Beyond the Valley: Behind the Scenes with Hey Monea
This week, I’m stepping outside the “comfort” of home and taking an in-depth look at Hey Monea, a pop/rock band from Canton, OH. I’ll do this from time-to-time because, quite simply, there is great music outside of the Lehigh Valley that deserves to be heard.
I’ve been following this band for several years now, and have had the pleasure of taking in numerous live performances as close to home as Atlantic City, NJ and in their home of Canton. Earlier this month, I caught up with them at the Little C Music Festival, an annual festival hosted by the band and organized with the help of their manager, Jason Spiewak (JLS Mgmt, Noble Steed), the City of Canton, and many local businesses/sponsors. The festival features a variety of local, regional, and national artists — many of whom have made it a point to be there each year. Now in its third year, the festival has grown in size and popularity, and will only continue to grow in years to come.
This year’s festival featured two outdoor stages a few blocks apart in the heart of downtown Canton. It was the first time the festival was held completely outdoors. I can’t imagine anywhere locally that would allow an outdoor concert in the heart of downtown to go on well past midnight or 1am, but Canton did. I asked Jason how they managed to pull this off, considering many places have noise ordinances and it required a section of Market Square to be blocked off for two days. He told me that the wheels were set in motion very shortly after last year’s festival, and it took the full cooperation of city officials and the many sponsors. The end result is something that breathes life into a city that could use something other than the Pro Football Hall of Fame to attract attention.
During the course of the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak with the Monea brothers, Daniel and Nate, about the festival, their role in organizing it, their music, and a whole lot more. I even had the chance to spend some time with Nate inside their studio, where the great music starts. Nate was kind enough to show me around, lend some insight to the editing, mixing, and mastering process, and allow me to sit in while recording vocal tracks for another artist who was in town for the festival — and to work on a project for an upcoming release.
So, what about their music?
I spent some time listening to their last full-length release, “The Fifty,” (2015) as well as their most recent single, “Push and Pull” (2018). In this new age of digital music and the decreasing popularity of CD’s, the band has taken to releasing their music one song at a time, and it seems to be working just fine for them. The thing that stands out the most with them is the amazing harmonies in almost all of their songs. It’s hard to imagine any two singers whose voices blend together better than brothers Nate (drums) and Daniel (guitar/keys). Daniel Monea may be one of the most incredible lead guitarists I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. They are completed by an excellent bass guitarist in Steven Fernandez.
They affectionately refer to their followers, friends, and fellow musicians as their “Ghetto Family,” (track 5 on the album “The Fifty”) and the word “Family” is exactly what you are to them. You will never meet anyone more engaging and down-to-earth as Daniel and Nate Monea anywhere in this business. They are truly what music is and should be all about — one big happy family.
Want more? Visit heymonea.com or check out their music on Spotify. I’ve included a stream to the new single, “Push and Pull,” below.