If you go
What: Monocle Band with Henhouse Prowlers
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Shine, 2027 13th St., Boulder, 303-449-0120
More info: shineboulder.com
You've probably caught Monocle Band in Boulder and beyond in the years they've been around, so it might surprise you to know that the band's self-titled album, released Tuesday, is the debut. We were, and we caught up with the band's songwriters to talk about it.
It's the big day of the debut album release. Congrats!
Monica Whittington and Bill Huston: Thanks!
The band has been around town long enough that I forgot this was the debut. How long have you been working on it?
BH: We actually finished the CD in June and then we were just kind of sitting on it and trying to get it in the right people's hands. We started recording it last fall, so we've been working on it for some time. We made a demo maybe two years ago.
Basically, we've just been playing shows for a couple years. We started recording it last fall and we did a recording with David Tiller, who has a studio in Lyons — or had a studio up in Lyons, before the flood came. He's in a band called Taarka, so they're on the road sometimes. It's been an on and off process.
Tell me a little about the songwriting for this album. It always feels genuine.
MW: Some of them are from a while ago and some of them are new. Bill and I collaborate in our songwriting. We'll kind of individually come up with the skeleton of the song, and we'll bring them to each other and sort of work on them together.
Bill and I, I think, have different songwriting styles ... It seems to really work well because the two different styles tend to mesh. Bill tends to write more storytelling — he's very good with words. For me, it's sort of personal journal entry sort of songwriting. Then we'll just get together and craft them and try to make them into something meaningful ... something really deliberate. I love singer/songwriter writing, but we wanted to do more.
When we first started playing together, I'd never written songs with anybody, just by myself, and at first it feels very personal to bring a song to somebody or bring it out in public, but it was never a competition. I get excited about bringing these songs to Bill and seeing what can happen and where it can go.
BW: What's cool about this album is that we were kind of able to craft these songs in a way that I don't think anyone's been able to hear them before ... They're totally fresh, they have different arrangements and we got some guest musicians on there.
I like that song "Falling."
BW: That's a good example, actually. We recorded that on a demo and it was, you know, pretty good. We were happy with it ... We re-did it on this record with electric guitar and a slightly different feel, and it's kind of just a new thing. Yeah, I love the way that came out.
Do you worry about distinguishing yourselves from all the folk bands around here?
BH: One thing with us is that we're friends with a lot of the bluegrass players around here and we're tight with a lot of the singer/songwriter folks around here and we're good friends with some of the jam-band kids. We're not interested in being in one of those genres, to be honest. If Monica writes a song, we want it to be the best that song can be, not fitting it into a specific style ... give it the treatment it deserves and make it the best it can be. We want to make creative music and make something that's interesting to us.
MW: I think specifically with "Falling," it's a dreamy, distant thing. That's just how it started to happen. We're like, "Cool, let's get spacey with it."
BH: I've always been in the camp that music is either good or bad and it doesn't matter what genre it is. We just want to make good music and hope people listen to it.