Dave Monks On His Solo Project

Frontman of Ontario based band Tokyo Police Club, Dave Monks decided riding solo was something that’s been on his mind for a while. Channeling his alter-ego and playing a more stripped down version of his usual TPC songs, his debut EP “All Signs Point to Yes” sound so simple, yet well constructed with his delicate voice and deep lyrics. It’s no doubt that you’ll fall in love with it if you’ve been a TPC fan from the start. Dave wants to keep his solo project a sanctuary where he can create the song in a natural way, pouring his feelings out however they come out. With less people involved in his song-writing process, he gets to do that. It’s sort of a playground where he can do whatever he wants and I was lucky enough to speak with Dave and tap into that sanctuary a bit.

How/when did you decide that you wanted to go solo?

I just moved to Brooklyn and I was away from my band for the first time. I was writing songs, like always. It was so different, to kind of forget about the Tokyo [Police Club] world and do my own songs.

Yea, I had heard you moved to Brooklyn. Why is that?

My girlfriend’s here and I just finished recording Forcefield in Toronto and I was like “get me out of here!” and wanted to do something different. 

So do you feel like you fit in the Brooklyn music scene?

No, I don’t feel like I’m part of it. There’s a lot of great people working in music in New York and I’ve worked with a lot of great people, but I haven’t ventured in the Brooklyn music scene so much.

Have you discovered any cool bands around here?

This is brutal, I wish I’d been to more shows recently! The one Brooklyn band that I think rocks is Honduras. And also Fort Lean, they opened for one of my shows recently.

Your solo music sounds pretty honest and raw, and your EP cover reflects the simplicity of that. Is that the message you were going for?

I guess I wanted to establish myself as a dude and a character. There’s more dimension to my personality than what you get in a Tokyo Police Club record sometimes. And I wanted to put that out there and to talk about the things and the record. I wanted to explore that territory. Im glad I got it out the door.

Your video for Gasoline was pretty simple too. What was your initial vision for that?

I was talking to Chris who took my album photo, and I was like “lets do the video.” We had actually done a video for the ‘Rules’ already, and that was fun and really went well. We did a whole bunch of vignette montage kind of stuff. I was like “dude, actually ‘Gasoline’’s going to be the first song. Can we do a video for that too?” and he was like yeah, sure. To be honest, we didn’t have any ideas for it. Well, we had no money and we cant do much, so I was like “why don’t we just sing the song?” There’s this video – you know the song “Raft” by The Walken? Oh man that is such a jam. That song had a video that I saw as a kid which was just the band playing, and I thought it was really cool. And so we did it. It’s weird, it took on its own life. It’s not boring. It’s intense, because it’s just my face and the song.

Dave Monks Cover


How was touring by yourself for the first time without the band?

It was weird. There were a lot of positive sides to it, and there were also negative sides to it. When I was making the music for the record it was great having new people, new perspective, and different kinds of strengths. Touring was totally different. Guys are there to 100% to support your vision. I was really in charge. Whether it was the song or even choosing somewhere to go for dinner outside of town or something. I did everything, you know? It was kind of wild. The shows were really fun, people were able to read my body language still and kind of pick up on everything. The Tokyo (Police Club) thing- everything’s more instinctual. It’s like we don’t even think about it as long as it’s rolling.

How did the first show go?

I was nervous for the first show. I didn’t know what the fuck was going to happen. I literally thought I might just crumble and die. I was like “what? Is this even going to work?” It was a totally different show. It was a show where all the words matter where people listen to the words of the song. It doesn’t matter if it sounds like the record exactly, and it was like I was hanging out with the crowd every night having a big conversation with them.