Saturday, 28 February 2015

By the power of the skull from Hull ( Monolife )

I'm always on the look out for new innovative electronic producers and recently gained a love for the melodic glitchy electronica of Hull's Monolife ( Mark Osborne to his friends ) A favourite of mine who i regularly drop in to my Melodic Monday and Electric Wonderland Mix's.

His sounds take in all different styles from blissful - balearic Ambient of  Coastal  and to the dance floor with his funky house Disco In Paris His tunes have gained love from Nemone ( Electric ladyland )  from 6 Music and one big beat boutique D.J Fatboy Slim, who has been heard giving Monolife a spin in his sets.

Last year he collabarated with early 90's electro lady Berri who had a hit with the pulsating electro pop sounding The Sunshine And The Rain  Check it out:  Monolife ( Ft Berri ) The Perfect Kiss A stunning collab that could have easily been a single from Morcheeba.

Monolife has released six eps so far , with a natural build up to a 11 track debut album which is to be called PHRENOLOGY and will be hitting the usual download outlets from March 22nd on Mono Sound Recordings.

I managed to get a quick Q & A with Mark Osborne about the forthcoming album, his influences and other electronic talk.

Me: At last, an album after teasing us all with e.p 's ( coastal ) and quality tunes, all of different styles. Tell me about the process, the name and how hard was it deciding on the final track list?

Mark: I’ve been working on tracks for the album for a couple of years now. I didn't start with a grand plan for how it would sound or any particular direction for the record. Mono Life tracks usually come together from a simple idea for a melody, a drum track, maybe a sample of something random or even a sound from messing with a synth. I then build on that idea and see what develops, the tracks often take a few left and right turns before I end up with something that feels right. Some tracks lend themselves to being singles or EP tracks, others were definitely in the album camp. I ended up with 43 finished tracks, it was then a case of working out which order and what tracks worked well together. The last track was always going to be The Monophonic Spree, as soon as I finished that I said ‘If I ever make an album that will be the closing track’. I actually spent weeks playing with different track listings and running orders. There was never a danger of me releasing a concept album though, it needed to feel right and I think I've managed it.

Phrenology is a now discredited science of studying the skull. I wanted a skull related title and this was the easiest bit.

Me: Any daft name's for the album you wrestled with before deciding on Phrenology?

Mark: Haha, there may have been a couple. I did have a working title of The Skull from Hull and the album was also called Wibble for a while. It was called ‘…that bloody album again’ on many occasion.

Me: Will there be any live set up's for the album, visual's etc?

Mark: I'll hopefully be out and about at a festival or two this summer. I haven't played much in the last few months so I'm itching to get out there again. I've streamlined the live gear and that should hopefully make for a more interesting show, I’ve been working on a totally improvised live show which could make things interesting.

Me: I hear a lot of different influences in the music, Orbital being one. If you could have written one of their back catalogue, which one? Also first time you caught them live?

Mark: I think it would have to be The Girl With The Sun In Her Head I love Orbital and they have so many classic tunes, it’s a really tough one to call. The first time I saw them play live was at The Roxy in New York in 1996, Goldie and DJ Shadow were on the bill too. It is still up there as one of the best gigs I've ever seen.

Me: Favourite tech toy?

Mark: Ooooh! This is a tough one, I'm not a massive gear nerd. I did get the Arturia Mini Lab recently which is brilliant. I was sure about how a ‘hybrid synth’ would work, I'm well impressed with it.

Me : I know you're a lover of the white isle ( Ibiza ) tell me a little about your first experience there and the first D.J that you caught in action, what club, etc? 

Mark: I went for the first time in 1996 and didn't really have a clue what to expect. The island has a really magical feel about it, taking away the clubbing side of things it’s a truly amazing place. I love the little hidden beaches and the whole vibe of the Island. I was sitting outside CafĂ© Mambo watching the sunset and that did it for me. I think the first club I went to was Es Paradis and it was Brandon Block behind the decks ( Me: Would have been a Clockwork Orange Party )

( Brandon Block : Es Paradis )

The tune of that trip was definitely Want Love by Hysteric Ego.

Me: Take me back to the old skool in one classic tune?

Mark: I'm a complete dunce when it comes to dance music if I'm honest! Mrs Mono is the seasoned clubber and expert in our house, she could probably answer this much better than I can. I'm an Indie kid, who stumbled into Electronic Music. I would say Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix) by Mory Kante, is that Old Skool? ( Me: It certainly is , and what a tune )

Me: Any new electronic artist we should check out ?

Mark: I would say people should check out Endoflevelbaddie live if you like a cracking party. A young local lad called Aerodynamic is producing some great music too. People should also listen to Graingerboy he produces consistently brilliant music I’m still playing the fantastic album by Lippy Kid that I bought last year, folks should check that out. Have you listened to Craig Bratley’s album? That’s brilliant too.

Me: You curate an Electronic stage at Sonar Festival, who would you have?

Mark: Todd Terje, Orbital (they can reform for my stage) The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Daniel Avery, Four Tet, Andy Weatherall, Craig Bratley, Steve Cobby, Public Service Broadcasting, Gui Boratto and The Hackney Colliery Band.

I think that represents value for money?

Me: Something for the weekend Sir ? ( One brand new House or Electronic recommendation? )

Mark: How about a little bit of Cad and Bounder? That’s really new, in fact it hasn't been released yet!

If you like what you've heard from Monolife and would be interested further in his music, especially ordering his album, then head over to :


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