you call it?

Dave Monks: I would call it:
My Friends are The Most Inspiring Musicians To Be Around (Because I Can See Them as Complete and Imperfect Humans and Contextualize Their Success Within That) Festival
As a songwriter, I’m not afraid to admit, hearing an amazing song by a talented new artist can feel scary or threatening. Like “Oh no! I have no idea what I’m doing, THIS person has it figured out!”. It’s because of the way culture holds successes up yadda yadda but I find that when my friends have a success, I feel way more energized to follow in their footsteps. These inspiring companions always lead me down a constructive path. Sharing demos, passing the guitar around, all that stuff is at the core of a supportive artistic social life for me.
The festival features:
Alyson McNamara
Luke Lalonde
Dilly Dally
Diana Petcoff
Claire Coupland
Said The Whale
Rest of the lineup TBA once I remember them all.

FTS: Last but not least, what’s one album you can’t get enough of right now?

Dave Monks: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic by The Sundays

Check out “Love”, the latest single from Dave Monks!