Monsters Calling Home not only has a unique name, but was cultivated by faith. They formed in September 2011 and since then produced authentic music with a lot of heart and soul. They graciously took their time out of their tour to answer some questions for their fans. Check out what inspired them to unite and create feel good music.
Interview by Yuri Na, Kollaboration SF Community Relations Manager
Your band name is very unique and interesting, where does it come from and what does it mean?
The song Monsters Calling Home comes from stories of immigrant families and how they try to work and live under a foreign sun and where/who they call home. Alex Hwang wrote the song, and we auditioned the song at Kollaboration LA 2011 and used it for our band name.
How would you describe your sound? Do you see the band evolving into another sound? If so, what different elements would you explore?
Gangster Folk Oriental with the touch of Jesus. Depending on music influences and personal journeys, this is really difficult to answer. As of now, we are still trying to figure out current sound. We love stories, we love strings, we love drums, we love singing loud, quiet and sometimes not at all.
How would you describe the song writing process?
For the songs we have presently, they are written by Alex and brought to the rest of the band and fleshed out. Otherwise, everyone brings ideas to rehearsals whether lyrics, melodies or stories and we hash it out. The idea is to cultivate a garden where each band member feels safe and creative to plant seeds and then through our relationships and our individual pursuits of God – the soil produces some good musical fruit.
What kind of message do your song lyrics have?
Our lyrics are stories of the people we are, the people we love and the people we want to be. Sometimes about people we don’t want to be. The message could possibly be about being able to start a conversation about family and relationships. Or it could be about recognizing the monsters within us all. Or it could be none of that entirely.
Do you guys have a full album put together?
We’re working on putting all of our song right now into some form of an album as they are all demos right now. We’ve only been a band for less than a year and are still figuring out our sound and songs and set.
Do you have a target audience for your music?
Little children, their older siblings, their parents and grandparents.
Where do you see your band in 5 years?
Hopefully touring with a finished album with an exciting and inspiring live show. Hopefully have another album or two worth of songs that we love singing/sharing and others want to hear and buy so that we can continue doing this not as a hobby.
Where are all the band members from?
Everyone besides John Chong the drummer comes from the San Fernando Valley. We attend Lifestream Church while John attends Reality. Alex has been performing as a singer songwriter around Los Angeles. Daniel Chae has been in two bands, “Feats In Inches” and “The Nehemiah Band” – the latter with John. Jennifer has been playing violin for years. Sally and Joe were tricked into being in the band after Kollaboration by Alex. With each practice, Alex slowly asked more and more from each and then after a photo shoot, Joe and Sally along with the rest of the band realized people outside of church were recognizing them as Monsters Calling Home.
What is one word to describe your other band members?
Daniel: Saber tooth tiger
If you had to pick an artist to represent your band, who would it be?
Young Humma and Flynt Flossy because they are brilliant, they are serious about their craft but take themselves not so seriously. To get a sense of their background, YouTube “Smanging” and “Did I mention I like to dance.” After watching both videos all the way through, if you don’t agree, we probably won’t be able to share an ice cream cone joyfully. Just kidding but sort of not really probably.
If your band had to choose one charity to donate to, what cause would it be and why?
Lifestream House Roots. Our church is partnered with Penial Church in Beira, Mozambique and their efforts to build community and sustainable living physically and spiritually. Lifestream House Roots is our church’s medium to continue our support financially and communally. We strive to make delicious coffee and equally delicious music within our means and abilities.
What do you guys like to do for fun?
Sally likes to dance, mostly without music. John shaves like a boss with his straight razor. Daniel and Joe take wedding videos and photos underdchae.com. They were recently featured in stylemepretty.com. Jennifer mostly eats and plays violin and then takes Instagram shots of her food. Joe is also a great climber – bouldering and top roping. John and Alex are really good at Mario Kart 64. Alex enjoys finding a nice pair of Levi’s that John usually has to pick out for him.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Oreos with Peanut Butter and/or Nutella.
What kind of super power would you want to have?
Turning our farts into cash. We are a gassy band.
What are you passionate about a side from music?
Jesus. Joe loves climbing rocks and tank tops. Food. Food. Food. Did I mention Food. yes. Food.
Do you guys have a hidden talent?
If I told you, it won’t be hidden anymore. Let’s just say that when our powers combine, a big blue man with green hair gives us recycling tips and tells us the power is ours.
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