Having worked within the music industry for over a decade during which time he released five full length albums which experimented with various genres and styles, Harry Nagle chose to switch things up once again and recruited Tom Hamilton, formerly of False Prophets and Paul Gil, a former band-mate bassist, to create Monday Favors.
The band have just released "Go Ahead And Hate" a song which is directed at those who bully and inflict pain on individuals that also encourages victims to stand up, move forward and rise above the actions of others. The track is taken from the album The Tongue That Licks, The Teeth That Bite and with plans afoot for a follow up album in the near future, Harry agreed to this interview with our staff writer Rebecca.
PW: Tell me about Monday Favors.
Harry Nagle: Masterminded by myself, this group is conceptually built around an electronic-80’s new wave/pop aesthetic I developed over the last couple years. I was heading in this direction even on the last Harry Nagle album, The Evacuation of Summer Lane especially with the popular song “All the Things I Need.” As a producer, I want to create atmospheres, be they grand, epic, or claustrophobic, that people can get lost within.
PW: How do you all know each other?
HN: I know some of the musicians from my home-town in Pennsylvania, and some I met through the NY scene and old bands I've been in. Some are active musicians in other bands and some, like Barb Morrison, are producers and musicians.
PW: What would you say makes Monday Favors different from other bands out there today?
HN: To us, the most IMPORTANT thing is writing good songs with good melodies. While we use electronics and synth sounds in terms of instrumentation, there isn’t a lot of roaming around with long instrumental parts. In that sense we try to keep the new-wave structure of things; keep songs shorter and more direct. This is not prog-rock. I’ll leave it to someone else to do a longer form remix with our stuff.
PW: Who would you say are your four biggest musical influences and how do they impact the music you create?
HN: The Berlin-era work of Bowie inspires me to create that balance between experimentation/art and pop. Wild Beasts’ most recent album has an awesome blend of new-wave aesthetic and dreaminess. The older new-wave band Ultravox inspires the synth aesthetic with some great sounds. Hot Chip really helps me believe that all these elements can combine into an exciting and often danceable whole. I also like Giorgio Moroder soundtracks from the 80's!
PW: How easy or hard to you find the song-writing process and where do you find inspiration for your songs?
HN: I find writing songs pretty easy at this point. Sometimes the music is done first and sometimes the melodies come first but it all comes fairly easily. Lyrics can take longer to develop. I do have different standards lyrically for different songs though. Some songs are less about lyrical meaning than groove. Producing/arranging/engineering the final product into a presentable recording is a bit harder and more painstaking. In the end, however, I am totally able to actualize what I’ve worked towards - full satisfaction!
PW: Could you pick a favourite track from your album The Tongue That Licks, The Teeth That Bite? If so, which is it and why?
HN: It’s hard to pick, but I do like the strength musically and topically for “Go Ahead and Hate.” I like that the verses have some angst in them that fully explodes in the aggressive choruses. I like drama, grand choruses. It’s has cool synth sounds, a danceable groove, a good message and good melodies!
PW: "Go Ahead And Hate" is almost a letter to bullies and haters. What inspired you to write it? Have you been a victim of bullying, physically, emotionally or online?
HN: I was bullied some in the small town where I grew up and there were times, when I was younger, where I was, sadly, on the other side of it, bullying someone else, so I'd like to think I have some understanding about this. Young people want to be accepted by their group and will act in ways that really defy their nature. I was bullied, sometimes for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the random target of someone's anger. It happened sometimes for dressing differently, looking differently, being smaller. I often wonder what makes someone want to inflict such pain on others, so the song explores that also. As far as the online world, I’ve seen bullying in chat rooms happen and also have seen the horrible vitriol in comment sections on various sites. Some people seem intent on tearing down rather than building and cowardly hide behind the anonymity that being online provides and use it to say nasty things.
“Go Ahead And Hate” is a cathartic song, a way of getting feelings thoughts out about this stuff in a safe way. I wanted to write something as a big “screw you” to the people that hurt me. I wanted to dress them down a bit. I wanted to say that I have the best revenge, which is to live well. I really like the cathartic aspect of music. Get it out of your system and move on, I say.
There actually is another song on the album called “Ow Ow Ow” about an actual incident of physical bullying that I was a victim of once.
PW: Would you agree that the growth and expansion of the internet and technology has made it easier for individuals to bully others?
HN: Totally. The possibilities are so much greater for “verbal’ and emotional harassment. I also think it’s more dangerous in many ways. Online bullying can cause emotional and psychological damage that is just as long lasting as some of the damage from physical bullying. The anonymity gives people a veil that they think allows them to treat others horribly. There’s a real dearth of civility in modern society and I think that translates even more so because of the anonymity factor. The internet is not like a small town where everyone knows how bad you’ve been. Then again, I’m from a small town and, of course, some of that small town attention can drive you up the wall also!
PW: What advice would you give to anyone being bullied?
HN: I can mostly speak from my own perspective. Get away from the situation. Don’t focus on fighting back. It can make things worse very easily. It’s a useless endeavour anyway. Find a peaceful place, even if it involves being alone for a bit. Don’t listen to any inner voice that tells you to be ashamed. Listen to music, read, make something. Try to find something you are good at and do that. Find people who are nice to you. Try to realize that you are NOT alone. You really don't HAVE to be friends with that person or be part of that group! The best revenge is living well and often that means focusing on your own good stuff and not what others think or say about you.
PW: For many people who are being bullied, music is an escape, almost like a therapy - would you agree with that?
HN: There’s solace, hope and community in music. I can’t emphasize how important it was to me when I was younger. Music touches me on such a deep level, as a cathartic release and as mood changer. You feel a connection with the artist. For myself as a kid it was John Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band.” If there's anything that gives me the feeling of grace, beauty or perfection it is music.
PW: How would you say social media has helped in terms of getting your name and music out there to people? Do you think it's a necessity for bands and artists today to be socially interactive with their fans and audience?
HN: Social media is essential for interacting with fans and pushing your message and music out there! In the old days they had mailing lists and postcards/flyers but now you can reach so many more people more quickly and get your music heard way more immediately and on your own terms. As for myself, it does bring some challenges. I am kind of a private person. I constantly wonder why people would care about some of the other things than the music I create. I don’t know, maybe it’s the Catholic school upbringing.
PW: Looking ahead, what does the remainder of this year and 2016 have in store for you? Can fans expect to see you out on the road soon?
HN: We are constantly working on conceptualizing and recording the follow-up to Lick-Bite. It will have some real surprises on it. I am always stretching what I try to do musically and vocally. As for playing live, I am recovering from a wrist/hand injury that limits my stamina to play shows but it’s getting better and better. I am hoping for some live shows in the spring!
PW: If you could play in any venue, anywhere in the world, with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, where would you play and who would you pick?
HN: The Bataclan in Paris, because of how historic the venue is and to show that we will NOT be afraid. I would LOVE to be on the same bill as Bowie, Hot Chip, and Roxy Music.
PW: What's your ultimate goal as a band? What would you have to achieve for you to agree on calling it a day?
HN: A top ten album and single! In reality, it’s being able to write, record and have a single heard by millions the next day. I don’t think I myself could ever stop. Music is like air that I breathe. Without it, my life would be impossible.
Check out "Go Ahead And Hate" below and for more information on Monday Favors, follow the band and Harry on Twitter, give the band a like on Facebook or check out their website. The album The Tongue That Licks, The Teeth That Bite is available now on itunes.https://soundcloud.com/mondayfavors/03-go-ahead-and-hate/s-gjzfW