Maintaining a band for eight-plus years is no easy feat, but Rare Monk have tapped into something that they have found worthy of nurturing for nearly a decade now.
There’s a tight-knit bond between these bandmates. Whether it manifests itself in their banter while hanging out at the studio or the energy they produce as a unit playing music, it is clear that both on and off the stage the fellas who all met back in college, at the University of Oregon, genuinely enjoy one another's musicianship and spirit.
“You just gotta enjoy making music with the people that you are spending all this time, energy and money with and it comes out in the writing process,” says bassist Forest Gallien of the band’s natural camaraderie.
After making their two previous releases with a label, and grasping all of the advantages and pitfalls of operating under a record label, Rare Monk are back with their recently self-released full-length A Future, an album that gave the band the opportunity to get back to their roots of exploring songs through jamming collectively.
“Coming from other bands where one person writes the songs and then teaches everyone the parts, this band is so much more fun to play in—because we literally do just get together and we just jam and collaborate,” describes guitar player and backup vocalist Hugh Jepson, who also happens to be the most recent addition to the band.
The songwriting in this band has always been something to marvel at: It’s focused yet creative, but there is a heaviness and rawness in the tone of A Future that was not present on previous releases—not only within the musical compositions, but in the vocal delivery of frontman Dorian Aites.
“It’s been a weighty couple of years here; there’s a lot of worrying about where we're going and what's going to happen,” Aites explains.
Rare Monk continue to live up to their reputation as a staple in the local Portland music scene with their sonically pleasing records and their high-energy live performances, but it seems that it is their knowledge gained through previous experiences and a desire to hang out and jam with one another that fuels the longevity of their band.