It all began as a solo project by Ian Jacobs.
He’s played in several other bands for almost his entire adult life and he was ready to find an outlet for his own self-expression. He loves to toy around with drum machines, loop machines, reverb, recording equipment, etc. So he created Monograms.
After a few shows on stage alone, his friend approached him asking if he could play drums with him. Though apprehensive at first, Jacobs eventually agree and he never looked back! He confesses to BTRtoday that it instantly became more fun.
Currently, Monograms has morphed into a booming four-piece fronted by Jacobs playing guitar and Vox, accompanied by Michael Nesci also on guitar, Christopher Day on bass, and Tim McCoy on drums. Their Facebook explains their sound as “jagged and hefty psych-pop songs made for driving and swirling”—and they categorize their genre as “grit pop, nuke wave, and should gaze.”
If that doesn’t already give you a pretty clear picture of their vibe and sound, try taking a classic punk song from the early ‘80’s and combine it with some super obscure DJ from today and you’ll get something like Monograms. It’s a mixture of synth pop and punk rock, who could ask for more?
Recently, they released a new EP entitled “Silencer.” It took a while to make, with many of the songs being recorded in different places and headspaces, admits Jacobs. “I would come up with a riff or an idea, sometimes with the other dudes, sometimes not, and then I would take it home, do all the arranging and the bass lines and program some drum machine beats to follow the feel, and then I would bring that to the next rehearsal,” he explains about the creative process.
He explains that he called it “Silencer,” due to his nihilistic view on language being actually quite empty. “I’m always obsessed with the idea that words are really meaningless a lot of the time that I think words are overrated—you can try and explain to someone how you feel a million times over, but you’ll never really know,” he adds. “If the album had a subtitle that would be it!”
Currently, Monograms is working on a ton more new material, so they expect to have another EP ready to go by this fall. Jacobs confesses that this time they took a more collaborative route. “It feels cool to turn that corner, but it also feels cool to get this last leg of these other songs that are more like my solo project out,” he says.
Growing up Jacobs enjoyed pop music, however not in the typical sense that you think of when you hear the word “pop.” To him, pop music is anything with a hook, so it can vary anywhere from Nirvana and The Pixies, to Hall & Oats.
“Just the idea of creating parts of songs that feel like hooks that sick in your head and can put you in that trance where the song’s not playing, but you’re still humming it,” Jacobs explains. “I think all that music that I enjoyed listening to growing up is a huge part of how I listen to music and enjoy it now—it doesn’t have to be the catchiest chorus, it can be anything.”
He goes on to say that Nirvana and the whole wave of grunge was something that hit him hard growing up. “They were writing pop songs, but it was heavy and it has some feels to it,” he says about Nirvana.
Though Monograms would not immediately be compared to Nirvana due to the synth bits and experimental vibes, the grunge genre is still easily detectable in their undertones and rhythms. They can be dark yet keep you humming along at the same time!