Comprised of Little Shalimar (a.k.a. Torbitt Schwartz) and Jeremy Wilms, King Mono is a live band/production duo, who originally met when they were both part of the rhythm section of the renowned Brooklyn-based Afrobeat collective Antibalas. Bonding over a love of all things dance music, the duo founded the critically applauded disco act Chin Chin, which released two albums through Definitive Jux Records.
But while working in Antibalas and Chin Chin, the production duo were desperate to experiment with hip-hop based sounds, looping and other electronic production techniques. Splitting time between a rather hectic touring schedule and their studio, the duo developed a sound through the necessity of having instruments and gear that were easy to travel with. And as a result they started purchasing vintage Casio keyboards, portable drum machines and started to experiment with a keyboard and loop-driven sound.
With the duo writing a bunch of material, they had known that they wanted and needed a bunch of different vocalists. But once they introduced to Jesse Boykins III, a backing vocalist in Chin Chin, they noticed such an undeniable creative chemistry, that Boykins became the sole vocalist and cowriter (for a number of songs) on what would be their debut effort, Bump In The Night, which Tummy Touch Records will release on March 31.
Although King Mono claims influences as diverse as Bomb Squad, Mr. Fingers, Jungle Brothers, Timbaland, LCD Soundsystem and 1960s Go-Go, their sound manages to make very subtle nods at their influences – yes, there’s a decidedly sweaty, tribal funk feel to “Pet Peeves,” the first single off Bump In The Night; however, the track manages to possess a heady psychedelic and futuristic feel. It sounds as though it would be played at a post-apocalyptic dance party in 2097 or 3032.
The official video wildly and fittingly appropriates footage from Heavy Metal and it’s quite a trip.