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About Mono Band

Noel Hogan's Mono Band came about by accident. The project's origins lie in the discussions The Cranberries began as they planned a new album.

I had an idea to take the songs in a different direction,” Noel recalls. “For a long while I'd been listening to people like Beck and Moby and wondering how to incorporate the electronic side of things into my own writing. We'd done the guitar-drums line-up on five albums and it was time to introduce something else.

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The Mono Band Story

Alexandra HamnedeAlexandra HamnedeFin ChambersFin Chambers

Noel Hogan's Mono Band came about by accident. The project's origins lie in the discussions The Cranberries began as they planned a new album. “I had an idea to take the songs in a different direction,” Noel recalls. “For a long while I'd been listening to people like Beck and Moby and wondering how to incorporate the electronic side of things into my own writing. We'd done the guitar-drums line-up on five albums and it was time to introduce something else.

The first step came when Noel cut two tracks with programmer Matt Vaughan (Alabama 3/XTC). “They sounded very different from anything The Cranberries had done before and I was really excited about the potential direction in which the band could go”, he says.

In the end The Cranberries decided to put the next album on hold. After more than dozen years of relentless touring and promotion which had seen them clock up album sales in excess of 40 million and play to hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe, the band decided it was time for a break. But Noel, who co-wrote such instantly recognizable hits as Dreams and Linger for the group, had new songs that simply wouldn't wait around.

I continued down the road I'd started with Matt and the Mono Band album is the result. It wasn't really planned as a solo album at all. But the break allowed me to work full-time on it and everything happened in a very organic way.

Noel HoganNoel HoganMono Band Album CoverRichard Walters

Programming With Matt Vaughan

Programming was a new world to Noel, but the tracks he had cut with Matt Vaughan had excited his imagination. “Being a guitar player, computers had always scared me”, he admits, “But the great thing about Matt was that he wasn't just 'techy'. He was musical with it as well. He didn't dazzle you with science. He taught me how to use the programmes and the next logical step was to buy a computer and build a studio at home. I couldn't have done the record without Matt and he was very generous and he taught me what to do. But it took making the record to a different level when I could do it on my own.

Alexandra HamnedeAlexandra HamnedeFin ChambersFin Chambers

Noel is the first to admit it was a steep learning curve and that he initially found working alone daunting. “I'd grown very comfortable working with the band and initially I found being solo nerve-wracking. There was nowhere to hide and nobody there to reassure me when the doubts crept in,” he confesses. “But at the same time it was exciting, too. There was something very liberating about being in my own little studio rather than a formal band environment.

The Mono Band Sound Emerges

As he developed a new way of working a new sound emerged too. “Of course on one level there's a similarity with what I've done before because they're still my songs. But it feels like there's a freshness to them. There are things I probably would have done before if I'd been on my own rather than with the band.” Several of the songs were written in conventional style on guitar. But Noel also began to write drum and rhythm tracks, building up songs in the studio. “That was a completely new way of working for me and I embraced it. I was experimenting in a way that opened up all kinds of new possibilities”, he says.

I'm not a singer at all and I decided rather than just feature one voice as in the Cranberries, I'd use different voices.” After Hogan had developed half a dozen tracks, he began to look around for singers.

Noel HoganNoel HoganMono Band Album CoverRichard Walters

The Mono Band Voices

Those whose voices impressed him would be sent a song or two to try out. “It wasn't so much a recruitment process as me randomly coming across singers I liked and asking them to come on board,” Noel explains. “They're more collaborators than featured vocalists because although I did all the music, the rest was down to them. It was really interesting to see what people would come up with.

Alexandra HamnedeAlexandra HamnedeFin ChambersFin Chambers

Alexandra Hamnede, Kate Havnevik, Richard Walters

After all those years working with The Cranberries, it's hardly surprising that Noel's writing seems particularly to suit the female voice. Among those heard on the Mono Band album are the Swedish singer Alexandra Hamnede, who graces three tracks, with Kate Havnevik and Angie Hart also appearing. But there are male voices too, including Richard Walters guesting on three tracks and French singer Nicolas Leroux and Fin Chambers from Irish band Woodstar appearing on one track each.

Stephen Street, Marius De Vries

Although most of the album was produced by Noel, he handed over the vocal production to Stephen Street who had worked with Noel and The Cranberries on several of their albums over the years. On the instrumental Brighter Sky Noel enlisted the help of Marius DeVries for remix duties. Marius is most known for his work with Massive Attack, U2 and Björk as well as his soundtracks for movies such as Moulin Rouge and Golden Eye. The Mono Band's eponymous debut album was released in early 2005.

“Alternative rock, Electronic from Noel Hogan of the Cranberries. Finding something different to celebrate in each varied sonic world they inhabit. Carving out a small universe with each track.” - CD Baby

Noel HoganNoel HoganMono Band Album CoverRichard Walters

Mono Band Press

“With any arty/experimental indulgences being reined in by Hogan's deft knack with a melody line, there's much to absorb and intrigue here as the layers of sound combine to produce resonant new music . . . Surprising and very rewarding - side projects aren't supposed to be as good as this.” - Irish Times, May 20, 2005

“The combination of sound and lyrics ensure that these songs really get under your skin, so much so that you'll find yourself putting the CD on repeat. Yes, it's that good.” - rte.ie, May 20, 2005

Mono Band Artists Info

Alex Hamnede

Alexandra Hamnede

Alexandra Hamnede is a Swedish singer/songwriter and member of ambient band Bliss. Her many musical collaborations include recording with producer Jeff Bennett and Swedish House group Physics, whose album First Flight was nominated Best House Act at the 2004 Swedish Grammy Awards. Alex is a graduate of Sweden's Malmöe Academy of Music, where she studied for five years. When not performing or recording Alex still finds time to work as a vocal coach/teacher.

Richard Walters

Richard Walters

Originally from Oxford and currently resident in Paris, singer/songwriter Richard Walters released his critically acclaimed debut solo EP Umbrella Songs in 2004. The 2007 follow-up Pilotlights featured tracks produced by Guy Sigsworth (Björk, Madonna, Alanis Morissette) and David Kosten (Ben Christophers). Richard has completed a new album for release in 2009 with a new single Brittle Bones, which featured in the Phillip Pullman movie The Butterfly Tattoo. Richard has toured with Dave Matthews, Grant Lee Phillips, Imogen Heap, Gemma Hayes and Supergrass and also co-collaborates with Noel Hogan on Arkitekt.

Kate Havnevik

Kate Havnevik

Kate Havnevik is a Norwegian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Her debut album, the trip-hop and electronica infused Melankton, was released in March 2006. In addition to her collaboration with Mono Band, Kate Havnevik has also worked with artists such as Moby and Röyksopp, and with producers Guy Sigsworth and Marius De Vries (David Gray, Björk). Kate is currently finishing her second album, due to be released early 2009 and has already started recording her third album - an acoustic project - entitled Embla on which Kate has worked with the harpist Rhodri Davies, vibraphonist Orphy Robinson and Lamb bassist Jon Thorne.

Nicolas Leroux

Nicolas Leroux

Nicolas Leroux is lead singer and a founding member of French jazz-rock band Overhead. After two successful albums with his band, Silent Witness (2002) and No Time Between (2004), Nicolas has devoted much of the last three years to a solo project the fruits of which are his new album Stone Age. For this solo recording Nicolas has adopted the name The Fuguitive Kind. Stone Age is out now.

Fin Chambers

Fin Chambers

Irish Singer/Songwriter Fin Chambers is a Limerick native and former lead singer with Irish band Woodstar. Woodstar released their debute EP for Parlophone in 2001. This release was followed by an album Life Sparks, produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, The Cranberries, Blur) and mixed by Richard Rainey (U2). Life Sparks was released in 2003 on Wet Clay Records. Fin is currently working on a new solo material.

Angie Hart

Angie Hart

Angie Hart is best known for her role as lead vocalist and founding member of Australian band Frente! Angie is also a member of Holidays On Ice, a project by Dean Manning (Leonardo's Bride) and Naomi Radom (Coda, Pony Club Massacre). Angie's debut solo album Grounded Bird was released in September 2007 and her new album is scheduled for release September 2009.

Marius de Vries

Marius de Vries

A five-times Grammy nominated composer and producer, Marius de Vries began his musical career as keyboardist for 80's band, The Blow Monkeys. During the late 80's de Vries was one of the UK's most in-demand session keyboard-players/programmers and up-and-coming producers, working with Annie Lennox, The Sugarcubes, Brian Eno and U2. He has contributed to Madonna's Bedtime Stories and Ray of Light albums; produced for David Gray, The Cranberries, Elbow and Josh Groban and is a long time collaborator with Björk and Massive Attack.

De Vries was the Music Director on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge! and worked with Nellee Hooper on the film soundtrack for Romeo and Juliet, as co-composer, programmer and co-producer. Both of these projects won de Vries BAFTA awards and de Vries was awarded an Ivor Novello Award for his work on Moulin Rouge!. In 2008 de Vries created an hour-long modern dance work with choreographer Rafael Bonachela entitled SquareMap of Q4 which premiered at the South Bank in London.

Soname Yangchen

Soname Yangchen

Tibetan singer Soname Yangcheng's story has been remarkable. Born into childhood slavery in Tibet, she escaped in 1989 and trekked across the Himalayas to Nepal, eventually settling in England where she has built a sucessful career in the music industry, performing with acts such as the Asian Dub Foundation and Zero 7. In 2004 Soname performed with members of The Sugarcubes to sold-out theatres in Iceland, and in 2006 released a CD of original compositions originally recorded in 2000, entitled Unforgettable Land. Soname's autobiography Child of Tibet was also published in 2006.

Noel Hogan

Noel Hogan

Noel Hogan is guitarist and co-songwriter with The Cranberries, one of the most successful rock acts of the 1990s, selling over 40 million albums worldwide. The band rose to international fame with their album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, the first of five studio albums. In 2003, shortly after the release of their sixth album, a greatest-hits collection, Stars: The Best of 1992-2002 the Cranberries announced they were taking some time to pursue individual careers. Noel Hogan then started work on a new solo project, Mono Band, whose first full-length self-titled album was released in 2005.

 

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