The band Monroe, which is comprised of different artists from extensive touring backgrounds, recently released their debut EP The Streetlight. I was lucky enough to talk with lead singer Matt Berman about the album, going on a world tour with The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, philanthropy, and the making of the video for “One More Night.” Check out the interview below.
1. Your debut EP The Streetlight is described as being full of “summery pop-punk anthems” and will be released July 28th. Can you tell our readers more about the album?
It’s a really exciting album for me. It really tells a story. All the songs are there for a reason and a ton of thought has been put into the “theme” and order of the songs. This EP is definitely a snapshot of my life for the past couple of years. It’s also the first time in a long time where I get the opportunity to step into the spotlight, instead of supporting other artists. It’s a really exciting release for me.
2.You recently toured with Brandon Flowers of The Killers. What was that experience like for you?
This was a life changing experience. It was my first world tour and I couldn’t have asked for a better band to do it with. I played saxophone and keys on the tour. It was really exciting to get to play to massive crowds and meet all the fans. I gotta say the most fun was all the music festivals we played. Those fans go crazy. That tour definitely changed my life.
3. You also recently played a show in which the proceeds went to Hungerford School, a school for children with autism and other disabilities, and your merch is printed by a company that helps provide those with autism with job opportunities. How important is philanthropy to you and how did you get into it?
This is extremely important to me and the band as a whole, and although they are doing amazing work at the Hungerford School, it reaches far beyond one school. I have a special place in my heart for children with disabilities. In many cases, children with autism and any kind of learning disability are not given the same opportunities as a “mainstream” functioning child; and that is heartbreaking and unacceptable to me. Many children do not get the opportunity to continue their education past high school, and getting a job is just as hard. I put my complete support behind The Hungerford School because they are giving children with disabilities a voice and a chance to continue their education and get jobs.
The teachers there are so caring and understanding of the children. They take them to numerous places that they can work and give them the chance to try out different jobs to see what they like to do. The school is providing them with opportunities that not many other places can do for them. When talking to the teachers, you can feel the passion they have for the children to succeed not just in the classroom, but also in life. Providing opportunities for children with disabilities is extremely important to me and will be a very important platform for Monroe. We will be taking every opportunity to support places that give these kids a chance to succeed.
4. What was your experience like shooting the music video for “One More Night?”
This was so much fun. The director (Chris Vitiello) and I really got this whole thing together very quickly. We casted the actors in a matter of days, put together a story board, and shot the whole thing in about two days! I really wanted the video to reflect the song but in a fun way that people would want to watch over and over. I think we were successful. The video focuses on the light hearted side of the song but definitely explores the deeper level of self-awareness through our monkey character. Over all, it was an amazingly fun experience!
5. You have stated that you want “One More Night” to “be an anthem to all that need it” and that it can apply to many situations. How important is it for you to connect with your listeners on this higher level?
I always want the listener to have fun while listening to the album. Number one priority on the surface level is; do you enjoy this music and does it invoke something inside you? On a deeper level, I want the listener to be able to relate to the music in some way. Maybe “One More Night” for some listeners helps them through a break up or the death of a family member; or maybe it helps you celebrate something you went through and you have overcome. I want the listener to interpret the songs however they feel. Then, on an ever deeper level; I want them to read these interviews so they can see my perspective and maybe help them understand where I am coming from. “One More Night” is a celebration, heart break, perseverance, and righteous anthem. It covers the spectrum from relationships to internal discovery.
6. You recently played The Viper Room. What was that experience like for you?
This was amazing. It was the first time I got the opportunity to play the new songs live. We performed for a pre-Grammy Awards event in front of a huge crowd in an infamous venue; what more could you ask for?
7. You also opened for Ingrid Michaelson. What did you learn from that experience?
I opened for Ingrid a while ago, but what I really took away from the experience was how great of a person she is. Of course the show went well and everyone sounded great; but you could say that for a lot of bands. What I found particularly great was how warm and welcoming she is. I never met her before the show and the moment I walked into the room; she gave me a big hug and made me feel so welcome. It’s hard to find great musicians like that these days. It was amazing to open for her and I hope we can do it again soon!
8. What was the first and last album you bought?
I remember the first album I was ever given as a kid was 52nd Street by Billy Joel. I think the first album I purchased with my “own money” was Meteora by Linkin Park when I has eleven, I think. The latest album I purchased is Lovely Little Lonely by The Maine.
9. The year is halfway through. What is your favorite song of album of the year thus far?
Honestly my favorite album this year I have heard is Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book. I just connect with it. I think the writing and music is so well done and beautifully written. It’s a really expressive hip hop record.
10. What would you like our readers to know about the band that they might not be aware of?
A really cool thing about this band is the way we all collaborate. Some guys in the band have played with other bands like Augustana, Brandon Flowers, Lauryn Hill, and many more. It’s so great to create an album with these guys because we bring so many different musical elements to the table; that we get this hybrid product that you’ll hear on the EP. My biggest partner in crime for this record is Jake Owen, an amazing guitar/bass player and producer. Without him this EP would to be possible. I’m really excited for everyone to hear it.
Check out the music video for “One More Night”