With the release of their new album 'Islands Part Two', Melbourne minimalist electronic duo No Mono come full circle on a project more than two years in the making.
“Because the 'Islands' album has been split into two parts, which we wrote over an extended period, we felt that the songs needed separate records to give them the right expressions,” Tom Iansek, one of two Toms in the band, explains.
“I feel like the past two years is the clearest way to look at what's been happening for No Mono because the album we released in June is married to the first one; they're kind of two parts of the same whole.”
Released at the end of June, 'Islands Part Two' delivers the flipside of 'Part One' in terms of energy and concept. “It's been a really interesting project as well,” Tom Snowdon adds.
“We didn't want to rush ‘Part Two’ after ‘Part One’ because there's an energy on 'Part One' that's more introspective and more slow-paced, so we thought if we quickly brought out 'Part Two' it might squash the energy that we wanted to let linger and let sit with people for a while.
“That's really worked in our sense of how the album is paired together because the second one is a lot more energetic and less downtempo. The marriage of the two with that space between has been a really special thing to try and achieve, not only the songs themselves but how they fit together as two parts of a whole.”
Thematically, the concept of the 'Islands' project is about moving through periods of trauma in one's life, navigating precariously between wreck and ruin with islands providing temporary safe harbour from the storms. “'Islands' came to us after we talked a lot and experimented with sounds and things that were going on in our lives at the time,” Tom explains.
“'Islands' to us came to represent these sanctuaries and you moving between these islands through periods of trauma and loss and being lost, then finding these islands that can be a sanctuary but also safety can be dangerous as well.”
The other Tom adds: “We were trying to explore those themes in different ways and the first part tended to the more introspective and downtempo. We don't try and make melancholic music but the songs kind of come out like that. Both records tie those themes in but with the second one we wanted to break out of that sense of full-on isolation and show the more energetic side to this project.”
No Mono take the 'Islands' project on the road in its entirety from August, including a special Tivoli In The Round show as part of Brisbane Festival. Both excited for the live shows, the two Toms say the set list will cover both parts of the 'Islands' project.
“It's the 'Islands' tour so it's the whole package. We did talk about whether we should just do 'Part Two' but it would be betraying the whole concept because it doesn't make sense without 'Part One'. It will be a combination of both in the way that it will be curated to highlight the journey in the best way.”
No Mono Australia Tour 2019Thu 15 Aug - The Lighthouse (Darwin)
Sat 17 Aug - The Gap View Hotel (Alice Springs)
Thu 29 Aug - Oxford Art Factory (Sydney)
31 Aug-1 Sep - Howler (Melbourne)
Fri 13 Sep - Jive (Adelaide)
Sat 14 Sep - Mojos Bar (Fremantle)
Wed 18 Sep - The Tivoli In The Round (Brisbane Festival)
Sun 6 Oct - Yours & Owls Festival (Wollongong)