Having spent the last year changing their line-up and writing new songs, South London band Monks In The Wood create lyrically poignant offerings oozing a twinkling musicality and heartfelt raw emotion.
Reflecting on human behaviour and “all the sorts of crazy things human beings believe, prioritise and do”, new single ‘Patterns’ showcases the band’s majestic shimmering charm and powerful storytelling abilities.
We caught up with Charlotte Nordin, who has recently joined the band on keys and vocals, to find out more…
Hi Charlotte, welcome to Get In Her Ears! For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi Mari! Thank you for having me! I’m a Stockholm-born musician and DJ living in London since 2016. I’ve been working full time in the music since I moved here and I love it! I recently started teaching music and art as well in schools around London, which is definitely an extension of my passion. Teaching is what I studied when I was in Stockholm.
How did you initially decide to start creating music?
I learned very early on that I loved making music and writing songs. I used to tell my friends I couldn’t see them and instead stood by the stereo in my room, pressing record and play, and singing over tracks, haha! My dad was really into music as well and got me these eJay studio music sample PC games that I started to play around with in the late ’90s. It quickly evolved to getting Cubase, microphones and teaching myself how to play the keyboard and guitar. As an angry angst-ridden teenager I realised quickly that singing and making music was the only non-destructive thing that could make me feel better. And it has continued throughout my entire life.
And how did you first get involved with Monks In The Wood?
After a couple years being a one woman musician in London I finally signed up to find other musicians online. Monks In The Wood popped up and they needed someone for keys and vocals, and I really liked their image and sound. After meeting them to jam a couple times in Peckham, I’ve been 100% on the Monks In The Wood train, haha.
The band have been compared to the likes of The Shins and Local Natives, and we love the band’s twinkling dreamy vibes, but who would you personally cite as your main musical influences?
Well, we are five band members with pretty different musical influences to bring to the pot. My personal thought listening to the music when I joined was that it has major Kent-vibes. Kent is a famous Swedish alt-rock band with some shoegaze influences and that dreamy sound that Monks In The Wood also has. Since Kent is one of my own biggest music influences, it’s not strange that I felt at home in the Monks sound straight away.
How do you feel the music industry is for new bands at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Well, I don’t really know… It’s definitely both good and bad that social media and the online world provides easy access to be seen and also finding new music. I feel like it’s a big ocean of amazing talent out there and if you don’t stick your elbows out, be unique and keep on people’s radar, you drown in the noise of others. As a new upcoming band, it can be quite draining, but also exciting, since it’s easy to connect with new contacts.
It’s that time of year when normally we’d be getting excited about the upcoming summer festivals… Sadly of course things are all a bit on hold at the moment. But what festivals would you normally be looking forward to?
Oh I love festivals! One of the best ones I’ve been to is Rock Werchter in Belgium. It’s well-structured, audience is mixed and it has a mix of music genres as well. I saw bands like Placebo, The Prodigy and Dave Matthews Band. The worst festival I’ve been to is Openair Frauenfeld, a hip hop festival in Switzerland. I came for Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill, but the festival goers were all under 16 years old and quite rude – it was a very weird vibe! I ended up barely going into the festival grounds at all. My all-time favourite festival is Open’er Festival in Gdynia, Poland. Such a friendly, well-arranged and mixed festival. I’ve been going five years in a row and am so sad I’m missing this year!
And who will be the first band/artist you hope to see live when this is all over?
I’ve ticked off a lot of my favourites already, but I’m yet to see Bon Iver! I also want to see Danger Incorporated, Airiel, The Japanese House, Che Ecru, Dej Loaf and Roy Woods.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming new bands that you’d recommend we check out?
Definitely all of the bands and artists I name dropped in the previous question!
And what else does 2020 have in store for Monks In The Wood?
We are currently working on lots of new songs and are looking forward to recording them and doing lots of live gigs when bars and clubs re-open again!
Massive thanks to Charlotte for answering our questions!
‘Patterns’ is out now via Spinnup.
Photo Credit: Seb Higgins