The young singer songwriter and Skins fan, Nick Mono calls in from London, the light shining across him in quiet a painterly way. He is chilled out and contemplative, whilst being honest about his first solo EP, THE SUN WON’T STAY AFTER SUMMER.
So with your first EP coming out soonish, you’ve adding two new tracks to this. How are you feeling about that?
Nick Mono: I’m feeling really good about it, man. I’m happy with how it’s all come together. I think like the smartest way to go about things is to like put singles out there some of the time. So I think like I’m happy with how like, like the rollouts been.
I’m happy for it all to come together now in the EP, because like, when I first made it, like my intention was for it to kind of be like listened to in its entirety. So like even the songs that are out it’s cool that people get a chance to now listen to those songs within a bigger project and a bigger concept.
So these songs they’re all quite personal. Are they interlinked to one another? Is it sort of like, is there a grand, well, is there a story that goes through these?
Nick: Sure. I wouldn’t say there’s like a story necessarily. Like it’s not too linear. I don’t think it goes from like one track and then the next track is like a follow up in a sense. But I think overall there are like, there are underlying themes throughout that I think people can catch onto that kind of like hold the whole EP down and give it some structure.
So it doesn’t just sound like six random songs. I feel like it does feel cohesive. There’s like something more to it, but I don’t know. I don’t think that I made it with like a big like story in mind of how that was gonna like play out.
Just to ask about one of the new tracks, IDK which is a fantastic song by the way you talk about like future you talk about self-confidence which is surprising. Actually, what do you think have been some of the hurdles to your own self-confidence of being who you are?
Nick: For sure. It’s cool that you like hear that in it. I think when I wrote it, I guess the whole, like the hook itself, ‘I’m the coolest motherfucker that I know, I don’t know about you though’. It’s not to be like taken too seriously, but I think it’s just like that kind of just like something that you do have to like, tell yourself sometimes. I think for me just like to relate it to me personally and not anyone else. Like, if I’m like into someone or like them, or even if I just don’t know someone, but I look at them and I’m like, oh, they seem kind of cool.
I tend to like put them on a pedestal. So like I’ll naturally just like place them above where I’m at if I don’t know someone which I, which isn’t a good like, or healthy thing to do cuz it messes with expectations for like what a person can be, but also just kind of is like harms your own self-confidence.
So I think that one is kind of just putting myself above again, like just in a mind frame of like, feeling good about the things that I know are true about myself and not like just like hype, like kind of creating like an illusion of what someone else is and why they’re better than me. It’s like kind of taken like owning that and just being like, no, actually I think I’m cooler than you actually.
And to talk of songs you have written of other people with your song, Effie Stonam blowing up on TikTok. I was wondering, have any of the Skins cast been in contact with you?
Nick: No. Like no one, no one’s been in contact to my knowledge. I know that, I know that the girl who played Michelle in the first generation did a TikTok to it. So she like, knows the song, I think she’s on like a couple TikTok’s to it. So I know she like is she’s heard the song familiar with it, which is really cool. But no, like no one’s reached out over it.
What a shame they should. So you’ve also mentioned another interviews. This came out of a pandemic binge of the series. Are there other, any other songs, is there WatchMojo the song? Are there any other pandemic binges that are going to be turned into music?
Nick: There, there could be, you know. If I didn’t write Effy Stonenam and I probably would’ve by now written like another song about like a character of some sort. I get lost in like the world of like TV shows, I’m into and films and stuff. Like I get very, very attached and emotionally invested if I like the show. I feel connections to those characters that I like in a way.
I think it’s something that is just, just certain people are a bit more like, I know some people probably just like, watch shows that they really like, and it’s like, oh cool, that’s over. But like, if I finish like a binge of a show, something I’ll be fucked up for weeks sometimes.
So on that, what series have you been watching recently? What has been your latest sort of like walk away going?
Nick: Sure. Have you seen succession?
I have not.
Nick: You’ve got to, I feel like, I don’t know if you’ve heard this a lot from other people because it’s one of those shows which has like a big following, but at the same time isn’t too mainstream.
So like I know there are some people over here I’m like, oh, what Succession? And they’re like, oh, everyone’s saying that. And then some people I say it and they’ve never heard of it. That show is like, it lives up to the hype and is like some of the best TV I’ve seen, like ever. And everyone should watch it.
Just to go back just to go back to your music, your music is a cornucopia of influences from like Brockhampton to D’angleo. What has been your sort of like main influences putting together these final two tracks for the EP?
Nick: So I’d say when I was making the EP like IDK about you, that one was made much earlier than The Way to my Heart, was the latest edition to the project. So most of the other songs were made or at least were like very close to being like finished. And then when I was kind of like putting the finishing touches on, I was kind of like just getting bored, of like perfecting shit, like the final song.
So I wanted to start something new and that’s how The Way to my Heart came. So the influences are probably different at the time. But I think for, IDK About you I’ve always kind of been like a big fan of pop punk music. When, you’re in clubs and those kind of cheesy now, but like cheesy pop punk classics or indie rock classics come on, like What’s My Age Again or something like that comes on.
I’ve always been, since I was younger, a really, really big fan of those bands and that music. And I think like when I make songs, I guess I’m kind of influenced by that kind of music, even if it doesn’t sound too like pop punky and maybe a bit more like indie pop or indie rock, that’s just more like naturally where like I go when I’m producing and creating, but it’s kind of just inspired by those bands and like this energy of youthfulness, just having fun, like self-deprecation and shit. And The Way to My Heart is a bit more of a serious side of myself. I say, in terms of kind of just like getting in touch with how I’m really feeling and avoiding certain like just like the way I write can either be kind of not wanting to face a reality of something.
So I don’t know about, you might be a bit of like a deflection from how I’m feeling, whereas like The Way to My Heart’s kind of like embracing that. And that was just like kind of inspired by like Dijon, Frank Ocean. I think those two are like the greatest at like what they’re doing.
And there are a lot of other artists who make music like that really well, but I think just in terms of their songwriting and the way they structure songs. They’ll just like keep what’s necessary being in there instead of like throwing everything you can, it’s like, what’s necessary, what can enhance it? So I’d say like Franc Ocean and Dijon are the main ones for that song specifically.
Sort in preparation for this interview, I have been following your Instagram. So I do have to ask how was the last Brockhampton concert?
Nick: Oh yeah it was crazy. I’ve been like a, a big fan in like for a while. I wasn’t on at the start of the Saturation trilogy, but around that time is when I became a fan and I’ve been kind of like obsessed. I don’t know if I’d call myself a stan of anyone because like, I don’t know, like the connotations and just that shit that goes along with that. I don’t know if I’d like consider myself that of anyone, but as like bigger fan as you can be. I think of how important they are to, even me, like having a career here or, trying to make my way is like, they’re a big part of that.
So I feel like I owe a lot to like that group. So seeing them live was fuckin’ like weird and crazy and hard to process in a way, just because, I’ve seen so many videos of them like performing online, you know? And like, if there’s like a live stream of a show, I’ve probably seen it on YouTube at some point.
Were you getting any ideas about beginning live shows yourself or is that something that you’ve thought about or like what you want the stage to look like?
Nick: Yeah, definitely. Like I’m, I’m always excited for like the potential of playing live, whether that’s like opening or like doing my own headline shows like I’m up for anything. I’m a big fan of artists who kind of like put the most effort in possible in terms of making it a whole experience. I’ve even just been seeing videos of like what Tyler the Creator’s been doing with his CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST tour.
And obviously he’s at like a level now where he can get like, a boat on stage and like that. But I mean, just in terms of like the whole idea of like making it a whole experience and something that people can come away from being like, oh, that was a great fucking live show.
The phrase is no longer get the bag. It’s acquire the boat.
So you’re releasing your first EP. Is there a project after that you really, really want to work on?
Nick: I think the way I have been thinking for like ages is always years ahead in terms of like, okay, so the day of your album will, sound like this. And then, I’ll like, drop a few singles and then do this; always really planned out. But I think that like, just through the process of releasing the EP.
I’ve like come to learn a lot about myself and how I feel about holding onto certain music. Whereas like before I might have been comfortable just holding on for ages, whereas now I might be more inclined to go, oh no, like I wanna just release a song now.
So I think like for the rest of the year, like there’ll be a lot more music coming out, a lot more videos along with that as well. And just like building that world. But I think that the idea is to probably put out some singles after and see where I’m at. And then there’s always like projects, like in my mind and that I’m kind of always in the process of creating. But for now the idea is just to release like a lot more music to keep it going.
So what are the biggest lessons you think you’ve learned sort of releasing this?
Nick: I think I’ve learned that like, the songs which feel right in the moment, tend to kind of stand the test of time. I think it’s easy to be worried about the timing of releasing music and how it comes out, those kind of things. All of that shit is very important because the whole making the music is one thing and then presenting it to like the world is another and you gotta take time and care over that.
There are songs on this project, which I made a few months, like The Ways to my Heart was maybe like months ago and a song that I might have made like a year ago even. And both of them are existing on the same project and might have had different intentions at the time of where they live. But I think just like, yeah, like making the music itself will find a way to exist when it’s like ready to like be out there if you know what I mean? Like there’s no rush, but I think that’s like one of the things I’ve learned, there’s probably more, but I can’t think right now.
Nick Mono’s new Ep THE SUN WON’T STAY AFTER SUMMER is out today on all good streaming services. Follow him at @nickmonomusic for updates about his live gigs.