Sacred Monsters
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Sacred Monsters

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2021

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Established on Jan, 2021
Band Rock Indie

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"An Interview with Sacred Monsters July 3 2023"

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I mentioned Sacred Monsters last week when I interviewed guitarist, Fataday Korngor, about playing with the group as well as his work as a solo artist. Needless to say, I’m as intrigued by the music of Sacred Monsters as I am with Fataday’s music. Describing themselves as a “sad girl rock band from Philadelphia,” Sacred Monsters call to mind some of my favorite music from the 90s, including bands like No Doubt and Veruca Salt. To find out more, I dropped them a line.

I recently saw on Instagram that you were heading up to Albany for a gig. Was it part of a tour or just a one-off? How was the show?

We called it a “mini-tour” because we played in Troy, NY (just 15 minutes from Albany) on Friday night and then the next night we drove back to Philly for another show with the same bands at the Grape Room. It was our first time traveling for more than 1 hour as a band together and staying the night. It was a great show and a food truck even had a burger named after us for folks to order. We had a blast and really loved the bands with played with, E.R.I.E and Doctor Baker. Plus it was fun coming back to the Airbnb afterwards to hang out, eat snacks and watch Austin Powers.
Albany is a bit of a hike from Philadelphia. How do you decide how far you’ll travel to play a show?

We really just go where the wind takes us. We had met E.R.I.E when we played at the Soundbank in Phoenixville (R.I.P to that venue) last summer and we had such a blast with them that we kept in touch with the hopes of having another show together. Thankfully, we made it happen!

I understand that the band got together through Craigslist. What’s the story there?

Yup! So back during the height of the pandemic, I (KP) was feeling very frustrated mentally and musically and I wanted to create, but not just by myself. So I posted a very specific ad on craigslist with the type of music I wanted to create and that’s how I met Nick. We recorded our EP with two other musicians from craigslist without ever meeting them first. Then after the other two members left, Nick and I met Julie through craigslist. We went to my old alma mater of Neumann University to film some videos and Fataday just so happened to be working the camera that day. He followed us on Instagram afterwards and I saw that he was an amazing musician and just had to ask him if he’d like to join and bam, that’s how sacred monsters came to be.
And what do the individual members of the band bring to the group? I’m thinking in terms of both personality and sound—and how those two things inform each other. What’s the chemistry like?

Gosh, our chemistry is unlike any other band I’ve been in (and I’ve been in a lot lol). Nick is so tight on the drums, it’s unreal. You would never know he started playing drums later in life. Julie’s vocals and knack for piecing together a song is critical to our music and Fataday’s harmonies and guitar melodies always blow me away. I bring in a lot of quirky lyrics and song ideas and I’m always thankful for everyone always amplifying and making those ideas even better.

I’m curious about the “sad girl” portion of “sad girl rock band from Philadelphia.” Is it genuine sadness, or is there an element of knowing irony there? Or a mix of the two?

Oh, it’s definitely genuine sadness. While we have very few (I think one haha) happy songs, a lot of the lyrics and songs stem from periods of our lives where it’s been difficult and hard. Music has always been a way, for me at least, to process those hard moments and to truly move on.
I’m also wondering if there’s some latent anger there. Your song “Britney,” for example, reminds me a little bit, at least thematically, of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” in that both songs definitely have a bit of bite, to say the least.

You’re right, Britney was a definitely a song written out of anger. Anger towards my own self because I kept making the same mistake over and over again. Which is extremely frustrating! But hey, we got a song out of it.

The vocal phrasing on “Britney” is interesting. For example, the word “just” sounds like “joist.” What was behind that decision?

Lol I blame this on my south jersey accent.

Ah, got it! You played the West Philadelphia Porch Festival recently. What was that like? How were you received?

Gosh, we LOVE West Philly Porchfest. It such a beautiful day of music. We had such a blast at our porch because we played with Caring Less, who is just an amazing band. It was really exciting, we had a few folks that just saw us listed as “sad girl rock” on the porch fest map and that’s how they found themselves at our porch!! We had a really great crowd that day–a lot of random people stopped that were walking or even driving by.
More broadly, how does being from Philadelphia influence your music?

We all have different roots. Nick and I are from NJ, but live in the Philadelphia area now, so I would say while Philadelphia doesn’t exactly influence our music, the Philadelphia Music Scene is so welcoming and awesome. It was really intimidating not knowing anything outside of open mics, and we were welcomed with open arms by a handful of bands that we had only met on Instagram! It blows my mind to this day how we get asked to do shows on a monthly basis. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other music community.
What’s on the horizon?

We’ve got some exciting shows coming up in the future, next one being on July 14th at Bonk’s Bar. But we are working on getting up to NYC for a show and then a possible Sad Girl Rock show in the fall. In August we are taking a short hiatus and will be focusing on writing and getting some new merch released! But our big goal, which I have written on our 2023 vision board is to land a show at Johnny Brenda’s. It’s my dream venue to play at in the city.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! - Marc Schuster


"Get to know Sacred Monsters, the Philly band who’s never met"

“It’s pretty wild, when I think back on it,” says Kathleen Poliski of the new Philadelphia indie rock band Sacred Monsters. “We’ve never met. We’ve never been in the same room together. We’re meeting for the first time on Saturday.”

Making music in general during the past year of self isolation and social distancing is a challenge in itself; starting a new project remotely with complete strangers is another thing entirely.

Six months into the Coronavirus pandemic, Poliski was feeling a lot of feelings that she needed to channel into music. After kicking around in various Philly projects in the before times, she was looking to truly collaborate; she’d been trying out ideas on her Sixty Second Songs Instagram, and she felt like some of those could be fleshed out into full-band jams.

Also, she just wanted to enjoy herself and the creative process again. So in November, she turned to Craigslist. “I posted this very specific thing that my goal is to record music, play shows when we get to the end of COVID and it’s safe, and have fun,” Poliski tells me over a Zoom call. “I’ve never gotten this far with a band before. The fact that we’ve recorded a five-song EP makes me so happy.”

Drummer Nick Cervini was the first person Poliski connected with, followed by keyboardist and vocalist Kelly Vinett. Guitarist Joey Franko signed on to round out the quartet, with Poliski playing bass and singing lead. They began hashing out their debut single, “Bones.”

A catchy three minutes of fluid post-millennial modern rock in the vein of Charly Bliss, Sunflower Bean, and Palehound, the song was assembled piece by piece using Google Drive. Poliski uploaded the initial sketch of the idea; Franko recorded a guitar lead, which Cervini added drums to, followed by keys and harmonies by Vinett. The stems were then mixed by producer and singer-songwriter Jesse Gimbel into the debut single the band released last month.

The rest of the project came together in a similar fashion, with regular Zoom meetings to exchange ideas and brainstorm, and Poliski says that it’s a method she found she actually prefers. Hashing out arrangements and instrumental leads in a noisy practice room is frustrating; having the space to refine your part on your own, in the privacy of your home, before presenting it to your bandmates is a much more agreeable experience, and makes for stronger songs in the end. She hopes to continue the process now that the Bones EP is out in the world today.

The band has still not played live, or even practiced. They meet in-person for the first time tomorrow to toast the release of their EP and pose for a photo shoot in Magnet‘s Isolation Drills series. Poliski knew from the jump that attempting a band rehearsal on Zoom would be an exercise in chaos. But at the same time, she’s grateful to Vinett, Franko, and Cervini for being willing to go on this journey with her. “With the pandemic, we were thinking ‘oh, in a couple months, it’s gotta be better,'” she laughs. “We didn’t know when that end really was, and it’s awesome: I found musicians that were like ‘we don’t know when we’re going to play together, but let’s do it!'”

For other budding Philly musicians who are wrestling with creating in isolation — or creating in general, once we’re on the other side of COVID — she is a big advocate for the route Sacred Monsters took.

“If anyone’s out there like ‘I don’t even know where to begin,’ I love Craigslist for finding musicians, and I can’t recommend collabing remotely enough,” says Poliski. “Just do it! You’re going to find somebody. It may not be on the first round, but there’s musicians out there if you’re very specific with what you want.” - WXPN, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania


"ISOLATION DRILLS: SACRED MONSTERS"

Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area had been staying at home over the past year, learning to adapt to a “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’d been doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.

Kathleen Poliski (vocals, bass): Back in November, I posted a Craigslist ad in the Philadelphia musician’s section hoping similar musicians, with a similar attitude would reply. “I want to create music with people who are goal-driven, fun, dedicated and when we safely are able, play shows with” is what I wrote.

Oddly enough, even during a pandemic, I found three other musicians—Nick (Cervini, drums), Joey (Franko, guitar) and Kelly (Vinett, keyboards)—who were also looking for the same thing. We had a “theoretical” full band—but could we make music? To put it in perspective, we all basically closed our eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped into the deep end, hoping we would swim.

We agreed that Google Drive was the best way to collaborate. We didn’t have an exact system or plan, to be honest, but decided to begin with one song I was working on called “Bones” and go from there. As it turned out, not only could we swim, we could swim fast.

And through Google Drive, Zoom and texting we were able to write and produce a five-Song EP that’s out now! Without ever having met before until this MAGNET photo shoot!

At the end of the day, being a musician has given me a lot of light this past year during several moments of dark. COVID forced us to learn how to collaborate and create in a way that I would’ve never imagined and will actually continue to do once it’s over. - Magnet Magazine


Discography

  • 5/28/2021 Bones - Single
  • 6/4/2021 Bones EP
  • 9/24/2021 Sad Girl Rock - Single
  • 2/14/2022 Touch and Go - Single
  • 2/14/2022 Someone Else - Single
  • 9/2/2022 No Other
  • 12/2/2022 A Sad Girl Xmas
  • 5/17/2023 Confessions of a Sad Girl

Photos

Bio

The members of Sacred Monsters are anything but scary. However, their first EP was created during a frightening time in history: 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, KP, Nick, and 2 other musicians wrote "Bones" by sharing files through Google Drive. That's right! Without ever meeting in person they produced 5 songs of upbeat, sad girl rock. 

KP and Nick met Julie through Craigslist in May of 2021. Throughout that summer, the trio wrote "Touch and Go", "Sad Girl Rock", and "Someone Else". Sacred Monsters played their first of many open mic nights during this time. 

Fataday officially joined the group in October 2021. He was operating one of the cameras during a fun video shoot at Neumann University a few months prior.

Today, Sacred Monsters call Philadelphia, PA (and adjacent suburbs) home. 

Stream the latest EP, "Confessions of a Sad Girl"

Band Members