- 12 Nov 04
A far cry from the sound of The Cranberries, Neil Hogan has explored "liberating" electronic avenues with new project Monoband
Fans wanting to know what Noel Hogan's post-Cranberries project, Monoband, sounds like can find out by downloading the two tracks he's made available through European iTunes.
While the service is not yet available in Ireland, people in 11 other EU countries can cop an earful of 'Release' featuring Woodstar's Fin Chambers and the Kate Havnevik-assisted 'Invitation'.
Although unlikely to shoot to the top of the Belgian gabba charts, the tracks are as reliant on loops and samples as they are Hogan's trusty Fender Strat.
"The Cranberries deciding last year to take a break means that I've been able to work on my own stuff full-time, but even before then I'd been listening to a lot of Beck and Moby and wondering, without going hardcore dance, how to incorporate the electronic side of things into my writing," he explains from his Limerick pile. "There was something very liberating about being in my own little studio rather than a formal band environment. I'd go in there after breakfast and refuse to come out until the rough mix was finished!"
Having decided to assign vocal duties to other people – "Anyone who's heard me sing will know why!" he quips – Noel MP3ed those mixes to eight guest vocalists including Eagle-Eye Cherry.
"It wasn't so much a recruitment process as me randomly coming across singers I liked and asking them to come on board," Noel explains. "They're more collaborators than featured vocalists because although I did all the music, the melodies and lyrics were down to them. The really exciting part, which reminded me of being 15 and waiting to hear how your first demo had turned out, was getting the songs back. Some were pretty much as I imagined they'd be, while others were completely different."
Although predominantly a DIY affair, Hogan had occasion to cal on Alabama 3/XTC programmer Matt Vaughan and his old producer friend Stephen Street.
"There were a few tracks where I felt my production wasn't doing the vocal justice so I contacted Stephen and he said 'Come on over!' He told me the other stuff I'd done was really good, which coming from the man responsible for all those classic Smiths albums was a big confidence booster!"
Currently shopping the album round the majors, Hogan is lining a series of Monoband gigs up for the new year.