IF you have not stepped into the world of Mon Frère…
then I suggest you correct that! Matt and Paul Lennox are the brotherly duo whose music is hitting hearts, ears and minds. With their new single, I’m on It, out and picking up acclaim; I was keen to learn about its story and what it was like working with TLBW on the song.
Matt fields the questions and discusses the influence of artists like Orbital and Underworld; why the duo started making music together; what it is like working with an array of guest vocalists on their songs; whether there is more music arriving later this year – Matt tips some artists we need to keep our ears open for.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been great, thanks. We’re working hard to create the promotional plan for our next two tracks and we’ll also have some very exciting news breaking within the next few weeks. Plus, the sun’s been out and there’s some great music out there to listen to at the moment - so we can’t complain.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. Mon Frère consists of Paul Lennox and Matt Lennox. We are brothers and have been working together as Mon Frère for over four years now. Paul is the composer and producer; I (Matt) am a lyricist and we both work together on the business development of the project.
We then bring in young, talented vocalists to feature in our songs such as Kate Wild (AJ Moreno), Joell Fender (Years and Years and Sigala) and TLBW (Lebeaux) to name a few.
How did Mon Frère come together? When did the magic start?
Mon Frère was born towards the end of 2013. Paul was already an established musician, drumming for bands such as Warsaw Radio. I had been a Dance music D.J. back in the nineties and noughties. I have a background in business, so we thought: ‘Why don’t we put our skills together and create our own music?!’ So; Mon Frère began life as an Electronic-Dance music duo. Our first album, Urban Glow, was released in 2015 and was an eclectic mix of all the Dance music genres that had been inspiring us. As we grew, we decided to refine our sound and our new music has much more lyrical and musical depth.
We now have orchestral elements in all of our songs; live strings, piano etc. We decided that we would only create songs that meant something to us personally and I think the new direction has really hit a chord with our fans.
Tell me about I’m on It and its story. How did the song start life?
Actually; the phrase ‘I’m on it’ came from a saying that we had back in the nineties when we would go clubbing and tell each other: “I’m on it tonight, sunshine”. It was a great phrase and always made us smile; so we took the phrase and then built a song around it. The song evolved into a story about a guy who watches the girl he loves constantly get burned by the other guys she would date. She is attracted to the typical ‘bad boy’ and the song is about this guy’s frustration of watching her get hurt repeatedly – but keeps going back for more.
We’ve all seen this happen, right?
What was it like working alongside TLBW on the track?
TLBW is a Brighton-based vocalist called Turrell Lebeaux. Turrell is an absolute superstar-in-the-making. His band, Lebeaux, are currently supporting Tokyo Myers - last year’s winner of Britain’s Got Talent. Turrell is charisma personified. If you get the chance to see him live with Lebeaux, we certainly recommend going. He was simply an absolute diamond to work with – as have all the great vocalists that have entered our studio.
Do you think bringing different singers in to perform your tracks gives them variety and personality?
Absolutely. The best part of the Mon Frère project is the opportunity to work with such inspiring and talented people. It really is a message to all up-and-coming producers – this kind of talent is out there and is available. We search Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to view show-reels of potential singers for each track. Once we find the right singer, we’ll contact them directly and have very rarely been turned down for a studio session.
Working with people like Kate, Joell; Turrell and the others has taught us so much about professionalism, building relationships that profit both parties and add to the fun.
Is there more material coming down the line at all?
There is going to be constant new music from Mon Frère. We aim to be ‘prolific’ in our output and have certainly been so over the last six months. Our next track, Caught Up Caught Out, will be launched in the next two months and then we already have the next one after that ready…
That song is called See What You Mean to Me which, I think, is the most beautiful track we have ever written (I can say that because Paul also wrote the lyrics!) and it features another new singer called Meliva who is based out of London. Meliva’s voice is something to behold!
Which musicians do you count as idols? Were you raised around a lot of different sounds?
Paul’s music career was based around being a Rock drummer, so he is heavily influenced by Rock music. However, Paul studied at Brighton’s Institute of Modern Music which also gave him a wide background in all kinds of technical music; so Paul counts bands such as The Cinematic Orchestra and Massive Attack as key influences.
I grew up in the '90s surrounded by the epic dance music that we were hearing for the very first time. Bands such as Underworld, The Chemical Brothers; Orbital and The Prodigy just blew me away. I think the Mon Frère sound captures a lot of these influences within our songs.
Are there going to be any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
The key focus of Mon Frère, at the moment, is working with a publisher to raise the awareness of our songs and get them synchronised onto T.V., films and adverts. In this way, we are working to broaden our fanbase. However, we may have some exciting news coming your way soon in regard to a gig to launch a new record label – watch this space…
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
We are very robust in our planning and promotional focus. We started as a D.I.Y. artist, so there’s lots of work on-going with websites, social media and (working with) media outlets. The main ambition for the rest of 2018 is to continue to launch a new single every three months, increase our radioplay and have our music used in a mainstream film. Finally, we always have our fans at the heart of everything we do so we want to make sure that we continue to provide them with value and look to grow our supporters every day.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
There have been so many highlights up to this point, but the most-recent favourite memory was getting on a British Airways flight to Canada and finding that our music was being played on the in-flight entertainment system. I had been bumped up to Business Class, so it really felt special. I was considering getting up and telling all the passengers but managed to refrain myself!
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
I would say that the first Underworld album I purchased changed my life. It was the Second Toughest in the Infants album. I had never heard music like this before: such depth, such emotion and such funk. It just blew me away.
I would also say that listening to Orbital’s ‘Brown Album’ (Orbital, 1992) for the first time was a similar experience – it was completely unique and still stands apart from any other music.
Paul would say that The Cinematic Orchestra’s Ma Fleur is just beautiful. The musicality of The Cinematic Orchestra truly inspires Paul - and you can definitely hear their influence in all of our newer songs.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To be a successful artist today, if you are going to work hard to build your own reputation and following then be prepared for a hard slog. It’s not good enough just to be a talented musician anymore (unless you are very lucky). You need to be business-savvy and you’ll need to be an expert in social media promotion. We would suggest every young artist to do a course in Digital Marketing.
IN THIS PHOTO: Lebeaux/PHOTO CREDIT: Theo Lowenstein
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
You should certainly check out the band Lebeaux. They are so funky and unique - and each musician in the band is supremely talented. Also, one of the singers we feature frequently is called Kate Wild. Kate is an exceptional talent and you’ll hear her voice sampled on numerous Dance hits. She’s also about the nicest person in the world: so professional and intelligent.
IN THIS PHOTO: Kate Wild
Do you both get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Honestly…no, we get very limited free time. Paul is constantly gigging across the world with other acts such as Warsaw Radio and UK Queen Tribute. I also have a full-time job to help pay the bills so, to unwind, we both listen to music all the time. Paul really never stops working but I listen to a lot of Chillout music from the likes of Solar Fields and Carbon Based Lifeforms. Music makes us both happy and just about keeps us sane - so we don’t mind being busy with Mon Frère.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Ok. Let’s choose a song from each of our influencers. I will nominate Pearl’s Girl by Underworld. It’s got the dirtiest baseline and the lyrics are crazy. I just love this track.
From Paul, I will nominate To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra. It’s such a beautiful song and pulls on the heartstrings.
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