Making quite the splash with his debut single, “Where I Belong”, Mono XL is giving us a fresh, new sound. The song is a psychedelic pop song with fun synths and an immersive atmosphere. If you’re questioning your place in life, I’d recommend this song to you, because it engulfs you and makes you feel like you belong in it.
This electro-pop song is very groovy and is characterized by this 80s funk rock vibes. There are parts of the song that will also remind you of Daft Punk. Mono XL and his vocals have this nostalgic, faded tinge to them that keeping seeping into the music. Mono XL features quite a bit of synth in the track, but the riff is the real winner here. It is repetitive and addictive. The riff is one of those sets of sounds that let you completely explore every note it has to offer you. There’s this really distinct, recurring droplet-like sound that really pushes the limit of “Where I Belong.” It ends with a sustained pipe organ that calms you down and roots you backing into your reality.
The sound has this vibe that makes it sound like it has travelled from both the past and the future to reach you. Mono XL really explores a sort of inner struggle with this song, realizing that maybe dreaming is where he actually belongs. The song is definitely an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.
We had the pleasure of being able to chat with Mono XL, and here is what he had to say about his music:
1. This is your debut single. Let me just say I really enjoyed listening to “Where I Belong”. Can you tell me what the thought process behind the song was?
Thanks! Very glad you liked it. I am very interested nowadays in synths, electronic sounds, atmospheres, and big or danceable rhythms but I also have a strong rock music background and part of my heart is still there. Where I belong is my single debut and I think it has most of the music elements that are interesting to me in it. In my creative process music always comes first, normally the idea starts sounding in my mind and I build from there, but sometimes something that I am playing or listening to, triggers the idea. This was the case of Where I belong, I was tweaking the arpeggiator on my Nord Lead and the riff just popped up, then the bassline and drums came together right after, and then the verse melody. The rest of the song was more about deciding the arrangements step by step. About lyrics and mood, I guess the main concept is on “dreaming seems where I belong”, like everything makes a lot more sense in my head and the projection of my dreams, but then I struggle to put all the pieces together. The song talks about this inner struggle.
2.I got a very 80s psychedelic pop/rock vibe from this song. Is this genre of music something that you’ve always leaned towards?
Not intentionally, I guess. I was born in the 80s and I love the music of that era, probably more the 80s sound though. I am definitely interested in making riffs with the synths. But regarding genre, I am not really following a plan. I am just trying to be as honest as I can with my moods, my feelings, my own music taste and the things I want to say. My music and my voice are coming from this really. But I can say I will probably keep including synths and psychedelia on my next releases.
3. I think the pandemic has made a lot of people question and evaluate their relationship with the space they’ve been living in, or they have had to move back home. I like how you mention looking into the past and also the future and sort of negotiating these temporalities. Is there a specific event that inspired you to write this song?
There is not a particular event behind the song. It is more about a collection of moments and events that make me be the way I am. And definitely temporality is something I am obsessed with. Who I was and who or how I would like to be in the future, and especially what I am going to do with the very limited time we have been given. These thoughts are behind everything I am doing right now.
4.Who are your biggest musical influences? I consider myself quite open regarding music genres, and I think I have many influences. I started playing in metal and hard rock bands, and I also love and played black music for a while. And for the last few years I am becoming more and more interested in synths and electronic sounds. It’s really hard to say who are my biggest influences, but I could tell you some bands and artists I have as references for Mono XL. I would love that Mono XL’s sound could have a bit of Bowie, The Voidz, Hot Chip, Apparat and or Radiohead. But maybe I am asking for too much! Lol
5. Where I Belong is your first single. Do you have more music planned for us? Oh, yes! I have been very prolific during pandemic, and I have ideas for a couple of albums! But before that, what I really want to do now is to start playing live as soon as I can, so I am going to put most of my efforts into getting a live show ready. And regarding releasing new music, my plan is to get a new single out in the next couple of months and then an album in 2022.
6. What do you see for yourself in the future (in terms of music)?
I don’t really make future plans. I make music because I need it, it sets me free somehow, and it is as important to me as it is eating. So I will keep doing it for the rest of my life, and what it really matters is that I would like to keep it as honest and truthful to myself as I can. And if this helps me to connect with other people out there, that would be great.
Don’t forget to stream “Where I belong” by Mono XL here: