Get Familiar: Monjola
Interview by Passion Dzenga | Photos by Olivia Jank
Extrovert is Monjola's latest single and it is being about not wanting to be alone but also feeling alone when you’re around people. Pushing people away cause you don’t wanna get hurt but at the same time also craving the company of the same people. While he was in Patta's hometown of Amsterdam filming the music video, we knew it was the perfect time to get familiar with the most energetic artist in the Dublin scene today.
How did music enter your life?
I feel like music was something that was always there for me growing up to be honest. We spent a lot of our Sunday’s going to Nigerian church service so I was introduced to a lot of sounds from a young age.
Who did you look up to when you were first working on demos at home?
When I started really getting into making my own music, The Neptunes were such a big inspiration. Their sound is just so accessible that when I heard it, I just instantly knew that this was the style of music I wanted to make.
How is your creative process?
So I usually make music with my younger brother Moyo. He produces all of my music and the process is really organic. We can bounce off each other and he really gets my sound and knows how to get it done. Once I’ve got something to talk about, an idea or someone I know has gone through something and I want to tell that story, it becomes easier to write and catch the vibe on the beat.
Your energy for creation is quite infectious, how do you stay so motivated to create?
To be honest, I go through different phases. Sometimes I don’t feel motivated to create or have writer's block. But recently, I’ve been trying to experience life and get inspiration from everyday living. I’m really learning to try and enjoy the process and just the journey.
Did the lockdowns affect your creativity in any way?
Yes - big time. Lockdown really pushed me to start taking my music seriously. I actually released my first track, ‘know you’ during the lockdown. Honestly, I was just home with nowhere to go, so it gave us the opportunity to put our time into making music.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Definitely more music and shows. You’ll be seeing my face around a lot more for sure.
How did you link up with the Patta London crew?
I met Olivia who works for the Patta store in London through Instagram. She actually reached out to me on Instagram saying she liked the music. It's really cool because she is a crazy photographer and really has an eye for it. So when I was in London we linked up and did a shoot. It was fun.
Who do you usually work on your music with?
I usually make my music with my brother Moyo, who produces, and another Irish artist named Aby Coulibal. She’s killing it right now!
Any dream collaborations?
Probably Pharrell, Lauren Hill & Sault.
What is the live show experience for you?
Live shows are actually one of the best parts of creating music. You can really fully express what you have made. It is also an experience to feed off the energy of the crowd who are also there to have a good time.
What’s the scene like in Dublin?
Dublin's definitely on the come up. Like the scene is quite small but it’s a real cozy community. Everyone knows everyone and there’s also this massive shift in culture that’s happening. it’s really exciting to be part of it.
Ireland is pushing out such a diverse range of sounds, what is its about this new generation of Dublin youth that has made this buzz?
To be honest, I think it’s because Ireland's becoming more multicultural and there’s more black people! We’re really taking over and being heard and seen. Plus the internet really helps, you can really use it to meet people and to get your names out there.
Are you still in Dublin?
Yea I’m still based in Dublin. But I’m always stepping out to different places outside of Ireland.
And you run a label with your brother Moyo, what is the importance of being independent to you?
Yes myself and my brother and Aby started a label. I feel like it’s super important for us to be independent, especially at the start of our careers. We’re still finding our sounds and experimenting. So it's really nice to have a lot of freedom to explore that as an independent artist.
I hear you can play a whole bunch of real instruments, can you let us know what keeps your hands busy in the studio?
Idle hands are the devils workshop.
Who from your scene gets you excited at the moment?
Yoo there’s so many but to name just a few, Aby Coulibaly, Elzzz, TraviS, Gaff & Zack Oke! These guys are all so authentic in their sound and if you haven’t heard of them you probably will soon.
What can we expect in the future from you?
Just timeless music. Not tryna make music for just now but also music that lasts, something timeless. And I think I can do that by creating music that is honest and real vulnerable.