Why The Gruuv: The Lectric Monks talk about debut EP The Six
Have you heard of Tarantino Funk ‘n Roll Groove? Well if you haven’t you are in for an upbeat fun-loving treat! The Lectric Monks are finally releasing their EP for us to enjoy at home. For those of you that haven’t seen them live at one of their many shows, you are definitely missing out. They light up the stage with energy and good vibes.
The Lectric Monks started up in 2014 and developed into a 6-piece band of musical talent. The band members are as follows: Francois van der Merwe (Rhythm and Vocals), Gary Peacock (Harmonica and Vocals), Henk Oosthuizen (Lead Guitar and Vocals), Cynthia van der Mescht (Keys, Synthesizer and Vocals), Duncan Potgieter (Drums) and Dylan du Toit (Bass). For their release, we decided to have a chat with the band…
Your genre of music is very specific. How did you classify your genre when you started?
We wouldn’t consider our music very specific at all, at least not specific enough to say we fit into a genre. In the early days of The Lectric Monks, we leaned towards a Bluesy-Gypsy-Jazz-Folk. In between then and now we dabbled with more of a Rootsy Rock ‘n Roll vibe, and now recently Funk and 80s Synth are very present. We love mixing up genres to create something special, especially if you get to break the rules. We have already started working on some Rap material, set to be unveiled soon
How did you decide on your name?
The “Electric Monk” is a character from Douglas Adams novel, ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’. He is, in essence, a labour-saving device, just as how a toaster toasts bread for you and a washing machine cleans your clothes for you, the electric monk believes for you. In the story, the Monk is dysfunctional and can believe everything in a world of infinite possibilities at the same. We believe that same applies to what our band strives for, oh and the “e” is unnecessary semantics.
A brief history of how you met and started as a band
We dabbled with a guitar and harmonica on couch sessions in 2013, but it evolved into something concrete only in 2014. We first introduced ourselves to this planet at our debut show on November 1 st 2014, although some may argue that the spirit of The Lectric Monks has existed far beyond the grasp of human time.
The development of the band was a bit bumpy with some monks coming and going, but we also feel that all of them have contributed significantly towards what we sound like today. It grew into the Lectric funky feels you hear today.
One thing we did decide with the start of this band was that:
The ‘Gruuv’ is present in all things, and in time all things shalt be gruuvy.
Even though we haven’t stuck to one way of achieving that, it was and is always present.
What was your first performance like? And do you think your live performance has changed?
Our first Performance as a band was actually the result of winning a Karaoke competition at Rafters Pub, It was also the inspiration needed to start the band! We opened for Die Heuwels Fantasties, nervous. At that stage, Francois was using a kick drum as we didn’t have a drummer and we broke more strings than hearts. We have developed greatly from that fateful evening, so much so that we have started investing a lot of time and thought into our stage production at shows.
Do you have a ritual before or after a performance for the energy you have on stage?
It’s a weird combination of Lectric Meditation and a direct injection of liquefied GRUUV! Not for the faint of heart, unless you are experienced cosmonauts
What is your favourite song to perform live?
There are so many, however, New Man and City Lights are always the preferred jams.
Who writes your lyrics and music?
Primarily the songs are written by Francois and Gary, but the musical composition is definitely a group effort. Sometimes there is a melody that gets stuck in our heads for a while before we even start thinking about making it into a song. That theme comes up in our jam sessions, until we finally pull everything together.
Which artists have influenced your music, and what band/artist would you love to open for?
James Brown, The Beatles, The Meters, The Rolling Stones all have played their part in our musical creation process. Inspiration through many genres. We love a wide variety of music and take inspiration from everyone that makes us want to boogie.
If there was a country you would like to perform, where would that be?
Space, would not only be a dream, but the final frontier of music too. Anyone who knows The Monks, know that we love taking our show to new/strange/unknown/Massive stages. To answer the question, EVERYWHERE!
Do you have any goals for the band?
Not only do we want to produce and release interesting music with eclectic soundscapes, but we also want to redefine how musicians operate in the music industry, with regards to stage performance, interactivity and of course, #lectriclove
What have been some of the obstacles for your band, and what is different when playing in a 6-piece band than smaller groups?
Our biggest challenge as a band, has always been being pigeon holed into specific genres, such as folk. Band size, is also a great challenge as 6 members become dramatically more expensive with regards to travel and accommodation, apart from just the basic co-ordination of 6 different lives.
How often (and for how many hours) do you practice in a week?
We tend to have 1 rehearsal during the week (4 hours), but also work in workshops/stage design/stage performance sessions, where we can.
What advice would you give to fellow starting bands?
- Never get demotivated, YOU need to make things happen, nothing is offered on a silver spoon.
- If you want to be part of the music industry, you need to be actively part of the music industry. Support other bands/events, the more you open your eyes to the scene, the more educated you will become.
- Never fear originality
What did you learn from compiling the EP you’re about to release?
We learnt the most important lesson you can. Making music is the best thing anyone can do! There are far too many lessons we learnt, from studio to promotion, but most importantly is that wherever there is music, there is love!
Where and when can we expect the next shows?
We will be announcing a few shows on social media but keep the 20th April open for a once in a lifetime music experience, details to follow.
We are excited to welcome another local EP into the music industry and look forward to many more shows by this lively and entertaining band. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud, and get their debut EP, The Six, on iTunes!
See you in space!
Lodemé is an adventurous librarian who likes rainy weather to brood in and is overwhelmed with excitement at the mention of any food or beer.