Jarki Monno is making waves in the Alt-Pop scene with his unique style influenced by Jazz and RnB. Armed with a string of successful releases under his belt and his first festival booking, Jarkii embarks on the next phase of his career with the release of his new Single Change On Me. We caught up with him ahead of his release to chat all things music and get to know him a little better.
Your new single comes out next Friday, Change On Me. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
This is the second single of a new chapter. It was the first song I wrote following the mixtape I dropped last year. It really hones in on what I've been trying to get to for quite some years now. This single is a combination of the past four years all tied together and I'm finally making sense to myself. Really proud and pleased of this one.
Following your last single, Boys Still Cry, you've said you're entering a new era. What would you say inspired this shift?
I've never wanted to be tied down into one box. I think the first few years have been experimental, finding out lyrically what I can connect with, and then from that, what the fanbase connects with most. Evolving as a person as well in terms of the maturity level. I think, way back when, it's not that it was immature, but I feel you could tell I was fresh to the game. These days, I feel the music really holds its own, I like to think it's starting to pull together some really interesting ideas and avenues to create something fresh.
You explore quite a few different sounds and genres with your music, would you say you're a fan of the genreless musical identity?
Definitely, I think it's a sign of the times. When you look at bands and songwriters, whatever they're releasing tends to be reflective of a certain period of time in their lives. You don't have to look too much into it to find out more about artists, a lot of the time the music speaks for itself. I've always been a reflective writer, and written from my own experiences. I've told my own story in the hope that whether it's 1 or 1000 people, they can connect to it. That's an achievement to me.
Your visuals for this new era are really striking, what's the idea behind that?
When I was making this set of records, I didn't have any ideas of artwork or anything in mind. And one day, I got a call queued up to a shoot at Brighton Electric with a guy called Rob Blackham, and he asked me what I wanted to capture. At that point I was starting to become comfortable with my body. It was always something I was quite insecure about, but last summer I really overcame that insecurity. I had nothing in mind, but I was just like, I'd love to get some topless pictures. It coincided with the music, especially with Boys Still Cry. It's laying myself bare and really stripping back to who I am as a person to say: this is me. Tying it in with the graphic. I've always loved that, Disclosure did it brilliantly with the geometrics, in the past my artworks were minimal so this felt like bringing together old and new. I'm really happy with it, shoutout to Sam [@samosstudio] who did the graphic design, he does such an amazing job!
Yeah it's definitely striking! It sounds like recording these new tracks has been a really liberating experience for you.
Definitely, with each song that I write these days, I learn more about myself. For so long, I thought there were things that I struggled with alone, but the amazing thing about actually releasing music, you realise how many people are going through such similar events to you. I've moved back to Hemel Hempstead and it's not a place where blokes talk about their feelings. I had a lot of people reach out and say they connected with it, it’s a really fulfilling moment for them to voice it in even the smallest of ways.
Tell me about your recording process? Is it quite collaborative, I know you worked with Sam Clines on this next single - how was that?
Sam's been my boy for four years. A lot of time I'll create a demo myself of a whole song, just to get the basic idea. As soon as I'm 100% confident I'm gonna be dropping this track at some point, I shout my boy Sam. Ever since that day back in his first student gaff, he's just understood me, and I understand him. When I've got an idea, I have 100% faith in him that he knows exactly what I can hear in my head. Neither of us are too scared to voice anything, it's a really open time when we're in the studio. Collaborating is different to writing on your own, you both have to be in the exact same mindset, and the exact same spirit. We all help out in one way or another, that's where collaboration really stems from. It doesn't stem from the music, it just stems from the love you have for one another.
How'd you feel about live performance? Is that something that comes quite naturally to you?
When I'm off stage, I'm very chilled and relaxed but when I'm on stage, I know that I'm there, I've got a job to do. With every show, I want people to go away, look me up and create a new connection through the music. You can ask any artist - there really is no feeling like being on stage and seeing people in front of you. Doing shows, with people reciting lyrics back to me, it's a really surreal moment. Especially after the couple of years we've had, with that hole, not having the live side of things. It's more important now than ever to get behind artists, the industry needs it more than ever.
You just booked your first festival, how does it feel?
It's crazy to me. It's literally the other side of England, gonna get me, Meg and the boys in the van and work our way up to the 'Toon! That's some bucket list stuff. Some people never get to experience those types of things, it's a real honour for me to be able to start doing this. It's quite daunting, but at the same time, it's exhilarating. I'm really gassed to see what Newcastle is made up of.
Jarki Monno's Change On Me will be available on streaming platforms from April 8th 2022.
To keep up to date with Jarki Monno, follow him across social media:
Instagram - @jarkiimonno
Facebook - Jarki Monno
Twitter - @jarkiimonno
Written by: Alice Hingley of South Lanes Studios
Alice's Instagram - @alicehingley
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South Lanes Studios's Instagram - @southlanesstudios
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