“What am I addicted to? Chocolate milk and sexting.” Nick Monaco reveals all in our quick-fire Q&A.
Because I wasn’t good at sports.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Masseuse or communications scholar. Both are things that I still want to pursue. Had I not started touring straight out of college I would have most likely been in grad school right now. I’m really interested in massage too – I’m a firm believer in the power of human touch.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The more you say no, the more they say yes. Tanner Ross told me that. My dad always used to tell me nothing is impossible – that one sticks with me to this day.
What inspires you?
My friends, kids, the Talking Heads, heartbreak, new romance, Deee-Lite, punk rock, Elliott Smith, feminism, hanging out in museums.
Best club experience?
When I was president of the French club in high school. I would also say a jam packed night at Little Baobab, which is a dancehall/salsa club in San Francisco. And of course my monthly party, Hey Young World, at Monarch SF.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I worked at GAP for three months in high school. That job really motivated me to take music seriously, I didn’t want to get stuck there folding clothes every day. Monotony is really motivational to me; I hate the feeling of being stuck, so I push myself not to be.
Best club experience? When I was president of the French club in high school.
How do you know when a track’s finished?
I’m a minimalist so most of my tracks are not very complex. I focus on big ideas and themes in my music so I know when the track is done when the idea is clearly expressed to me. I don’t like to overthink things – when I start overproducing it sounds inorganic. My method is to capture and extend that moment when you get excited about your track, that first spark. It’s usually a vocal for me.
What was your last day job and when did you realize you couldn’t give up?
My last ‘real’ job was a proofreader. I proofread theses papers for grad students at a business school in Lichtenstein (I did this from home, I didn’t actually live in Lichtenstein). Before that I was waiting tables mostly. Fun times! Having done all those jobs throughout the years makes me really grateful to be doing what I love for a living.
Which song do you wish you wrote?
This is a tough one. At the moment I would say ‘Body Language’ by Queen. It’s so dripping wet – that bassline!!! RIP Freddie.
What’s the easiest way to make it in this music industry?
There’s no easy way, and everyone’s path is different, but generally my policy is to respect everyone I come across and don’t compromise who you are. Things will ripple out from there.
Recommend us a film.
What or who is underrated?
Aquariums, ATVs and Peter Gabriel.
What or who is overrated?
Bobcats. I’ll never let one of those pussies take me down.
What are you addicted to?
Chocolate milk and sexting.
What or who is underrated? Aquariums, ATVs and Peter Gabriel.
What do you lust over?
A fresh pasta carbonara and red lingerie.
What one thing would most improve your life?
More exercise and water! I love hot yoga and basketball – both make me really happy. It’s hard to fit them into my schedule but when I’m home I exercise as much as possible. It helps ease stress and gets rid of all those travel aches.
Collaboration: rich creative experience or pain in the ass?
It’s easier to collab with some people more than others, I think it’s really the attitude you have going into the session that really sets the tone of the track. If you go into a session feeling pressured to make something then it’s no fun. The way the crew does it is we jam and record everything. Later, we go back and give it structure. We never stick on one thing for too long, it’s important to keep things fresh and not get too attached to ideas, it slows things down.
If you could only listen to one more track, what would it be?
Damn, only one! That’s unfair but I would say ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie. If I had to choose an album it would be 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields.
How do you relax?
A joint, a negroni and a hot tub full of friends.
What one piece of software/kit could you not do without? Why?
Fender Rhodes, I write everything on it. Almost all of my tracks have Rhodes in them. I love the warmth and character of it.
What’s your single biggest frustration in the music industry?
Everyone sounding the same, the lack of experimentation and risk-taking.
What’s your favorite label? Why?
Stones Throw, hands down. They’ve never compromised who they are and are consistently inconsistent.
What’s your motto?
“Let your freak flag fly.”