MONOWHALES Interview // ‘The Hand That Feeds’

Words: Gabrielle White / @gabrielleblanche

A diet of Jazz and lessons in Rock n’ roll from hall of famer Rik Emmett (Triumph) proved to be a winning combination for Toronto alt-rock super stars MONOWHALES. The three-piece combine their syncopated beats and electrifying alt-rock with arrestingly lively concerts and true independent spirit. They’re ‘the band that could’, navigating autonomously through the industry since their inception, developing from a youthful act into bonafide alt-rockers. 

Every aspect of the band is painted in bold colours, from their penchant for launching pool noodles into the audience to building their own confetti cannons. Their latest release, a cover of Nine Inch Nail’s ‘The Hand that Feeds’ is no different. Drenched with vocalist Sally Shaar’s signature Joan Jett rasp and punctuated with Zach Zanardo’s rumbling guitar, the track is pounding and pulse-driven at its heart. 

We were lucky enough to have a chat with the band…

Thanks so much for chatting with us! First of all, congratulations on releasing your debut album ‘Daytona Bleach’ earlier this year. How did you find creating during such a turbulent time? Do you think it had an effect on the type of music you wanted to put out there?

This record was recorded pre-pandemic but somehow a lot of the song’s meanings seem to intensify and age clearer as the pandemic started and went on. Releasing this record during the pandemic has had its challenges. We find our innermost joy in performing and getting up-close and personal with our fans. We had to find unique ways to do that this time around that were non-physical. Thanks to the internet and snail mail, we had a blast connecting with peeps in new and interesting ways. Looking forward to innovating and combining the two aspects moving forward in our world. 

Obviously you guys are legitimate veterans of the Toronto scene at this point, having been around since 2015. How do you think you’ve evolved sonically/stylistically since then?

We care deeply about constantly improving ourselves, our music, our art, and our work as a unit. We have been on a journey, making mistakes, having successes and building again from the ground up as things change. We love that there have been people on the ride with us this entire time. It feels like we are in it together. Any success we have is a success for the people who support us as they’ve seen the whole struggle. We never know what’s next, that’s a huge part of the exciting ride. 

Now onto your latest release, a cover of Nine Inch Nail’s ‘The Hand That Feeds’. What made you choose an act like NIN, and why this song?

Nothing more than straight up love for the song and the band. Feels a bit like looking at a mountain when you want to tackle a song like this but we did our best to respect it’s origins while still making it special to us.

You guys have said that the song “is the perfect song to relate to this new chapter of our dystopian era”. Do you find that you are politically motivated in your music and message?

We always have tones and perspectives from our personal lives ingrained within the music. So yes, of course! Those subjects are topics we care about and we all have a voice within the band with opinions we like to highlight and write about.

There’s some U.K. tour dates fast approaching. Being known for your live performances, what tricks have you got in store for your audiences across the pond?

Oh boy. I don’t know how I can put it in words. I always see our shows as an experience that me and the group of people who showed up get to have and cherish together. If you come, that’s the only way you’ll know what I mean.

Is there anything in the U.K. you’re particularly excited to see/try?

We are excited to play for you the most, that is #1. After that would be eating, seeing other local live bands play and hanging out at the best dive bars. Hit us up on Insta and tell us where we need to go!

Finally, the release of your sophomore album is highly anticipated, can you give us a taste of some of your favourite lyrics?

Ooooof this is a hard one. I’ll give you two! 

1. “I like to be in control”: Ha ha it feels nice to admit it and not be ashamed.

2. “What’s wrong with vanity? Can’t get enough of it baby. New age lobotomy, I want it, I want it.”:  It is complicated to navigate the world, combined with the digital world these days! Being praised for your looks seems so important and a path that people take to have successful lives and careers. Wheather you are the one dishing it out or you are a voyeur eating it up, it’s intresting as fuck to look at from all perspectives and think about what role you are playing in it.


Twitter – @monowhales

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