Our way to Banana Monkey has been fun, curvy, and interesting. Talking with these guys is an experience with its own flavor. Same thing as it is to be at their concerts, you have to be there to see them glow all their colors while they play.
It took some time to set the base of our intentions towards life, music, and what we do, before I got Bono to say yes to interview him. I have personally enjoyed the whole process, the conversations with Misuzu, the random encounters around Shanghai with Linfeng, the backstage talks with all the band, the concerts standing on the front side of the stage enjoying like a fan, and the experience of Ox taking photos of them, discovering their image and style. Banana Monkey are a band of fire and water, they are romantics, they love rock ‘n roll, they love to have fun, they love girls, they love love, they are a classic.
Bono is a crazy talented fashionable rocker. He doesn’t have an easy to get attitude, all the opposite, hard to get is the game. But if you come straight to him, he responds directly and sharply. You can see that he knows a lot about himself and his charms, but when he is on the stage he shows his vulnerable spots, he lets himself go freely, and with that is magnetism becomes more powerful. That’s the moment to get him.
This interview was done a couple of months ago, when we started to get closer to Banana Monkey, and it’s been waiting patiently but eagerly to be published the day before our concert with Banana Monkey head lining it. The time is now!
LAYABOZI: Where are you from? And what do you do? …besides singing
I am a Shanghainese, my work is the dress designer, I have my own brand WHEREWHATWHO
LYBZ: Banana Monkey broke up and separated some years ago. Can you tell me how happened that you reunited now? What happened? or why are you back together? What did bring you back together again?
Bono: 香 蕉猴子成立在2006年，2009年上半年的时候停止活动，2011年9月30日复出第一场演出，有很多原因，没有一个固定的故事背 景，就像摇滚乐一样， 由很多个短暂的的歌组成了一个不一样的命运和风格；重新开始后，我们只能用一句话来形容我们的停止和重新开始，那就是，分久必合，合 久必分；（中国的成语 典故）关键是，当我们重新开始的时候，发现大家都更加认真，更加具有热爱音乐的心态了，可以说是更加成熟和更加目标一致了；
Banana Monkey started on 2006, then at the beginning of 2009 we split, and o September of 2011 we reunited. All happened for many reasons, it’s not just one story. Rock became the same, and there were differences on our ideas about where to go with the style on our songs. After a fresh start now, we can’t explained well why we stopped and then we reunited, things appart for a long time eventually come together, and things together for a long time eventually must divide. The key is that we make a fresh start we discover that everybody is more earnest, more mature, and our goal is more consistent.
LYBZ: The songs you are singing now, are they all new? all old? Are you producing new songs?
Bono: 重 新开始后，短短两个多月我们就一起写了几首新歌，已经演出过的是MISS FUR；之后还会在新的演出中不断增加新歌，可以说2009年停止前我们几乎很长时间没有新歌，而现在当我们重新开始的时候，发现我们写新歌的感觉很好， 很快，这一切也归功与时间，没有停止就没有更激烈的开始；
When we decided to reunite we met first for two months to write new songs, we are already performing “Miss Fur”. And we will continue creating more new songs for our coming shows too. We will stop playing our old songs, with this new start, after a long time without having new songs, we discovered that we like a lot the feeling of writing new songs, and it’s happening quickly, we will see the results with time.
LYBZ: What is the plan of Banana Monkey for this new period of your life?
Bono: 之后的计划：首先是写足够多足够好的新歌；然后录制专辑，做一些有意思的演出，没有太大的计划，只是想让一切变得简单，容易， 年轻，好玩，
First to write as many good new songs as possible. The to record them, and to do some interesting performances. It’s not a big plan, we want things to happen easily, simple, lightfully, and we want to enjoy it.
LYBZ: What is Banana Monkey for you, personally? What it means this band in your life?
Bono: 这个乐队对我个人的意义，我觉得是我命运中重要的组成部分，影响了我几乎全部的生活，感情等；并带给我服装设计上很多灵感和全 新的价值观；
I think this band is an important part of my destiny, it has affected almost my whole life, and my feelings. Also it gives me inspiration to design clothes for my brand.
LYBZ: How did you get into rock?
In 1995 when I was in university, I had a band, I played the bass there. After I graduated I started another three new bands…
LYBZ: What is the origin of the name of the band, Banana Monkey?
At that time there was a song that had “banana…. monkey”. We thought that those two nouns were very amusing together, relaxed, funny, so we took it.
LYBZ: What are the themes of the songs of Banana Monkey? What do you sing about? and what inspires your music?
Our songs are mostly about us, fashionable girls, with ambiguous teasing. Also about party, family, as well as some sad matters. We generally make songs with short and interesting lyrics that are suitable to dance. We summarize what we feel in our lives, it’s small topics.
LYBZ: The change in the new line up of Banana Monkey is your new bass player LinFeng… what do you say is he adding to Banana Monkey?
He is very graceful, we need to have graceful musicians on the stage, moreover he is also talented. We told him to join us, that certainly he will have many girls liking him [laughs]
LYBZ: After the time you were apart and after the process of coming back together, do you think the band will stay long together now? what will keep you together?
I don’t think about the time the band can stay together, because it’s very difficult to solve this, like love, it’s like love between four individuals. We have not signed a contract with any record label, because we like to be free to rehearse and to perform, so as long as we have new song it can be a long time.
LYBZ: What music are you currently listening to?
I listen to many kinds of music, as long as they are interesting. Recently I’m listening multi- instrumental classic music, I think classic music has depth and philosophy in it
LYBZ: What do you think are the coolest bands in Shanghai and China?
There’s no one that’s the best, all of them have something, a same band will have a different charm in a different place, in a different show.
LYBZ: Commonly bands in China avoid to be controversial when they are asked about subjects that can be tricky, why do you think this happens? Shouldn’t rockers be straight forward and say what they think with no fear ?
The differences between people’s thinking is big, and we don’t want to force or to educate others with lyrics that can be misunderstood, this kind of ironic songs that can be very repugnant, moreover is it real that so-called sensitive issue? We are not a band from the States in the 60s, we only want to enjoy our joy!
Nothing else but if you miss it, it’s your loss, and it would be a very big one. Come to celebrate rock, fans, concerts, rockers and all that’s around of the good things in life.