Monoculture
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Monoculture

Dallas, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Dallas, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Psychedelic

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"Send Your Ears Into Orbit with Psychedelic Indie Band Monoculture's Latest Release"

Here’s a little something to melt your ears. Monoculture’s heady mix of psychedelic, indie, jazz, and math rock ought to come with a masters in music theory. But despite the mind-altering complexity, the band keeps it grounded with a tempting groove and Olan Mijana’s plaintive vocals. And then the mathy breakdown kicks in and it all goes into orbit.

The full album ‘Blueprint for Dysfunction’ dropped today. Check it out: - Afropunk


"Dallas Psych-Rockers Monoculture Kick Off May With Their Annual Paisley Maze Music Festival"

It’s been a little quiet this year for Dallas psych-rockers Monoculture. Aside from a show here or there, we really haven’t heard much — until today that is.

Tuesday, Monoculture announced the lineup for their annual Paisley Maze music festival going down May 26 at the Deep Ellum Art Company.

Monoculture began a few years back when long-time friends Olan Mijana and Nick Leibold completed a four-track demo while living 300 miles apart. That demo laid the foundation for the band’s 2016 release, Heavier Daze.

Two years later, the band is set to release their second album, Blueprint for Dysfunction, on May 11 — this time as a four-piece band with Jason Trevino on bass and John Valentine on keys.

Heavier Daze saw the band taking a more eclectic approach to psychedelic rock, with a sound that was more often reminiscent of '90s grunge pioneers the Meat Puppets — especially on the album’s title track. A bluesier, folksier album, Heavier Daze feels more appropriate for a lonely weeknight visit to dive bar than it does for a room laden with lava lamps and blacklight posters.

Things have certainly evolved with Blueprint for Dysfunction, which Mijana describes as a concept album “about identifying the ego’s manifestation in everything.”

This is an album that has much more in common with Sgt. Pepper’s than it does with Too High to Die, which can be heard in the swirling sounds of the album’s first proper track “Get Lost.”

Other tracks, like “Life Goes By” (available on the band’s SoundCloud) showcase Monoculture’s musical development over the past few years where Valentine’s keyboarding skills stand out in a cosmic spiral with Mijana’s ethereal flute.

Their lyrical development shines through on “Bad Faith,” on which Valentine takes over vocal duties for Mijana, crystallizing the concept of the struggle to grapple with a negative reality that holds us back while we constantly strive to move forward and see things in the most positive light we can.

Blueprint for Dysfunction’s mostly instrumental title track is a medley of all the songs on the album that slowly digresses into the worried panicked line, “Be afraid to see a way that’s not what you know is real,” which is the real key to unlocking the puzzle the album presents its listeners.

In celebration of the album’s release, Monoculture will host a release show May 11 at Club Dada with Dallas’ favorite dance-punkers Sub-Sahara and suburban psych-poppers Native Fox. The Club Dada show also marks the kickoff of the band’s Midwestern tour, which will see the band spreading their joyful noise across nine states in just 13 days.

And, it is upon the band’s triumphant return to Dallas, that we will be blessed with an all-star psych line-up at the Deep Ellum Art Company for Paisley Maze, which will feature nine bands, each bringing its own brand of psychedelia to the stage.

Aside from Monoculture, the lineup is as follows:

Same Brain – Garage psych from Fort Worth, TX.
Helen Kelter Skelter – Psychedelic folk rock from Norman, OK.
Native Fox - Psych-poppers from Garland, TX.
Kwinton Gray Project – Jazz-inspired psych from Dallas, TX.
Rotten Mangos – Lo-Fi Psych from Austin, TX.
Trái B? – Funk-psych from Dallas, TX.
Annabelle Chairlegs – Psych-Rock from Austin, TX.
Midnight Opera – Dark psych from Dallas, TX. - Dallas Observer


"North Texas Freaks Out for Psychedelic Rock"

A group of young bands, including Pearl Earl and Monoculture, is bringing psychedelia back to North Texas's music scene.

Music genres ebb and flow in popularity in North Texas, much like anywhere else, as styles change and bands come and go. For example: five years ago, folk was king, and clubs were full of beards and banjos. But now psychedelic rock is ascendant, steadily gaining momentum, mirroring a national and international trend.

“Music itself, especially rock and roll, tends to go in what seems like 10- to 15-year cycles,” says Jeff Brown, who runs King Camel Productions, which is responsible for booking the majority of local psych shows. He says the number of psych bands in the area has tripled in the last five years. To name just a few: Acid Carousel and Monoculture in Dallas; Pearl Earl, Sunbuzzed, and Mother Tongues in Denton; Native Fox in Garland.

To meet the increased demand, psych festivals have started to appear regularly around North Texas. In July, the two-day Acid Koolaid Festival debuted in Denton. Before that, in June, Paisley Maze popped up at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. Paisley Maze’s creation was inspired by the void left by a much larger psych festival—Levitation in Austin. Originally the Austin Psych Fest, it was canceled in 2016 due to weather and again in 2017 for reorganization.

Brown thinks it’s mostly young bands that are pushing for a psych comeback, and his theory has some weight. Olan Mijana, the frontman of Monoculture, organized Paisley Maze with his bandmates; he’s only 24. (Full disclosure: Mijana’s bandmate, drummer Nick Leibold, works for D Magazine as a graphic designer.) And one of the most talented area psych groups is Acid Carousel. At 19 and 21, respectively, the band’s founders, Gus Baldwin and John Kuzmick, are precocious musicians holding their own alongside older and more experienced bands.

“There’s a rebel spirit to psych music,” Brown says. “It feels like a safe space where you’re allowed to push boundaries and explore new things. There’s a comfort in that. It helps unite a lot of people. If you have a certain type of music that advertises openness, togetherness, and new ideas, especially with the youth, that’s a recipe for a win.”

Ariel Hartley, 26, moonlights on vocals in Acid Carousel from time to time, but her main outfit is Pearl Earl, the all-female psych band she started three years ago. A graduate of the University of North Texas and a Denton resident, Hartley acknowledges that psychedelia has long been tied to drug culture, but says that’s not the point of the music.

“For people in my generation, psych music is a nostalgia thing and an evolving thing; it’s pretty timeless,” she says. “When people think of psychedelia, they think of the ’60s, but it goes back to the ’50s and up through the ’80s, ’90s, 2000s. There are different takes on a certain idea and the lifestyle. It’s music that makes you feel a little trippy. I know for me, it’s the mindset and the messages in it—creating a headspace that feels otherworldly, that draws on the past and future, and reflection.” - D Magazine


""Life Goes By" by Monoculture"

Today's feel good song is "Life Goes By" by Dallas quartet Monoculture. Consisting of Olan Mijana, Nick Leibold, Jason Trevino, and John Valentine, the band plays upbeat psychedelic rock with jazz touches. Groove to the flute in their new single. You can hear additional songs at the band's webpage, but note that "Life Goes By" is out today via your favorite digital outlet. - When You Motor Away


"With Levitation Suspended This Year, Monoculture Step Up to Create Dallas' Own Psych Festival"

Monoculture drew a small crowd the first time they ever took the stage two years ago, playing mostly to family and friends at The Door. But for the Dallas-based psychedelic rock band, the size of the audience didn’t matter. They were just grateful to be playing.


“Psychedelic rock is essentially just pushing the limits of rock music,” Monoculture drummer Nick Leibold says. “It's about finding different combinations of melody and rhythm that are unheard of, or new and different. It’s the way a surrealist painter might illustrate a normal animal, but with twice as many legs or it's a different color that you're not used to seeing it as. Psych rock artists are doing the same thing with music that is based in rock.”

Last week Monoculture played in front of a few hundred people at Trees, opening for psych rock legends the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

“It was a pretty huge honor to not only play on a stage that we've seen some of our favorite acts play on, but to open for and hang out with a band that's such an influence of mine,” Monoculture frontman Olan Mijina says. “Not to mention Anton [Newcombe] and the crew were really genuine people willing to share advice and give us guidance on how to continue.”

Monoculture is composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Mijana, drummer Leibold, keyboardist John Valentine and bassist Jason Trevino. Since their start, they’ve played at venues across the DFW area as well as shows in Austin and Houston. The band’s rapid growth is in some ways representative of psych rock’s ever-growing music scene in Dallas.

“Whether or not it's popular is irrelevant to us,” Mijana says. "I can't answer with accuracy whether or not psychedelic music is popular because my view of music is so warped to the type of music I listen to. All I can suggest is that maybe psychedelic is more of a buzzword now than it has ever been.”

When Mijana found out that the Austin psych rock festival Levitation is taking a year off in 2017, after it was canceled due to weather last year, he began toying with the idea of Monoculture hosting the first ever psych music festival in Dallas.

Psych rock’s increasing popularity in DFW, along with the void left by Levitation, seemed like the perfect recipe to start a festival in Dallas. As Monoculture began discussing the idea in depth, they realized how feasible it was.

Monoculture opening for Brian Jonestown Massacre at Trees.EXPAND
Monoculture opening for Brian Jonestown Massacre at Trees.
Ellie Alonzo
“We love psychedelic rock, new and old, and we love our city,” Mijana says. “We've seen lots of great local psych bands and thought we should create something to elevate them. In the process, we hope to create an identity and sense of belonging in this community.”

The music festival is dubbed Paisley Maze and will take place on June 3 at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. Joining Monoculture are Acid Carousel, Native Fox, Natural Anthem and Sunbuzzed. And the event won’t just feature music. Efgen Mijana is curating a selection of art from local DFW artists as well. Their work will be on display in a gallery format.

“With Levitation canceled this year, maybe that might entice people who want their psychedelic fix,” Mijana says. “We can't promise the big names. All we can promise is a good show with fun, diverse talent at a great venue in Dada.” - Dallas Observer


"Brian Jonestown Massacre Show Was Unvarnished, and That's What Made It Interesting"

Before the Brian Jonestown Massacre took the stage Thursday night at Trees in Deep Ellum, Olan Mijana, the lead singer and lead guitar of Monoculture, asked Newcombe how he felt about his band’s next show this weekend in Mexico City for Festival Nrmal 2017.

Newcombe told Mijana, “Well, how the fuck am I supposed to know?”

Monoculture warmed up the crowd for the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Dallas psych rock band played a 30-minute set that paired perfectly with the sounds of the night’s headliner and set the mood for the evening. - Dallas Observer


"Buzz Rankings: 3/23 (#29 in DFW)"

There are many big shows in town this weekend, and many bands getting high-profile mentions in national publications, so the act that tops our weekly, local music power rankings this week may come as a slight shock to some of you out there.

Unless, that is, you’ve been paying attention.

Last week, the Texas Gentlemen played approximately one million sets at SXSW, backing various singers as they did. Their two most high-profile gigs, though, were their showing at Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion, where they backed Rays Benson and Wylie Hubbard, and Paul Cauthen. Then, the next day, they took over Arlyn Studios for a party where they played with various acts all day long — including behind Cauthen once again, and a set of originals all by their lonesome. They’ll once again back Cauthen at this weekend’s Toyota Texas Music Revolution in Plano, too.

So, yeah, their second-ever time topping the rankings was hard-earned and much-deserved, indeed.

Joining the Gents at TTMR are a ton of other locals, including Kacey Musgraves, Zane Williams, Eleven Hundred Springs, The O’s, Red Shahan, Buffalo Ruckus, Max Stalling, Castro and (full disclosure, my own band) the Vandoliers.

Other big shows this week include Demi Lovato’s American Heart Association fundraiser at AT&T Stadium, -topic’s “last-ever” show as a Dallasite, the Forever the Sickest Kids reunion at Prophet Bar as part of the So What?! Music Fest, the Power Trip album release at that same fest and Maren Morris’ headlining turn at House of Blues tonight.

In other news of the week, Don Henley announced a 70th birthday party in Dallas, and the Old 97’s played Conan without their drummer, who was in a freak accident.

Elsewhere: BNQT made its live debut at SXSW and released a new recorded song; Charley Pride is doing the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me thing tonight; and Jesus Chris + The Beetles got some NPR love. - Central Track


"The Texas Gentlemen’s Legend Grows, Dallas Gets Its First Psych Fest, -topic Temporarily Peaces Out, Pueblo Releases Its First Video and The Old 97’s’ Drummer Is Laid Up."

Speaking of Austin festivals: Unlike South By, one of Austin’s other long-running fests, the psych-oriented Levitation won’t be returning. Ever at the ready to take up some of the slack, Dallas psych band Monoculture will throw what it’s calling “DFW’s first-ever psychedelic music festival.” Dubbed Paisley Maze, the June 3 fest will find other members of the burgeoning local psych scene — Acid Carousel, Native Fox, Natural Anthem and Sunbuzzed — performing at Dada as well. Additionally, several visual artists will display their works in a gallery format. Tickets are currently available here for $10. - Central Track


"Buzz Rankings: 6/15"

(Also receiving votes: IQmuzik, Summer Dean, Henry The Archer, Lord Byron, Herrick & Hooley, Mystery Skulls, Sealion, Siamese, SoMo, Cure for Paranoia, M3cca, Medicine Man Revival, Elijah Heaps, Liz Rose, Jerrod Medulla, Deryl Dodd, Jason Eady, Dalton Domino, The Unlikely Candidates, War Party, Son of Stan, Reagan James, Bulls, Mean Motor Scooter, Matt Tedder, Brandon Marcel, YBTMG, Gensu Dean, Siberian Traps, Larry Legion, Children of Indigo, Chucho, Monoculture, Brave Combo, Dear Rachel, Zane Williams, The Angelus, Ronnie Heart, The Cush and Sub-Sahara.) - Central Track


"Buzz Rankings: 8/17"

(Also receiving votes: Jacob Parra, Sarah Jaffe, Alex Harris, Nite, Abraham Alexander, Rikki Blu, Roy Robertson, Tyesha Chaunte, Francine Thirteen, Nate V, Evan Borns, CardiacTheGhost, BooGotti Kasino, Monoculture, Koolquise, Becky Middleton, From Parts Unknown, Stealers, Def Rain, Talkie Walkie, Darth Vato, Felt & Fur, Royal Sons, Caterpillars, Bad Blood and Children of Indigo.) - Central Track


"Artist Music Minute"

Tonight, make sure you swing by the Swan Dive, 615 Red River, to check out Buenos Diaz at 10 p.m. It’s a damn fine round of rock ‘n’ roll with Dallas psych-rockers Monoculture, Austin psych/blues rock outfit Coattails, and Fort Worth band Shadows of Jets also on the bill. - KUTX.org


"Buzz Rankings: 6/22"

(Also receiving votes this week: kirtsin™, Steve Gnash, Vegan Shark, Monoculture, Secrecies, Felt & Fur, Classy Affair, Lu Sloan, Responsible Johnny, Rakin Al-Jabbaar, Drakulas, Majik Taylor, The News Can Wait, Mega Drive, Lucky Peterson, Bad Sports, TYE, Wrex, House of Reveries and Loafers.) - Central Track


"Static Somewhere: The Best of the Week"

Satellite Bar will have the trippy psych sounds of Houston’s Disfrutalo over for a live show. These guys are a trip to see live and their album Disfrutalo! was produced by the late Ikey Owens and it’s a trip. Mojave Red will bring their bluesy psych sound on as direct support while the spacey sounds of Dallas’ Monoculture will go on beforehand. The insane psych sounds of Bernie Pink will open the 18 and up show with a $10 cover and doors at 8 pm. - Houston Free Press


"GET LEARNT: HERE’S WHO IS PLAYING LOCAL EDUCATION FEST III."

Announcing The Lineup Of King Camel’s Third Annual Local Education Fest.

If they were handing out grades to the biggest supporters of local music in town, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone coming up with higher marks than Jeffrey Brown. For almost four years now, Brown’s been booking concerts under his King Camel Productions brand, which really began building a name for itself with its Local Education series of regular, all-local bills at Three Links.

Those shows have since given way to bookings all over town at places like Armoury D.E., Crown & Harp (RIP) and Double Wide, among other spaces. But his signature event remains the now-annual Local Education Fest blowout.

And that celebration of all things local returns for a third year on Saturday, June 17, with a lineup just announced today.

Performing on two stages at Three Links will be margarita punks Sealion, the best new band in town Siamese, psych rockers Monoculture, young post-punkers Sub-Sahara, dark-wavers Aztec Death, industrial noisemakers Mother II, funeral poppers BATHHØUSE and shoegazy teen sensations Rosegarden Funeral Party. It’s a diverse lineup that falls in line with the Camel’s signature over the years.

“I kept seeing the same locals playing with the same bands all the time,” Brown says. “Although personally fun, I did not feel this was the best way to help grow our local music community. Mixing up genres, immersing in different angles of music all in one night just seemed to make complete sense if done properly. That’s one of the areas that has seen the biggest changes since we started — the quality and attention to fun has increased due to the mixing of artists with different backgrounds, but with similar passion.”

And as the bands he books move on to bigger and bigger stages in town or head out on tour, Brown’s always ready with another worthwhile local discovery or the next big thing — and long before they’d have otherwise popped up on most folks’ radar. That’s another aspect that holds true on this festival bill, where bigger draws like Sealion, or acts that have received a decent amount of radio play like Siamese, will share the stage with bands like Rosegarden Funeral Party, whose members can’t legally drink yet, or Mother II, which typically sticks to experimental friendly spots like the room behind the screen at Texas Theatre.

“As for seeking out new bands, that’s just a drug of personal preference,” Brown says. “To me, finding about a new kickass local band is like getting a shot in the arm. It’s a huge thrill and I get excited about the possibilities I have with the new artist I can work with. Every new band I can help establish is one more piece of art that our cities patrons get to enjoy. Thus enhancing, small or large, the betterment of life for our town and art communities.”

Adds Brown: “Local Education Fest is a celebration of just that.” - Central Track


"World Unglued: The Best of the Week"

Notsuoh has the psych rock of Dallas’ Monoculture over to perform. The four piece plays songs that teeter totter between college indie rock and psych, and their latest single “Absurd” sounds pretty tight. The high energy of LA’s No Parents will provide their good time punk while The Prettybads will also swing by to play their brand of punk. The indie rock of Since Always will open the 21 & up show with doors at 7 pm for the 100% FREE show. - Free Press Houston


"Buzz Rankings: 3/16/17"

Each week, we take a survey of the local music scene and try to determine which acts in town are really putting in work and seeing it pay off. Which bands have the most intriguing shows coming up? Which bands are getting the most press around town? Which bands have accomplished the most notable feats of late? Based off these criteria, our music writers submit a list to be weighted and compiled into a master list revealed each week in this here space. We like to think it’s fairly revealing. Check out our previous Buzz Rankings here.

The 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards haven’t even happened yet — they won’t until April 2 — but the Arlington-sprung is already heading into that awards show as a winner.

No, really: For whatever reason, the ACM Awards announce their “new artist” winners before the ceremony takes place, and Morris has already been deemed its “New Female Vocalist” honoree. Of course, come the completion of the ceremony itself, she could walk away with more hardware, as she’s also up for awards in five other categories at the damn thing.

Anyway, it’s been that kind of year for sure for Yung Maren. And, in turn, she’s taking home the top honors in our weekly Dallas-area music power rankings, too. It’s her 14th over No. 1.

Just behind Morris this week is the Old 97’s, who played Conan this week with some help from Caitlin Rose but without their drummer Philip Peeples who made the trip but took a nasty spill shortly after arriving in Los Angeles for the taping. No matter: Conan O’Brien still enthusiastically received the performance, gushing hard on guitarist Ken Bethea’s guitar tone upon the completion of the band’s playing new single “Good With God”.

The Unlikely Candidates, meanwhile, continue pushing their new album with some nice gigs, including stops at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Concert and at South by Southwest. Dallas emcee G.U.N., on the other hand, is celebrating the release of a new collaborative EP with Atlanta shout-rapper OG Maco. And T.Y.E. continued to impress us this week with the release of his latest music video. Seriously, we can’t wait to hear his album when it drops this summer.

Speaking of new material, Power Trip is still riding high of the release of its new album, as fellow local heavyweights Mothership gear up to drop their new one tomorrow and OG heshers Warbeast are also prepping a new one to drop soon.

Elsewhere: Drummer Dave Abbruzzese finally got the public recognition he’s been seeking from his old Pearl Jam bandmates, who’ve invited him to come along to their Rock Hall induction; Jesus Chris + The Beetles look like they’re finally getting the love they deserve as various local outlets have started to take notice of their new album this week; and SXSW continues its years-long in-joke of booking legitimately bad Fort Worth band Complete to play its fest. - Central Track


"Buzz Rankings: 3/9"

Each week, we take a survey of the local music scene and try to determine which acts in town are really putting in work and seeing it pay off. Which bands have the most intriguing shows coming up? Which bands are getting the most press around town? Which bands have accomplished the most notable feats of late? Based off these criteria, our music writers submit a list to be weighted and compiled into a master list revealed each week in this here space. We like to think it’s fairly revealing. Check out our previous Buzz Rankings here.

Last weekend, still kinda sorta newish Dallas band Siamese released its debut album. It’ll surely go down as one of the year’s better local releases.

Just as important with a band like Siamese, though, is the careful thought and planning that goes into the project. With them, costumes, makeup, choreography, set design and the like are just as important as the music itself, which the band took to even greater heights with its Saturday show at the Texas Theatre.

The extra effort paid off, too, earning the band its first-ever trip to the top of our weekly, local music power rankings.

At the other end of the spectrum, the band in the No. 2 hole is anything but new. Aside from gearing up for its first show in 20 years, Tripping Daisy made a couple more announces today, including the fact that they’ll be adding some more Texas shows to their docket this summer. Oh, we also got the inside scoop on the band’s 2017 lineup.

Down the list, Scott Copeland has had a whirlwind of a month, which ended with him going to prison on Monday. It’s worth reading up on, to be sure.

Also, like Siamese before it, The Angelus has an album release show at Texas Theatre this weekend. Also, for what it’s worth, Jesus Chris + the Beetles will release its sophomore record at a house show tonight.

Other big shows this week include The Unlikely Candidates and Sealion playing the big St. Patrick’s Day parade after-party at Energy Square this Saturday. Meanwhile, Dead Flowers, Medicine Man and Vegan Shark are but a few of the bands celebrating Three Links’ four-year anniversary this weekend. And Northern National is headlining The Prophet Bar this weekend, too.

Elsewhere: Mo3 signed to Epic; Mad Flava is reuniting; Sudie and Rob Viktum put out new videos; and R&B singer Demarcus “X-Man” Washington was killed.

(Also receiving votes: Christy Ray, Paul Cauthen, -topic, Blake Ward, Felt & Fur, Kissed Killed, Ish D, Pueblo, Ty Richards, Monoculture, Mayta, Supersonic Lips, Quaker City Night Hawks, Terrence Spectacle, Dezi 5, Pat Ron, Junk Food, Go Yayo, Little Beards, Jesus Chris + The Beetles, Dylan Bishop, Mattie Michelle, Obstruction, G.U.N., Wesley Jensen, Dear Rachel, iill, Pantera, Loafers, The Outfit, TX, Recent Rumors and Garrett Owen.) - Central Track


"#AMDFW Featured Artist: Monoculture"

Meet The Band
Monoculture is a Dallas-based self-described psych rock four-piece. Olan (Guitar and Vocals) and Nick (Percussion), the band’s founders, became friends and kindred spirits in music in a Richardson Texas Junior High School. Later they collaborated on a four-track demo that became the impetus for Monoculture’s full-length, debut album “Heavier Daze.”

These days Jason (Bass) and John (Keyboards) have partnered up with Olan and Nick to create Monoculture’s full live psych rock experience.

Wikipedia defines psychedelic rock a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Monoculture embraces the mind-altering without the drugs. Describing it as music that is improvisational with esoteric lyrics. Further stating that it is unchained and unbound by musical norms. But Monoculture says breaking the rules in Dallas doesn’t come without challenges. The culture of Dallas sometimes lacks a sense of community. When fans only go out to see bands they already know it causes real challenges to build a fanbase and expand your audience.

To us Monoculture combines the retro sound of The Doors with the musical exploration of David Bowie and crazy good blues riffs of Robert Cray without sounding like any one of them individually. Check out their music below to see what we mean.

Get to Know Monoculture
Why did you decide to become a songwriter?
Although I don’t necessarily believe in the idealistic view of finding your ‘dream job,’ enjoying going to work every day, and living happily ever after, I do believe in finding something where doing your absolute best is something that you don’t find to be grating.

When I wake up every day, I want to improve on the guitar, as a songwriter, and as a composer, and every day I want to chip away at it. And that to me is more fulfilling than anything else I’ve done.

What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
The most recent ‘favorite piece’ of mine would have to be the album Whatevershebringswesing by Kevin Ayers.

Whatevershebringswesing is a journey. One song will be orchestral melodrama, the next will send you skipping along a sea of flowers as far as the eye can see, another will be harrowingly dissonant, the next will be like floating down a calm river. The emotions I feel when listening to that record are emotions I hope I can someday evoke on a listener with our music.

And better yet, when you take the record in context of the year it was released – 1969 – you realize just how cutting edge it was. The production is incredible and the musical ideas are so far-out compared to the mainly blues-based rock of the era.

Which song that you’ve written is your favorite and why?
Up to this point, our newest song Absurd is my favorite of ours. Our first album Heavier Daze was me and Nick (co-founder and drummer) trying to figure out what worked, and we tried to do our best with what we had. But since then, we added Jason on bass and John on keys, and it’s really freed us up to explore the space on the instruments we’re best at. The result is more of a complete band experience as opposed to a guitar lead line trying to carry the load.

Also, with Absurd we made a conscious effort to stray from clichéd musical themes in terms of chord progressions and song structures. We wanted it to wrap you up, take you down a winding road, and plop you down for whatever song we decide to put after it on the next record.

Lyrically, I think it captures my coming to grips with the absurdity of existence pretty well.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song or playing a song live?
There’s this cool interview that Kurt Vonnegut did shortly before his death where he talks about looking back at his works and wondering how he came up with some of the things he did.

I tend to interpret that as the zone that you find yourself in when things are just flowing. It’s just something magical. A skeletal idea at the beginning of a jam session can turn into something certifiably bonkers. And you can’t quite remember the road that led you there, but you have this tangible piece of music that you all chipped in on to create. That zone is pretty weird in a cool way.

Which two other DFW artists would you recommend people check out?
The White Rhinos

Jenna Clark

What’s next?
We’re putting together a DIY psych fest with some great psych bands in the DFW area. There’ll be music, art, and plenty of booze which will be a rad time. We’re aiming for late May/early June, but we don’t want to say anymore on it just yet.

When is your next BIG show & what are the social details:
Our next big show will be at The Foundry in Dallas on March 3 from 8-10 pm. Our friends Summit will open, and then we go on at 9. - Arts & Music DFW


"Things To Do in Dallas This Weekend: March 9-12"

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, less combustible than the days when it appeared in the rock doc Dig!, remains a lovably shaggy band aping classic rock mainstays in its own stoned style. Monoculture opens at Trees. - D Magazine


"Things To Do In Dallas This Week: March 6-9"

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, that semi-psychedelic band enthralled by the shaggy sounds of classic rock and roll, plays Trees. Monoculture opens. - D Magazine


"The Ghost 101 Countdown of 2016: #30-21 Songs of the Year"

Monoculture, “Guadalupe & 4th”

Not many acts would think to combine psych rock with blues, but be glad that the crew from Monoculture decided to create that band. “Guadalupe & 4th” is a slow burn that sucks you in, providing a dreamlike almost seven minute vacation from reality into a parallel universe where only dreamy blues riffs matter. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Top 5 Shows"

5) One more for Saturday: the Grotto is headlined by the Infamists, a no-bullshit rock band from Denton, Dallas folk rockers Loyal Sally, local southern rockers Moonlight Native, and Monoculture (a psych-rock band, also from Dallas) in the preceding spots. Do you dig Mean Motor Scooter? You’ll probably be into this Infamists video then: - Fort Worth Weekly


"Weekend Updates: 11/3-11/6"

Rock N Roll Cannibals / Monoculture / Jenna Clark / The So Help Me’s
Andy’s Bar, 9 PM

Shake off the week’s vibes and swiftly sway into the weekend with the psychobilly melodies of Rock N Roll Cannibals. This hillbilly rock ‘n’ roll-meets-horror-punk band will be sharing the stage with Dallas-based psychedelic/blues rock band Monoculture and Denton’s own Jenna Clark. Watch Oklahoma City’s The So Help Me’s weave in shoegaze/dream-pop riffs into their existential rock sound (Camus or Sartre, anyone?) as they open the show. Only $5! 21+. - The Dentonite


"Songs of the Week - September 9, 2016"

Monoculture -- "Absurd."

RIYL: Getting psyched.

What else you should know: Three makes a trend, and between this band, Natural Anthem and Acid Carousel, we're definitely seeing a psych movement bubbling up with young bands here in town of late. Groovy. Who's got a shroom plug? - Central Track


"Things To Do on Wednesday, September 7"

Mild High Club at Dada
Mild High Club is a music project started by Alex Brettin that sounds kind of like an Ariel Pink tribute band. Which isn't really a bad thing, the songs have a nice psychedelic tone and some dense layering of sounds. Monoculture and Acid Carousel open. -- Paul Wedding - Central Track


"The Local Ticket 9/4/16"

Calhoun – The Lies Tho
Daniel Markham – Right As Rain
Sudie – Schitzo
Midlake – The Fairest Way
UMO – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
MUR – Climb and Fall
THE DIVIDENDS INTERVIEW
Sylvan Esso – Radio
Starr Blazerz – Hunted
Mallory Merk – Gold
Sampha – Blood On Me
Massive Attack – The Spoils
SOHN – Signal
STRFKR – Tape Machine
Monoculture – Absurd
Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me - The Ticket 1310 AM


"Buzz Rankings 9/8"

Each week, we take a survey of the local music scene and try to determine which acts in town are really putting in work and seeing it pay off. Which bands have the most intriguing shows coming up? Which bands are getting the most press around town? Which bands have accomplished the most notable feats of late? Based off these criteria, our music writers submit a list to be weighted and compiled into a master list revealed each week in this here space. We like to think it's fairly revealing. Check out our previous Buzz Rankings here.

What's left to say about Maren Morris' ascent? Not much after last week's reveal that the Arlington native's been nominated for five CMA Awards -- tied for the most of any artist, right along with Eric Church and Chris Stapleton.

Perhaps there's nothing left to say about the 26-year-old's rise because it's no longer an in-progress thing. With those nominations, it's safe to say that Morris has finally "arrived."

Of course, those who've been paying attention to these here rankings might have seen this all coming. This week's win represents Morris' seventh overall No. 1 in our Dallas music power rankings. Perhaps she'll celebrate this nod when she comes back through her hometown in support of her June-released Hero LP on October 14 while opening for Keith Urban at the American Airlines Center? Doubtful, but you never know!

One thing we do know is that North Texas has a knack for producing powerhouse female vocalists: Joining Morris in the Top 10 this week are Miranda Lambert (No. 2), who just earned an ACM Award named after Merle Haggard; Erykah Badu (No. 5), who wrote an essay about joy for Essence this week and is getting ready for the premiere next week of the Comedy Central series she's music supervising; and Selena Gomez (No. 8), who announced she's taking a break from the limelight to deal with some anxiety and depression related to her lupus.

Also making waves this week are the Texas Gentlemen (No. 4), who'll follow their performance at The Rustic last week where they were joined by Leon Bridges (No. 5) with a set at the Double Wide's 13th anniversary bash on Saturday night. Midlake (No. 6), meanwhile, announced a re-issue of The Trials of Van Occupanther complete with some new bonus material. Then there's The Polyphonic Spree, which announced a busy October that will include both a gig at Dada and the opening of its manager's new restaurant on Garland Road.

Elsewhere: Charley Crockett kept on singing the blues; -topic launched an open mic series with the money he got as the first musician in Dallas to receive an arts grant from the city; former A.Dd+ member Paris Pershun released his first song as a solo artist; and Mur is gearing up to release a new album this weekend.

Buzz Rankings: 9/8.

(Also receiving votes: Meat Loaf, Vincent Neil Emerson, Kadie Lynn Roberson, Bill Longhorse, Paul Cauthen, Dezi 5, 88 Killa, Demi Lovato, She Banshee, Mountain of Smoke, Kaboom, Baboon, Dead Flowers, AV The Great, Go Yayo, Kacey Musgraves, Chester Rushing Band, Christy Ray, Rat Rios, Street Arabs, 7evenThirty, Sudie, Cut Throat Finches, Fishboy, The Buck Pets, Moth Face, Claire Morales, Mink Coats, Monoculture, Blake Parish, Caterpillars and Cut Throat Finches.) - Central Track


"Sunday Spotify 16: 10/30/16"

Monoculture, “Absurd”

The band, nominated for Best New Act, will play Friday at Andy’s Bar. The band’s lead singer, Olan Mijana, also nabbed a Best Guitarist nomination as well. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Sunday Spotify 10/2/16"

Monoculture, “Absurd”

Ghosty Awards reminder 3: Caleb Ditzinger isn’t the only nominee for Best Guitarist. Monoculture’s own Olan Mijana is also up for that award. The whole band is also nominated for Best New Act. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Sunday Spotify Sixteen: 9/18/16"

This track isn’t as heavy on the psychedelic vibe, or even on the blues vibe. Still, there’s a very enjoyable 1960’s pop vibe to this song which warrants repeat listens. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Listen To Dallas Psych Rock Band Monoculture’s Woozy New Single"

Following the release of their 2015 full-length debut Heavier Daze, Monoculture is in high demand. They’ve made their way onto tickets with psych heavy-hitters Mild High Club, and have a gig with the People’s Blues of Richmond looming on the horizon. However, even with the degree of success they are experiencing, they have no intention of slowing down. They boast a diverse new four piece line-up consisting of Olan Mijana on guitar and vocals, Nick Leibold on drums, Jason Trevino on bass, and John Valentine on keys and rhythm guitar. This time around, they seek to push the envelope both instrumentally, and lyrically. In the spirit of progress, they have released their new single “Absurd”. It’s a hazy, blues-steeped tune, laden with catchy hooks and echoing synths. It deftly weaves contemplative lyrics and virtuosic instrumentals in a way that is indicative of a band confidently hitting their stride. Give it a listen. - The Racket


"Video Wednesday (VW): 6/1/16"

suppose that it’s time to finally do another edition of Video Wednesdays, or VW as I call it. It’s been so long since my last VW post that I hope Volkswagen doesn’t decide to pull their GOBL sponsorship. Oh wait, they never agreed to be my sponsor. By the way, if anyone from Volkswagen is reading this and would like to be a sponsor of the blog, I’m all ears.

While I wait on the folks at Volkswagen corporate headquarters to start doling out the cash, let me share some videos with you. The first one is from local psych rock bluesmen of Monoculture. Their video for “Guadalupe and 4th” may not be groundbreaking, but it’s a well made video combining performances and life on the road shots. If some of the more colorful live shots have a familiar feel to them, perhaps it’s because they were shot at The Underpass. While I’ve yet to see Monoculture live, the video footage seems to suggest that they’d put on a strong live set. See what I mean below. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Sunday Spotify Sixteen: Mother’s Day Edition"

I’m doing something I very rarely do. I’m letting another person take the reins of today’s Sunday Spotify Sixteen. This playlist was carefully curated by a person who means the world to me. A person who has been there for me through the thick and thin, and I know will always continue to be there for me. A person so special I can only describe her with one word: Mom.

My mother instilled a love of music in me at a very early age, and continues to be one of my greatest cheerleaders in this crazy Ghost of Blind Lemon endeavor. It only feels right to give her the opportunity to select the songs for this Mother’s Day playlist. The only thing I asked of her is to select only Texas based artists. Alas, that means no Aretha Franklin, Susan Tedeschi, or Joshua Ledet (her favorite American Idol contestant ever). She was also disappointed that locals like The Venetian Sailors and Dead Beat Poetry were not available on Spotify to add to the playlist. That’s right, my mom knows who both bands are, because she’s cool like that. So here we go with her song selections.

Somebody’s Darling, “Cold Hands”
Bugs Henderson, “Shuffle King”
Monoculture, “Guadalupe & 4th”
Willie Nelson and Norah Jones, “Dreams Come True”
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, “Have Blues Will Travel”
Old 97’s, “Wasted”
Lyle Lovett, “She Makes Me Feel So Good”
Rahim Quazi, “Ghost Hunting”
The Fabulous Thunderbirds, “Tuff Enuff”
Lance Lopez, “Come Back Home”
Jonathan Tyler, “Goin’ Down to the City”
Casey James, “Jealous Guy”
Charley Crockett, “Trinity River”
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, “Pride and Joy”
Janis Joplin, “Me and Bobby McGee”
Jonas Martin, “You’re So Blues” - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"This weekend: Hap and Leonard, Bob Schneider, burlesque"

Joe R. Landsdale brings his new book in the Hap and Leonard series, “Honky Tonk Samurai,” to the Wild Detectives Wednesday from 7:30-9 p.m.
Bob Schneider performs two shows at the Kessler Theater Friday. And the Pretty Things Peep Show is Saturday.
Dallas-based psychedelic rock band Monoculture hosts an album release party at the Foundry Saturday.
The Texas Theatre shows the Oscar-nominated documentary short films. Plus they celebrate Jennifer Jason Leigh with “The Hateful Eight” and “The Hudsucker Proxy.” - Advocate Mag


"Sunday Spotify Sixteen: 3/20/2016"

Monoculture, “Heavier Daze”
Here’s the title track from the Dallas band that blends psychedelia and blues together in a perfect indie rock gift box. - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"Buzz Rankings 3/3"

Each week, we take a survey of the local music scene and try to determine which acts in town are really putting in work and seeing it pay off. Which bands have the most intriguing shows coming up? Which bands are getting the most press around town? Which bands have accomplished the most notable feats of late? Based off these criteria, our music writers submit a list to be weighted and compiled into a master list revealed each week in this here space. We like to think it's fairly revealing. Check out our previous Buzz Rankings here.

Well, it's another one of those weeks in the North Texas music scene when any one of five to 10 artists could've made an honest claim for the top spot of our weekly, local music power rankings.

As it were, Erykah Badu's star-studded birthday bash at The Bomb Factory helped The Queen earn her 16th Buzz No. 1. Yes, it's gotten to the point where all she has to do these days is mark another trip around the sun to be the talk of the town -- but, hey, Dallas is certainly better for it.

Then again, the man in the No. 2 spot had a pretty astounding week himself. In a week's span, Leon Bridges not only appeared in a Macklemore video, but performed at The White House for President Obama, and then at another event for Oprah. Pretty, pretty baller. Oh, and joining Leon at The White House, and releasing a music video of her own this week was Demi Lovato.

Speaking of big shows: Eleven Hundred Springs headlines the Granada this weekend, and Bobby Patterson and The Relatives will share a joint, free bill at Fred's in Fort Worth. Farther out, John Congleton & The Nighty Nite will return to Double Wide for its first show since some five years ago. Also: Post Malone was added to the JMBLYA lineup.

Earning their spots due to new releases this week were bands such as Parallel Play, which celebrates its new EP at Sundown this Saturday, and Sam Lao, whose new LP will be celebrated at RBC tomorrow night. Oh, and Vanessa Peters, Dead Mockingbirds and Tony Ferraro had new ones out as well.

Elsewhere: Jessie Frye's beer comes out on Saturday; Kelly Clarkson performed on Idol, where Dalton Rappatoni competed, Francine Thirteen premiered a new video; and Snarky Puppy got the documentary treatment from NPR.

(Also receiving votes this week: Chris Holt, Cure for Paranoia, Sudie, Pageantry, Bravo, Max!, -topic, Andy Timmons, Quaker City Night Hawks, Lecrae, Duell, Old 97's, Party Static, Luke McGlathery, Son of Stan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Vandoliers, Loudiene, Pearl Earl, BeMyFiasco, Tablet, Dead To A Dying World, Kim Nall, Jose Gomez, Classic Cult, Mountain of Smoke, Daniel Markham, Whyte Noyze, Joe Gorgeous, Rise & Shine, 88 Killa, Pinkish Black, Monoculture, Plain Jane Francis, The Ramone and Bad Mountain.) - Central Track


"Sunday Spotify Sixteen: 2/28/2016"

Greetings once again, GOBL readers. I apologize for the lack of posts lately. An illness has kept me down for a little bit, but I’m happy to say that I’m recovering, and want to thank all the well wishers, friends, and the like. It’s nice to be back to my old local music loving self, so I figured a new Sunday playlist is long overdue.

Now that we’re almost finished with the second month of 2016, I selected only songs released this year for this week’s playlist. I must say that I’m surprised by how relatively few selections I had to choose from. Some releases haven’t been put on Spotify yet, so I don’t know if there’s a trend towards not putting music on Spotify. Or maybe there’s some really good Texas music on Spotify that’s been released this year without my knowledge. Please, keep The Ghost in the loop by choosing to “Talk to the Ghost”. I’ll admit I’m a bit behind on responding to emails, but intend to start catching up in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy these sixteen solid songs from 2016!

Missing Sibling, “Mary’s Rashers”
Pentacon Six, “Capture You”
Emily Wells, “You Dream of China”
Monoculture, “Guadalupe & 4th”
Giant Kitty, “Fascinator”
Mountain Kid, “Monotony”
Reagan James, “Breaking the Bank”
The Ramonalisas, “Teleconnect”
War Party, “Chinese Handcuffs”
Calliope Musicals, “Echo of the Woos”
The Roomsounds, “Elm St.”
Pleasant Grove, “The Pessimist Clique”
The Suffers, “Peanuts”
Repel the Robot, “Cold War Kid”
Militant Babies, “Where Did You Go?”
Bronco Simmons, “Away She Goes” - Ghost of Blind Lemon


"North Texas Freaks Out For Psychedelic Rock"

Music genres ebb and flow in popularity in North Texas, much like anywhere else, as styles change and bands come and go. For example: five years ago, folk was king, and clubs were full of beards and banjos. But now psychedelic rock is ascendant, steadily gaining momentum, mirroring a national and international trend.

“Music itself, especially rock and roll, tends to go in what seems like 10- to 15-year cycles,” says Jeff Brown, who runs King Camel Productions, which is responsible for booking the majority of local psych shows. He says the number of psych bands in the area has tripled in the last five years. To name just a few: Acid Carousel and Monoculture in Dallas; Pearl Earl, Sunbuzzed, and Mother Tongues in Denton; Native Fox in Garland.

To meet the increased demand, psych festivals have started to appear regularly around North Texas. In July, the two-day Acid Koolaid Festival debuted in Denton. Before that, in June, Paisley Maze popped up at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. Paisley Maze’s creation was inspired by the void left by a much larger psych festival—Levitation in Austin. Originally the Austin Psych Fest, it was canceled in 2016 due to weather and again in 2017 for reorganization.

Brown thinks it’s mostly young bands that are pushing for a psych comeback, and his theory has some weight. Olan Mijana, the frontman of Monoculture, organized Paisley Maze with his bandmates; he’s only 24. (Full disclosure: Mijana’s bandmate, drummer Nick Leibold, works for D Magazine as a graphic designer.) And one of the most talented area psych groups is Acid Carousel. At 19 and 21, respectively, the band’s founders, Gus Baldwin and John Kuzmick, are precocious musicians holding their own alongside older and more experienced bands.

“There’s a rebel spirit to psych music,” Brown says. “It feels like a safe space where you’re allowed to push boundaries and explore new things. There’s a comfort in that. It helps unite a lot of people. If you have a certain type of music that advertises openness, togetherness, and new ideas, especially with the youth, that’s a recipe for a win.”

Ariel Hartley, 26, moonlights on vocals in Acid Carousel from time to time, but her main outfit is Pearl Earl, the all-female psych band she started three years ago. A graduate of the University of North Texas and a Denton resident, Hartley acknowledges that psychedelia has long been tied to drug culture, but says that’s not the point of the music.

“For people in my generation, psych music is a nostalgia thing and an evolving thing; it’s pretty timeless,” she says. “When people think of psychedelia, they think of the ’60s, but it goes back to the ’50s and up through the ’80s, ’90s, 2000s. There are different takes on a certain idea and the lifestyle. It’s music that makes you feel a little trippy. I know for me, it’s the mindset and the messages in it—creating a headspace that feels otherworldly, that draws on the past and future, and reflection.” - D Magazine


Discography

2016 - Heavier Daze
2018 - TBD

Photos

Bio

Monoculture is a Dallas psych rock four-piece. What once started as aimless jams between founders and longtime friends Olan Mijana and Nick Leibold became something with a little more purpose when the two completed a four-track demo while living 300 miles apart. This demo was the catalyst to the two's completion of Monoculture’s full-length, debut album “Heavier Daze.”

Fast forward two years, and Monoculture have added to their original lineup in the form of Jason Trevino on bass and John Valentine on keys. Besides trekking across Texas, the quartet has built a solid home base in Dallas, with the foundation of Dallas's first psychedelic music festval, Paisley Maze, and opening slots for psych legends The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mild High Club. Their newest tune “Absurd,” a direct follow-up to their debut album, has spun on local Dallas radio and received the acclaim of The Dallas Observer who placed it on its Best Songs of September 2016 list and Central Track who placed it on a Songs of the Week list. Monoculture have begun work on their sophomore album.

Band Members