INTERVIEW: Prints of Monaco

Lulling, dreamy guitar lines introduce A Clue Recited – the new single from NYC-based indie band Prints of Monaco.

The song soon bursts into an anthemic, sing-a-long chorus that searches for catharsis and release – lifted by an ensemble of voices.

I had a chat to the band’s lead singer and songwriter Oliver Monaco to find about more the project and what drove him to write the song…

Hey Oliver! Congrats on your latest single release. What’s the story behind A Clue Recited?

Thank you! It feels pretty good to get it out there.

A Clue Recited grew during a time where I was getting kind of down on music as a helpful or measurably positive way to spend my time. I got caught thinking: grand scale, making music isn’t as effective in doing good for others as being a doctor or humanitarian. I started writing this song as an ironic criticism to making music, but ended up reversing course. I found myself trying to describe how songs can bring meaning to life, and unite people.

In terms of sound, I loved how the song July by BOY is so comforting, and wanted to emulate this somehow. I wanted it to be like a comfort blanket for the listener, assuring that it’s all going to be okay.

How was the single written / recorded?

It was a bedroom demo that we had been playing live as a band for a bit. I thought it was pretty done until my buddy and producer Ben Talmi and I sat down and really took it apart. Ben is an amazing artist in his own right, and he runs Greylock Records in Brooklyn. We recorded it there, and the live room in Virtue and Vice Studios.

It’s pretty scary at first to rip up something you thought was done, but it ends up being so satisfying when you realise you pieced together only the best bits.

Where does your band name come from?

Monaco is actually my given surname, and each time I write a song I feel like it’s a print (photo, screen, etc) of a situation, emotion or time. I also have a deep appreciation for puns, so I decided to stop looking for names after figuring this one out.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

You know, I absolutely love Bon Iver’s melodic and production approach, and Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes is one of my favourite living writers. Goldsmith is a songwriter’s songwriter to me; such a pure approach.

Also, ever since high school I’ve been enamoured with anything Brad Barr has been involved with (The Slip, The Barr Brothers, his solo stuff). At the risk of rambling, I was initially a jazz guitar player and would be remiss if I didn’t note how amazing Julian Lage is. Guitar aside, I love his writing and approach to music.

If you could play any venue in the world, where would it be?

An easy question! Red Rocks.  I think that would be a blast.

I see you’re based in NYC. Will we get to see you perform in the UK anytime soon?

I hope and wish! If I do, I know who to hit up for advice on where to be!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given as a musician?

Wow, what a great and hard question.

While it might not be the best advice I’ve ever heard, I often reflect on a phrase I’ve heard a bunch recently: ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ If applied to your friends and local music community, I take it to mean the more your friends and community flourish the more you do. So, celebrate the successes of your friends and community.

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