The Mung Beings New EP It’s Not Over

In It’s Not Over, The Mung Beings address the most pressing issue of our times, the climate crisis. Lyricist Saadiah Fowlkes was inspired by Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything, to pen the words. While condemning the “fat cats in the back of the Benzes” and noting that “we’re tipping towards extinction” the song also offers hope with the message that “we still have time if we make the commitment”. As Klein concluded in her book we can’t reply on government or corporations to take the necessary steps so we need to come together and take collective action to save our future.

Special guest on the song is Saad’s father, Curtis Fowlkes, an internationally renowned jazz trombonist and in demand session musician who has worked on records by Glen Hansard, Sheryl Crow, Iron and Wine, Horace Andy, Elvis Costello and Lou Reed.

The EP features four remixes from the other two members of the band and two instrumentals.

The Mung Beings are producers Allan Thomasson and Nigel Braddock (from Australia and New Zealand respectively) and vocalist Saadiah Fowlkes from New York. The three met in Berlin where they recorded their debut album, soon to be released on Monkey Records.

Braddock is the founder of Monkey Records and has produced many albums for the label over the last twenty years. Thomasson has played in iconic New Zealand bands Cloudboy and Mink. Fowlkes is a rapper and singer and has performed at venues all over the world, mostly in his hometown NYC and Berlin, his home for nine years. He was a member of the rock/hip hop band Natural Selection and has shared the stage with Wyclef Jean and Mark Ronson.

 

 

Goodbye Lockdown by Cosmo and the Cosmonaut

Goodbye Lockdown is the new single from Berlin-based father and son band, Cosmo and the Cosmonaut.

“Cosmo has been homeschooling for most of the last year and as part of his music lessons we recorded an album,” says the Cosmonaut aka New Zealand-born Monkey Records label boss Nigel Braddock, who was also spending a lot more time at home than usual. “We dedicate this song to anyone who’s been in lockdown over the last year and a half.”

Ten year old Cosmo raps about how the initial novelty of homeschooling quickly wore off and how he just misses his friends, “Now I realise school isn’t so bad, when I see my friends again I will be so glad.” He also takes a swipe at conspiracy theorists, “Some people don’t believe the virus is real, they’ve watched too much YouTube maybe that’s their deal.” Ultimately the message is one of unity and hope, “We need to come together, to stand as one. When this thing’s all over we’re going to have some fun.”

Cosmo and the Cosmonaut invited friends from around the world to take part and the chorus features contributions from Germany, UK, New Zealand, USA, Australia, Portugal, Japan, Greece, Poland, Cambodia and Vanuatu. The accompanying eye-catching music video features each contributor as part of a colourful Zoom choir.

Goodbye Lockdown is the first single to be released from Cosmo and the Cosmonaut’s second album due later in the year. Their first album, Ultra Mega was released in May 2019.

Broad Oak releases hypnotic video for Worms

Broad Oak is the solo project of Monkey Records founder Nigel Braddock who set up the label in 2000. The original loop for Worms was recorded 20 years ago and recently, while under a strict lockdown in Berlin, he completed the track as part of a forthcoming EP. Beginning with a strident piano phrase and menacing strings the track transitions to a three way dialogue between trumpet, clarinet and oboe before rising to a peak and breaking apart. “The title of the track comes from a particularly vivid dream,” explains Braddock. “I was lying dead in the ground yet somehow conscious. My body was decomposing and being eaten by worms and insects. I could feel things slithering through my eye sockets. In the beginning it was horrifying but ultimately I accepted it and relaxed into it.”

The mesmerising video is a collaboration with an AI called WZRD. The abstract fluidly evolving images sometimes reminiscent of cells and galaxies forming and decaying.

Braddock, who trained as a classical pianist, has produced many albums over the years for Monkey Records including records by John White, The Mung Beings, Charity Children, Dystopia and his project with his son, Cosmo and the Cosmonaut. His debut EP will be released later in 2021.

Ultra Mega Music Video by Cosmo and the Cosmonaut

Germany’s fourth most famous father and son electronic rap band, Cosmo and the Cosmonaut, present the music video for the title track from their debut album, Ultra Mega. The video is filmed entirely on the actual moon, where Cosmo and the Cosmonaut enjoyed a picnic of all their favourite vegan foods.

Some people will try and tell you that this video is fake but don’t believe them.

No vegetables or fruit were harmed in the making of this music video (apart from the ones that got eaten).

The Mung Beings – Lazy Boy

Lazy Boy is the third single from NY/Berlin-based band The Mung Beings and is a dub-inflected protest song against racism.

Saadiah Fowlkes, the rapper/vocalist from the band had this to say about the song:

“Lazy Boy is, essentially a coming of age story, detailing how painful It was for me growing up as a black boy in America. I talk about how, as a result of the systemic racism that is still all too pervasive in America, I would often feel thwarted in my efforts to live up to my full potential. How it felt to be unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. How frustrating it was for people not to see the fullness of my being, and how harmful it is to a person’s self-esteem when they are reduced to a stereotype. Ultimately, I would say that the message of the song is that there is only one race, the human race, and we should not allow ourselves to be reduced to stereotypes. I feel that the song is especially relevant, particularly in light of the BLM movement and the worldwide protests against police brutality in America. There’s even some footage in the video of me marching at one of the many protests that took place here in my hometown of Brooklyn. So my hope is that the song will resonate with POCs, for whom racism is a part of their daily experience, and promote empathy and understanding amongst non-POCs, many of whom are only beginning to understand what it feels like to inhabit the skin I’m in.”

The video features photos of Saad from his childhood interspersed with footage from Black Lives Matter protests and a psychedelic video montage from fellow band member Allan Thomasson.

From the forthcoming album by The Mung Beings.

Lazy Boy, the new single from The Mung Beings

Lazy Boy is the third single from NY/Berlin-based band The Mung Beings and is a dub-inflected protest song against racism.

Saadiah Fowlkes, the rapper/vocalist from the band had this to say about the song:

“Lazy Boy is, essentially a coming of age story, detailing how painful It was for me growing up as a black boy in America. I talk about how, as a result of the systemic racism that is still all too pervasive in America, I would often feel thwarted in my efforts to live up to my full potential. How it felt to be unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. How frustrating it was for people not to see the fullness of my being, and how harmful it is to a person’s self-esteem when they are reduced to a stereotype. Ultimately, I would say that the message of the song is that there is only one race, the human race, and we should not allow ourselves to be reduced to stereotypes. I feel that the song is especially relevant, particularly in light of the BLM movement and the worldwide protests against police brutality in America. There’s even some footage in the video of me marching at one of the many protests that took place here in my hometown of Brooklyn. So my hope is that the song will resonate with POCs, for whom racism is a part of their daily experience, and promote empathy and understanding amongst non-POCs, many of whom are only beginning to understand what it feels like to inhabit the skin I’m in.”

The video features photos of Saad from his childhood interspersed with footage from Black Lives Matter protests and a psychedelic video montage from fellow band member Allan Thomasson.

The Mung Beings release second single, Keepin It Movin On

NY/Berlin-based band, The Mung Beings, hail from diverse musical backgrounds and opposite ends of the earth. Their sound is a mash-up of future soul, conscious rap, electronica and jazz served up with conspicuous lyrics and a positive attitude.

Their new single single, Keepin It Movin On, brings a much-needed positive message of hope that encourages people not to give up their struggles and to keep pushing forward. Sickness, oppression, dishonesty and hard times can be overcome by focusing on what is good and right in the world such as love, family, friends and community. The Mung Beings say, believe in yourself and others and keep it moving on.

The Mung Beings are producers Allan Thomasson and Nigel Braddock (from Australia and New Zealand respectively) and Saadiah Fowlkes from New York. The three met in Berlin in where they recorded their debut album, soon to be released on Monkey Records.

Fowlkes is a rapper, singer and DJ. He has performed at venues all over the world, mostly in his hometown NYC and Berlin, his home for nine years. He was a member of the rock/hip hop band Natural Selection and has shared the stage with the likes of Wyclef Jean and Mark Ronson. He is the son of acclaimed jazz musician Curtis Fowlkes and is working on his solo album of entirely self-produced material.

Braddock, originally a classical pianist, plays keyboards on the album and was also responsible for recording and production. He founded Monkey Records in 2000 and has produced nine other albums to date including the award winning debut by Charity Children. He also plays in Dystopia, Cosmo and the Cosmonaut (with his son), has an electronic project called Broad Oak and composes minimalist solo piano music.

Thomasson plays bass and provides beats on the recordings and was an early auteur of seminal electronic dance music production in New Zealand in the 1990s with MINK and offshoot Cloudboy as well as creating video content for their live shows. In Berlin since 2003, Thomasson has worked with The Sacred Travellers a World Jazz Fusion group as well as producing his own electronic music as Boxroom Rebel. He is responsible for any video content on behalf of The Mung Beings including the Mung Days series.

Debut album coming late 2020.

Ultra Mega by Cosmo and the Cosmonaut out now

A Berlin-based father and son electronic music duo, Cosmo and the Cosmonaut released their debut album, Ultra Mega, in August 2019.

Featuring songs about climate change, the stupidity of war and not wanting to go to school, Ultra Mega addresses some of the most important issues facing kids (and adults) today. It’s not all about serious topics though; Ultra Mega Yum Yum is a celebration of their favourite food and I Like Water is a gargled anthem to H2O.

“A couple of songs also function as a form of therapy, for example the Shut Up Song”, explains the Cosmonaut. “Cosmo was going through a phase of telling me to shut up so I said, hey let’s write a song about that and you can tell me to shut up as much as you like. Now he gets the satisfaction of telling me to shut up a bunch of times whenever we play that song. We Are the Dumbheads was a reaction to a situation where Cosmo ended up feeling bad and calling himself a dumbhead and I said no, I’m the dumbhead for not anticipating that situation (which I should have). In the song, being a dumbhead becomes something positive and silly.”

Regarding the inspiration for the songs, “A lot of them began while riding our bikes around our neighbourhood. I would sing the bassline or do some beatboxing and Cosmo would rap on top. In the beginning, I was writing most of the music and lyrics but towards the end, Cosmo was coming up with some great ideas. He also plays keyboards and recorder on a couple of tracks.”

The Cosmonaut is a musician and producer and just happens to have a recording studio set up in his lounge so recording was an uncomplicated affair. “There was always a mic set up ready to go for whenever we felt creatively inspired”, says the Cosmonaut. Recording of the second album is already well underway. “We’re planning to release an album a year.”
It’s no coincidence that the Ultra Mega album begins with the words of 15 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg, “You’re never too small to make a difference”. “She made a big impression on us,” says the Cosmonaut, “and we thought if we record these songs and even if just one person hears them and makes some positive changes, then we will have made a difference.”

In the closing song of the album, This Is the End, eight year old Cosmo and his dad sing “Be kind to all, that’s our message.” Sounds like a mantra worth repeating.