Entertainment Features

MONOWHALES: Making A Big Splash With New Video

By David DeRocco  

With the impact social media has on 21st century pop culture becoming a viral video sensation can certainly have its benefits. For an aspiring indie band, however, the ephemeral nature of such fleeting on-line success means there’s still plenty of work to do to achieve goals of long term career success. Case in point: MONOWHALES, a frenetic four-piece that might just be the hardest working band in Toronto.

While MONOWHALES has released two EPs and four singles, it was the video for their breakout song “Home” that resonated so quickly with on-line music fans. That nugget of nostalgia and its accompanying video – featuring singer Sally Shaar’s whirlwind day-trip through iconic Toronto locales – quickly went viral, eventually garnering over one million views on Facebook. And while a million views isn’t as lucrative as selling a million digital singles, it still opened up doors for Shaar and her bandmates Jordan Circosta (Drums), Holly Jamieson (Keyboards) and Zach Zanardo (Guitar). 

“Home really was a breakthrough for us and we’re thankful for everything it’s given us,” said Shaar, in reference to the contract with ONtour 150 that saw MONOWHALES joining Headstones, Kardinal Offishall, The Beaches and more at a series of free concerts this past summer. “We went to a lot of places we wouldn’t have gotten to. And it also opened up the door to the Province of Ontario, who gave us a call to do the anthem.”

The “anthem” in question was “Give Us A Place To Stand,” the Ontar-i-ar-i-ario song the band re-recorded to help promote ON150 celebrations. And while the broad exposure may have moved the band’s timetable for world domination a slight step forward, it hasn’t done much to reduce the real work required for the four friends to make performing as MONOWHALES a viable fulltime career.

“We’ve all got one foot, maybe a toe in the other things we’re doing to support ourselves,” laughed Shaar, who outside of her lead singer role operates a social media marketing company while her bandmates serve as teachers. “We’re hoping this year for this to become our full time gig. Every day we get up at 6am and have rehearsal at 7am. We take it very seriously. We are the type of people who don’t have a Plan B, this is what we’re doing.”

What MONOWHALES (formerly Ginger Ale & The Monowhales) have been doing recently is recording and releasing their latest video for the song “Take It Back.” That production is a vivid visual spectacle that beautifully captures the essence of the band’s infectious, ever-evolving indie sound. Inspired by the “#SatisfyingVideo” craze, the “Take It Back” video is a gooey kaleidoscope of colour set to an edgy, high-energy blast of keyboard-and-guitar accentuated by Shaar’s punchy vocal. It was shot by Toronto’s PRESS IT video productions, who Shaar says were a perfect fit for the project.

 “We’re a very visual band and we like to extend that beyond the music to include video, merch, photos. We always want to have something that’s meaningful. We go big or go home every single time. With PRESS IT it’s always, ‘hey, what do you think of this idea,’ and they say, ‘that’s crazy, let’s do it.’ And they’ll come to us and say, ‘what do you think of this idea,’ and we’ll say, ‘hey, that’s nuts, let’s do it.’ It’s a great relationship to have when making videos.”

While the video for “Take It Back” gives fans a satisfying taste of new music, it doesn’t mean there’s a full MONOWHALES album lurking in the wings ready for a surprise release. Instead, Shaar says the song is a first step as the band deals with the same reality most aspiring indie bands are faced with – coming up with the songs and financial resources required to deliver a full album.  

“It’s for the new release, I just can’t tell you if it’s going to be an EP or an album. Obviously finances play a big part in that. We’re independent 100 percent so we’re either self-funded or grant funded. We do it all without a label backing us which is cool. We’ve been able to do that so far. Half of the decision is how do you come up with the money to do anything. The other half is, we’ve been writing for a long time and we only want to put stuff on an album that we really like, that we feel is strong. Whether that becomes an EP or an album, we just want quality on there.” 

IndoorShoes & GoLive BrockU Present MONOWHALES with Featurette (and 2 more) Nov 9 at The Warehouse in St. Catharines. $10 IN ADVANCE

Online: http://ticketf.ly/2x78flX
Physical tickets available at Mindbomb Records
Also see the band November 8th at Mills Hardware, Hamilton