southern rock with a james dean twist.

by liza darwin

We're calling it now...Nashville rockers Mona are about to take over your stereo. And your best friend's. And your boyfriend's. Who knows, maybe even your parents' (yes, they're that good)! This foursome has a danceable, totally addictive rock sound that somehow appeals to everyone, regardless of where you live or what type of music you're usually into. And although it's easy to compare singles like "Trouble on the Way" and "Listen to Your Love" with fellow Southerners Kings of Leon, these swinging tracks have an extra injection of hi-fi energy that sets them apart. We talked with frontman Nick Brown about the band's secret to success (hint: it involves steak).

How did Mona come about?

Mona is my grandmother's name, and Mona as a concept has been around for a while now. It takes a while to find the right people to go in the ring with you, musically. We've been a band for about a year.

When did you first start playing music?

I grew up in church, but wanted a bigger platform than the 4 walls of an institution. I didn't even necessarily want my music to be religious, I just wanted it to be human. Apathy is alive and well than it's ever been. I'd rather have you not liking our music than not caring about it at all.

You guys have a unique old-school style. How did that come about?

It's all very natural. We just wear jeans and white t-shirts, leather jackets; it's all very grassroots. Lots of people talk about us referencing The Clash, and musically we love The Clash, but otherwise we're influenced by those who influenced them, like Marlon Brando and James Dean.

There was some mystery surrounding the band when you were just starting out...was that intentional? I was pretty strategic with everything. It's kind of like the new girl at school; those who hold out are the ones who everyone fantasize about. Instead of shoving it down their throats, I wanted people to experience the music and respond to it in a natural way. It's like the difference between a hamburger and filet mignon. You can have dozens of hamburgers, but you never forget a good steak.

Listen to Mona here.