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Monophonics Invite You to Sage Motel at Madison Theater

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Photo by Geoff Whitman

Cincinnati has a long history of soul, funk, and blues, so when we hear a new spin on a traditional sound, we take notice. Monophonics have taken those genres and mixed psychedelic rock into the mix. It sounds unconventional on paper, but to the ear, the band sounds strangely familiar. It would be a challenge to find a group that is truly more eclectic than the San Francisco-based quintet.

You can take our word for it or you can see and hear for yourself at Madison Theater on Friday night. Monophonics are on tour with GA-20 and Kendra Morris in support of their most recent record, Sage Motel out now via Cincinnati's own Colemine Records. We sat down with band leader, singer, songwriter, and producer Kelly Finnigan about Friday’s show and Sage Motel.

Inhailer: Your newest album came out in May and has been received with much

acclaim. What could you tell a newcomer about their first visit to Sage Motel?

Finnigan: Sage Motel tells the stories of some of the people that pass through and share a common thread in life. It’s a place where folks experience the highs and lows of the human experience. It’s where big dreams and broken hearts live. It inhabits sex, drugs, ups, downs, happiness, bitterness, love, lust, hustlers, business men, artists, grifters, hookers & squares. It’s a place where people seem to find themselves at a crossroads in life. We made a record with a concept to examine a particular place where the stories are told and the experiences unfold... and this place is Sage Motel.

Inhailer: Do you feel like you have changed as a band since the release of It’s Only Us?

How is Sage Motel different?

Finnigan: I wouldn’t say we have changed too much outside of the natural growth a human and artist experiences year by year. The pandemic definitely put us all through challenging times but we adjusted and decided to create this record. 

I think there’s some common textures and sonic qualities about the two records, but I do believe they are different. Sage Motel is a more moody record. The compositions on Sage Motel, I feel, carries more emotion and there are personal events written about which always makes pieces of the record feel more meaningful. The conceptual part adds a unique and mysterious element to it as well. Production wise, it is more of a keyboard heavy record, where as past records have been more guitar heavy. 


Inhailer: Combining psychedelic rock and heavy soul seems like a tricky combination. Songwriting-wise, do you ever find yourselves going down an unexpected path?

Finnigan: It’s actually not too tricky at all. There are a lot of artists that have successfully made records combining both genres. They work really well together. We feel like that combo has become our sound and a big part of our brand. It suits us and what we are trying to achieve as creators, musicians and writers. The challenge of growing and exploring while staying true to your roots is the real challenge. 


Inhailer: Do you put on the brakes when that happens or do you see where it takes you?

Finnigan: We always go where the music takes us! It doesn’t mean it sticks or ends up being used, it just means we don’t fight it. 


Inhailer: You’ve been keeping busy touring in September and more in October including a stop at Madison Theater on October 7th. How does it feel to be back on the road again?

Finnigan: It feels really great! We are really enjoying having Kendra Morris and GA-20 out here on the road with us. Feels like family. The shows have been going really well and it’s a killer bill from top to bottom. 


Inhailer: Since 2012 when you joined the band, you’ve played hundreds of shows

around the world. Are there a couple of places you can’t wait to get back to and visit?

Finnigan: I love Ireland, Netherlands, NYC, Budapest, Chicago, Portugal & London.


Inhailer: Have you had a particularly memorable experience on the road that you feel would make a great short movie?

Finnigan: Yeah, I think so, really there are so many…when thinking more about all of them, it might have to be R rated. 


Inhailer: You’ve come to Greater Cincinnati a few times before. Are we properly

prepared for what you have in store for us?

Finnigan: Yes we have been there and we are very excited to be back! Given the deep history of soul, rhythm & blues and funk in Cincinnati and Ohio, I would like to think that you are well good and ready, but you never know! It’s a really dynamite show from start to finish so maybe not…

Monophonics, GA-20 and Kendra Morris will be playing Friday, October 7 the Madison Theater in Covington, KY.

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