After getting a chance to hear Jarki Monno’s upcoming single a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to chat to him about his creative process, writing music in lockdowns, and musical inspirations. The new single, ‘Boys Still Cry,’ is not one to miss and is characteristic of Jarki’s genre-spanning style. Along with the main single release, you’ll be able to check out a performance of it on the South Lanes Sessions on March 6.
It feels like you wear your heart on your sleeve in your music. Is it a challenge to bear your emotions to the world, or is it something that comes naturally to you?
I feel that due to certain events that have taken place in my life and having had the time to process these moments (some of which have taken years), it means that at the age I am at now, I’m comfortable with most emotions and expressing how I feel. When it comes to the music side of things, it’s almost a bonus; being able to turn those thoughts into a creative piece to not only help myself but sometimes help many others means so much to me. Especially with communication being such an important thing in this day and age, I know so many struggle to say how they truly feel at times, if there is the slightest chance that I can help somebody to come to terms with how they feel then that is all that matters to me.
How did you find the lockdowns over the last few years? Did they affect your creativity at all?
Creativity throughout lockdown really came in peaks and troughs. There were periods where I was writing songs or ideas every other day, and then periods where I couldn’t write anything for over a good few weeks – it’s seriously tough. When the one outlet you have to take some weight off your own shoulders isn’t fully functioning… Those points were when I would doubt myself the most. Of course, in due time the creative wave returns, and I feel as most musicians and artists do: we then try and ride that wave for as long as possible.
I was fairly lucky to have been able to work outside of my living space through the entirety of the lockdowns which meant I wasn’t stuck in a room trying to force projects day by day, but all the while because everything was shut and we couldn’t really see anybody, there was nothing to really write about except reflecting to a time before lockdown.
Your music ticks a few different genre boxes. In certain moments elements of Easy Life come through, then it’s Ghostpoet, and then next I can hear something like Yakul in there. Is writing music that doesn’t fit into one neat box something you aim to do, or does it just happen as you write?
It’s funny you say that, Easy Life are close to the top of my list for bands/artists that inspire me in what they do so to hear that you can hear glimpses of their works in mine really means something. When it comes to my own stuff, I have always wanted to be as creatively free as I possibly can be and never really wanted to be placed into one box. Different sounds and combinations have always fascinated me and I feel that plays a part in what I create to this day.
I was brought up listening to completely different styles of music, especially on car journeys. From the Gorillaz to Harry Connick Jnr, then to Black Eyed Peas to Jack Johnson, all of which I know has had some sort of role in inspiring me to date. I think having that freedom to write, produce and blend a mix of styles allows for so much more growth in what I do. There is so much music out there that resonates with me and they can come from some completely juxtaposing genres. When it comes to the actual sounds behind the lyrics, I’ll have a finished song or demo which carries the general vibe of a track for what I want it to sound like, but a lot of it is also down to my good friend and producer Sam Clines who adds a crazy amount to make it to its finished sound.
Your next track ‘Boys Still Cry’ is out in early February. Having given it a listen, I love how the lyrical content deals with important and emotive topics, but the song isn’t at all melancholic. A real sense of depth and emotional maturity comes through – do you think this is something we could do to see more of in the music world?
Pleased to say that the release date shall be the 11th February and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel that the topics covered in this song can be hard for some people to listen to if they are going through said area, which is completely understandable. But that’s why I try to keep the instrumentation around it extremely up-beat and high tempo, the idea that you could dance or cry or both to it was something I was trying to go for and think I achieved. It’s music that I think at certain points in my life I really would’ve loved to have had in my pocket to play when I wasn’t in the greatest of places, so I think myself three to four years ago would be giving me a good pat on the back right now hahaha!
In terms of seeing more of this in the music world, I feel that there is an abundance of it out there, but sometimes due to the way the music industry is it doesn’t get enough light shed on it as it should do. I’ve always been told by so many people, though, that if a song is relevant enough and holds enough to it that it will get placed into the right hands at the right time.
Sam Clines from South Lanes Studios produced the track for you. How have you found working with the South Lanes crew on this track and the South Lanes Session?
As mentioned previously, Sam is one of my best mates so to bring this track to him and see it come out like this has gone past my wildest dreams. I was one of his first (if not, I believe, his first) artists to work with over four years ago now, and to see his production levels grow each and every time I see him fills me with so much joy. To think it all started in his bedroom at his first-year student house to now having the complex he, Meg, and Luke own is truly inspiring to me. Also, with Meg being my manager, I couldn’t be more proud to see her in the position she is at now as well. She is up there with one of the hardest and driven work ethics I know for somebody to have and well and truly deserves everything coming her way. They all do, they’ve truly grafted for this, and turned what was once a dream into reality.