story / Ariana Tibi
photo/ Sarah Noel
How do you capture love when you receive it? Does it feel the same as when you give it away? And where does self-love show up in all this? The amazing cycle of human connection may be undefinable, but LA’s dream-pop artist Monogem has just personified its many colors in her latest single, ‘So Many Ways.’
‘So Many Ways’ is an ode to the kaleidoscope that is love. In her video below, Monogem features two couples and illustrious makeup artist Matthew RC Taylor dancing with love, even if they are alone. The energy circulating the video floats between adoration and confidence, with Monogem herself representing one aspect that may just be the most integral: self-love.
“This video celebrates that feeling and how far we’ve all come as a humanity when it comes to expressing ourselves.” When I asked her what she thought the most universal thing about love was, Monogem frankly replied: “It’s the one language we all understand.”
Celebrate yourself and the myriad of ways we can love, and keep up with the gem on her Instagram. Read our full interview below to find out the two things Monogem needs when writing a song and how she practices self-love.
What was the process of writing this song like? Did you begin with a melody, a lyric, a feeling, a situation?
The process of writing this song started with percussion loops and some chords. I wrote this song with two incredible and intuitive women, Sonia Kreitzer and Wynne Bennett—who also produced the track. Wynne’s studio is full of instruments and we just started handing our friend Guillermo Brown (amazing musician/artist) anything percussive to bang on. We must’ve tracked like 20 different percussion instruments. We thought it was interesting to start a song out with just vocals and percussion. It gave the start of the song so much energy and life, which matched a feeling I had about all of the different ways I know how to receive love on a daily basis.
There are many different characters in this video. What did you want them to each represent?
The best part about casting this visual is that I got to work with friends of mine and real couples. I wanted to capture true human emotion and intimacy on camera, and being involved every step of the way with my director, Jenna Johns, was beautiful and rewarding. I also personally interviewed each character about what love means to them which was too special. I wanted the characters to represent connection, acceptance, confidence, independence, and self-love.
There is something so freeing about your role in this video, singing to yourself in the mirror. Which form of love do you represent in the video?
I represent self-love in the video. Singing this song to myself in the mirror was actually pretty freeing, that’s a great way to put it…I kind of fell in love with myself while making this video. There is a certain closeness and tenderness to the way the visual was shot, it’s intimate and yet feels so casual. This video celebrates that feeling and how far we’ve all come as a humanity when it comes to expressing ourselves.
In your explanation of love, you say it all starts within. What are some ways you practice self-love?
Carving out time to spend alone, therapy, yoga, meditation, participating in art forms other than music, eating clean, but also treating myself, and most importantly, avoiding self-destructive behavior.
I have a lot of friends who don’t know what self-love feels like. What is one defining characteristic of self-love? How does it manifest?
Clarity. Particularly when making big decisions about goals and the things I want. I think this manifests with experience, age, and lots of digging.
To you, does love at first sight exist?
Love is a spectrum that, as you profoundly sing, we can design and define in many ways. In your opinion, what is the most universal thing about love?
It’s the one language we all understand.
Think back to when you were a teenager, or a child. How has your definition of love changed over time?
Honestly, as a child and teen I never practiced self-love…I don’t think I even truly knew what it meant to love myself until recently. I think adding myself into the equation has been the biggest change over time. I’m done with the self-doubt and the need for approval. I love myself. I could’ve never said that out loud as a teenager.
What is one thing you absolutely need to have by you when you’re writing a song?
Two things: Water and weed.
What artist are you currently inspired by?
Heavily inspired by Rosalía at the moment. Also the new Blood Orange record is dope.
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