Over the past seven years, Monophonics have staked their claim as one of the west coast's premier bands. Raised amid the Bay Area's rich musical culture, Monophonics has proudly carried on the tradition of music native to their hometown, which flourished during the birth of Funk music and Psychedelic Soul.
Psychedelic Soul, sometimes called Black Rock, is a sub-genre of Soul music, which mixes the characteristics of Soul with Psychedelic Rock. It came to prominence in the late 1960s and continued into the 1970s, playing a major role in the development of Soul and Funk music.
Monophonics were formed in 2005 was originally an instrumental ensemble, but in the last 2 years they have come to find their own sound which includes some incredibly vocally driven songs. The foundation of the band is the blistering funky drums of Austin Bohlman and soulful bass playing of Myles O’Mahony, fuzzy echo guitars by Ian McDonald, a powerhouse horn section made up of Ryan Scott, Nadav Nirenberg & Alex Baky and the swirling organ & dynamic vocals of Kelly Finnigan. The result is a psychedelic soul & heavy funk sound, which harks back to the styling of the late 60’s and early 70’s, all while keeping its feet planted firmly in the present.
As a mainstay of Bay Area venues such as The Fillmore, The Independent, & Sweetwater Music Hall, Monophonics have created a national buzz and fervent worldwide following. The last 2 years Monophonics has played over 250 shows in 8 different countries, sharing the stages with music legends like Al Green, Quincy Jones, Rodriguez, Dennis Coffee, and Crosby Stills & Nash. The band has also played some incredible shows with top funk and soul acts like The Budos Band, Ben l’Oncle Soul, Galactic, Syl Johnson, Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds and Soulive. Their touring schedule has brought their rowdy, hard-hitting, energetic live set to over 40 States from Hawaii to Motown, Brooklyn and down to NOLA and gained them a reputation as one of the best live touring acts. In the past couple years the band has also performed at some of the major music festivals around the world including; Jam Cruise, High Sierra, Wakarusa Music Fest, Wannee Music Fest, Portland Waterfront Blues Fest, Rochester Jazz Fest, Telluride Blues and Brews, Bospop Festival, Rockwave Festival, The legendary Montreux Jazz Festival, and both International Jazz Fests in Victoria and Vancouver.
Besides given major kudos for their live energy and stage show the sound of their latest record has gotten them a lot of attention. Produced and recorded by Finnigan & McDonald and recorded on an old Tascam eight-track 1/4”tape machine at The Soul Barracks in San Francisco. The LP drips with warm tones, a gritty rawness in performance and spontaneous songwriting rarely found since the golden days of FAME and Stax Records. The vibe, production and overall tone of the record has gotten compared to the best products by Daptone Studios in NY and Killion Sound in LA. This is the Monophonics sound and it is a welcomed by soul, funk and lo-fi heads worldwide. In 2012 Monophonics followed up their highly regarded 45/single “Like Yesterday” off Colemine Records with their third and best record to date entitled “In Your Brain” off the well known rare groove imprint Ubiquity Records. The critically acclaimed record is considered one of the best soul and funk releases of 2012 even gaining them a radio hit in Greece with their cover of Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang”. The full length has the vibe and the sound of the late 60’s/early 70’s. The sound of dark psych soul, heavy funk, top-notch songwriting, analog tones and renowned production is a sonic testimony to the evolution of this six-piece unit.
Looking ahead to the future, the band is planning to release a string of singles throughout late 2014 which will lead up to another full length LP in the spring of 2015. Also keeping them busy is their ongoing collaboration with French superstar soul singer Ben l’Oncle Soul. In the summer of 2014 the band backed Ben up for a 10 week European tour which will be followed by the release of his new album in which was recorded and produced with Monophonics at their studio in the bay area. With this project and all the touring the band has become in demand working and collaborating with lots of other respected groups and artists like multi instrumental producer Shawn Lee, Hip Hop group Blackalicious and Soul legend Mike James Kirkland. With all those things happening plus non-stop touring, there is no sign of slowing down anytime soon!
"Monophonics has made its name essentially, by creating a nasty score for the greatest blaxploitation movie never made!"- Willamette Weekly Magazine
"One of the best live soul bands I have ever seen!"- Al Bell (Record Producer, songwriter, record executive and co-owner of legendary Stax Records)
"A new species of music has been developed, something unknown to many, but needs to be known by everyone. A musical animal that will melt your mind, make you move like never before, and leave you frozen in your tracks when you see it." -MissoulaLive.com
“The missing soundtrack to a Tarantino movie.”- Boise Idaho Music Scene
“Sonically, In Your Brain sounds like a dream band featuring Dennis Coffey, the Funk Brothers, & Dr. John recording at Black Ark studios. However, this record is much more than just a culmination of sonic influences. The writing at the heart of the LP helps make this something completely original as well as something rooted in the past. I once read a Robert Wyatt quote about Paul Weller that I think is applicable. To paraphrase it, the Monophonics, like master carpenters, have created new furniture from seasoned wood.”- Drunkard Aquarium
“Never one to offer audiences a breather, Monophonics, looking like they’d raided the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s closet and make-up drawer, funneled nasty strangeness into funky frames after the Hips.”
Dennis Cook, Jambase.com
“Monophonics is The BOMB!” – James Alexander - (Co-founder and member of The Bar- Kays)
“It was electrifying. The San Francisco natives describe their style as psychedelic soul and funk. It’s like Booker T and the MGs on acid jamming with Big Brother and the Holding Company behind an angry Otis Redding…on vinyl.” Savoring the Sound.com