You might know Mononeon from his always creative, often hilarious social media presence – this guy can make a bass riff out of anything – but did you know that this Stax Music Academy alum is also the last bass player to collaborate with Prince? From his signature style to his musical genius, there’s a lot to dig into with Mononeon – we started with our usual Five Questions.
When and how did you come up with the name Mononeon?
I used to call myself PolyNeon but changed it to MonoNeon in 2011 because I got bored. I love neon light installations, Dan Flavin and Joseph Kosuth stuff… so my fascination with neon colors and lights inspired my moniker.
What was it like to collaborate with Prince?
Before I started playing with Prince, he hired me to play in Judith Hill’s live band. After working with Judith, Prince invited me back to Paisley Park to play with him in late 2015 till early 2016. Me and Prince played about six Paisley Park After Dark shows and eventually recorded together – one of the songs he released while he was living was “RUFF ENUFF” in January 2016 (Prince on guitar and keys, MonoNeon on bass, Kirk Johnson on drums and Adrian Crutchfield on vocoder/sax)
Your approach to music has been described as conceptual and experimental – how would you describe it?
I really don’t know… haha! When I got into John Cage and Stockhausen, like just listening to that stuff… I wanted to be that plus funky like Albert King and Mavis Staples. That’s what I think about a lot… those combinations of sounds. Honestly right now I’m just doing whatever, writing more songs the best I can.
If you could collaborate with any of your musical heroes, who would you want to work with next?
Donald Fagen… well the band Steely Dan, I want to play with them. I would love to collaborate or even simply jam with artists like Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, Mavis Staples, FKA twigs, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Eric Andre, etc.
How do you choose which viral videos to put your signature spin on?
I listen for a peculiar cadence and weird phonetic things. But also see if it makes me laugh or makes me think about my life.