“Know My Name” ft. Berlin based audio-visual artist Valentin Hansen is Monako’s new single. Being the German-Canadian outfit’s first release to feature another artist, it marks the start of a new and upcoming project that includes several international features revolving around a collaborative approach to a short film and the accompanying EP. Its first single “Know My Name” started out as a vague idea of what an alt-pop song could sound like these days. As it was being reincarnated several times – shapeshifting between different rhythms, harmonies, melodies and emotions – Monako hit the critical point of feeling completely disconnected from this piece of music, ready to give up on it. This was when Valentin Hansen took over and added a unique approach by infusing new melodies, lyrics and a wholly different vibe, shaping Monako’s vision of what this song would become. Starting off intimately with only Valentin Hansen’s signature auto-tune filled vocals over a simple bass line, “Know My Name” evolves into an ever-changing mood-piece. Soft strings stand their ground against daunting sub-basses, stirring up the smooth piano chords before releasing the listener onto better known territories: A pulsating beat and Sadek Martin-Massarweh’s familiar voice draw their lines on a canvas of auto-tune-choirs and distorted pianos – “You don’t know me but I swear I saw your face in a dream”.
The underlying music video was directed by videographer Gary Emekwa and actor Danilo Kamperidis who brought the vision of creative directress Elif Küçük to life – interpreting a story about feeling disconnected from oneself and in consequence losing touch to everyone around, turning loved ones into strangers. “I treat you like you should know my name, but I can see in your face you don’t.” The team behind the video took this phrase into an urban setting that perfectly depicts the emotional dynamics: Feeling claustrophobic about being surrounded by strangers and being suffocated by one’s alienated thoughts in isolation.
As our thoughts and actions cruise away from our feelings, suddenly, there’s a weird sense in the room that the other is a stranger to us. You’ll become a stranger to me as soon as I become a stranger to myself. Words feel then like a drop in the ocean, because what is there to say if my feelings are detached from my thoughts? Probably a whole lot, but I surely am then very far away from finding the words. And without a word, it’s all going downhill,” says Sadek Martin-Massarweh.
“This is definitely the song we needed the most attempts to get it right. Balancing the different emotions of the song’s beginning and ending took time, effort and lots of affection. Although we were ready to give up on that song so many times, we never lost hope entirely as those emotions always seemed strong enough to carry the music in between. Valentin Hansen’s view on things gave us the final strength to pull this through,” says Monako.