As we move into the heart of the winter here in Montreal, we are proud to debut another talented Quebecois artist on XYZ – Monarke. Hailing from Quebec City, he has gained international acclaim in recent years as a key figure for Soul Button’s Steyoyoke. Utilizing enveloping energy and ominous melodics, the Canadian’s progressive techno productions effortlessly catch the ear and hook the mind.
For his first project on XYZ, Monarke has connected with fellow Canadian artist Jessica Zese, who provides stunning vocal work on Otherside. Easy gliding pads and ambiances set the state for the melancholic vocals, allowing somber tones to guide us through the opening act of the EP.
The title track, Edge of Reality, takes us to the brink of understanding with swirling stabs and flutter synths. A broken beats eases in and out through an unpredictable arrangement. A complex soundspace, allowing listeners their own interpretations.
Cataclysm pulls us into club territory, with a driving backbone of kicks and claps. Gritty hooks and eccentric touches bring character to this dance-centric number, showcasing Monarke’s knack for 4×4 killers.
To close out the EP, Glyph reigns in the energy, acting as a perfect summary for the project as a whole. Steady melodies collide with delayed drums, formulating trippy tendencies and an innovative style of sound.
To celebrate the release of Monarke’s Edge of Reality EP, we caught up with Fabrice, the man himself, to touch base on how it all came together.
WWD – Thanks for joining us today Fabrice!
Monarke – Thanks to you guys for having me aboard – it’s been a pleasure!
WWD – How are things over in Quebec City at the moment?
Monarke – Well it’s pretty relaxed. You know, it’s a strange year but I am happy to see lots of people going outside and taking the opportunity to breathe some fresh positive air. It’s good for the soul, we need it right now.
WWD – How have you been spending the last year, given everything that’s going on?
Monarke – Well the beginning of 2020 for me was fire for me; EPs, Remixes, Collaborations, then traveling. Then during the lockdown, I’ve remade all my studio, and made lots of music., I’ve released 2 Eps and a couple remixes for Steyoyoke, Felix Raphael & Yannek Muanz. I’ve been really busy, concentrating on my sound and which direction I’m going.
WWD – I noticed you went camping this weekend – in the middle of a Canadian winter! How does the beautiful access to the outdoors in this area, no matter the season, benefit your creativity?
Monarke – Oh it really inspires me – I’m really connected to nature, I need to connect all the time. This year, with so much time, I’ve taken many opportunities to discover the stunning Quebec wildlife and natural land. I believe there is no ‘best season’, but only great moments to enjoy nature; even in the heart of our Canadian winter. It clears my mind and my soul, and gives me open roads to creativity.
WWD – Quebec has an incredibly strong electronic scene. How important have the local communities been to your journey in music thus far?
Monarke – I believe it connects with the city and the people. Quebec has really open minded people, with diverse taste. Techno is still a really underground perception here, but people emerge from this culture with open arms.
WWD – Huge congratulations on the release of Edge of Reality! We’re really stoked to have you on board XYZ 🙂 How is this project unique compared to your other releases?
Monarke – Yes it’s a really different EP from my previous work. I believe the current mood we all have, staying home, listening to music; we have lots of time to think with this kind of chill vibe. But honestly, I’m about melodies and emotions. For me, an EP is like a book or a short story, and this is what I try to create in every project. I really like this one, as there is so much contrast but keeping the Monarke signature.
WWD – What was it like to work with Jessica, formerly of Underher, on vocals?
Monarke – Jessica is an amazing person, We’ve never met but we exchange a lot of messages, and she’s really nice to work with. She knows exactly what fits for the tracks, She’s really professional, and we had lots of back and forth on Otherside – it took almost a year to come together and we’re very happy with how it’s sounding.
WWD – You touch on many different aspects of electronic music in this EP – how would you describe your current sound?
Monarke – Good Question! I’m not attached to a specific vibe of genres. I listen to all different styles. I live with music all day – music surrounds me. When it comes to production, it’s definitely about melodies and emotions. It needs to hook me with something, a sound you know. I will say my current sound is melodic techno, definitely. But in my mind, Ethereal is the right genre.
WWD – Steyoyoke has been a big part of your journey. Tell us about how you came together with Soul Button, and what the label means to you.
Monarke – Yes, Steyoyoke is a big part of my Monarke project, and will always be. Steyoyoke is Home. I’m very connected with the artist, and I’m involved in many projects from the label, album, merch etc. So we work as a team, as friends, as professionals. That’s what i like with Chris (Soul Button), we take decisions all together and that’s the spirit of the label I believe. I’ve release so much music in this small amount of time with Steyoyoke. I’m really motivated to develop Monarke’s signature sound, and the label keeps pushing me. I’m grateful for that.
WWD – What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2021?
Monarke – Making quality music, and fingers crossed, to play my music in front of a crowd!
WWD – Any exciting projects you can clue us in on?
Monarke – Mmm… Album? Maybe… we will see.
WWD – Fabrice, thanks again for everything! Cheers on the big release 🙂
Monarke – Thanks guys for the opportunity and everything!
Monarke – Edge of Reality EP [XYZ029]
Release Date – 02.12.21
Stream – https://xyzlabel.lnk.to/EdgeofReality