After opening for Chromatics at the Vogue in Vancouver in 2019, solo goth artist monashee [name styled lowercase] was scheduled to play her next show in 2020, returning to darkwave festival Verboden, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, shutting down venues and altering everyone’s lives. Since then she’s been mixing and posting songs on Bandcamp, while recovering from the nightmarish fairytale she says she experienced with her former label, and is now sharing her music on more platforms, with hopes to release some cassettes at a later date,

 

monashee’s songs now available online were written and produced by her, and recorded between 2015-2019 mostly at night at the Secret Location (long standing DIY studio warehouse in Vancouver’s Downtown-Eastside now shut down due to redevelopment), and though her synth-and-vocal songs were intended to be released on L.A.-based Italians Do It Better after quietly signing with them in December 2015, she only got back two mixes out of over 30 songs sent to Italians’ Johnny Jewel, who’d asked to mix and release her music on vinyl. She left the label in early 2020, feeling shelved and mistreated, with nothing released, and says “at first, i was asked to take my old recordings down and to not tweet about meeting Johnny or tell anyone except family or a few friends about being signed. he said he wanted me to be ‘invisible’ and ’come out with a bang’, but it ended up feeling more like a musical death. or erasure" she says, “over time, as mixes and agreed releases didn’t materialize, it just felt like a lot of broken promises, different priorities, and stalling. i felt uncomfortable as an artist and as a woman on the label, and eventually like i was being ghosted.” She says it was a “devastating, and traumatizing experience”, but she’s found a new strength in walking away and being free to mix and share her songs, and has now digitally released many of her unreleased tracks.

 

With some songs' written beginning in 2010, [all song titles styled lowercase] and her latest singles, 'silence on the radio' (about the frightening rise of the far right and fascism), 'the state of the world, 'love is a terrible thing, 'nightmares', 'it started with a kiss', 'brasil', ‘time’ (about the nature of time), 'angels' (in which she sings "do you believe in angels, do you believe in devils"), and ‘doomsday’, (about the climate crisis), monashee’s first song shared post-Italians was ‘pieces’ (featuring harp, and vintage synth which she uses in all her tracks), followed by songs such as ‘run’ (with lyrics “into the street, into the night, don’t think twice”), along with ‘the romantics’, and the existential ‘i don’t want to die’, as well as ‘a bird in flight (falling)’, (“do you remember feeling, feeling free in the night”), and ‘again’ (“will we ever live again, will we ever dream again”).

 

Also among her singles is her own mix of her song ‘ghosts’, (first recorded 2014), different from the mix by Johnny Jewel that premiered on SiriusXMU in 2019, and not to be confused with the song ‘Ghosts’ released by Jewel for one of his acts after monashee left the label, (which monashee says she thinks is eerily lyrically similar to her own).

 

monashee, who has dealt with the chronic energy-zapping post-viral neuro-immune disease ME since age 13, became involved in the Vancouver music scene in the late 2000s, playing in a few groups and forming Brazilian/Canadian duo Falcao and Monashee (with radio play on campus and community stations across North America and reviews in publications such as Exclaim!, Ondarock, Discorder, and Foxy Digitalis (who gave their debut album 9/10). By 2014, monashee started performing solo in Vancouver, playing her first show at a party in the woods, then several shows at places like Thor’s Palace, and later at Music Waste 2015 and on CITR radio, before agreeing to release with Italians Do It Better, and by 2016 she also got involved with many of the city’s late night events like The Dark 80s, which was a challenge because of her ME, but provided contrast to the isolation that she says she often felt. 

 

Her songs were recorded alone in the calm midnights and early mornings, often after the club, between coatcheck and sunrise, taking frequent breaks to rest, and monashee says she went through a lot in the time these songs were written and recorded, including the death of her father, but long hours at the Secret Location helped her find a way through all the darkness and grief and it seemed the perfect place to be able to be immersed with her synths. It was only recently, while trying to find something historical to stop the demolishment of the East Hastings warehouse space, she discovered that the building was once an asbestos cement plant in the 1950s. “It was great to have ‘a room of my own’, it was a place for me to hide away with my music, and i learned a lot in that time, i grew as an artist,” she says, “..but i’m horrified now, just how much time I spent in that room, writing, singing, recording, and rerecording, without knowing its history. this is also a huge loss to the music community. dozens of artists have lost their spaces here. the Secret Location needs a new, safer, home, to survive, and the city had said they would help us find something, but everything has been too unaffordable or unsuitable. so for now, myself and others are without a place to create and record.”

 

Working on these songs so many nights and years, sending them off and then feeling that they were being locked away in a vault by her former label, she really wanted to let her songs see the light of day, as she moves on from toxicity and trauma, and begins to dream again of playing shows.

 

monashee’s songs can be found on all social and streaming platforms, with more to be posted soon.
 

 

listen on bandcamp

 

and spotify