Photo: Francesca Ludikar
Photo: Francesca Ludikar

Five Questions With… Monowhales’ Sally Shaar

Toronto's Monowhales is set to roar back on March 5 with the new album, Daytona Bleach, but they’ve been building anticipation over the past year with the singles RWLYD (Really Wanna Let You Down) and All Or Nothing, which demonstrate the hard-hitting sonic diversity that marks the album as a whole.

The latest single from Daytona Bleach, Out With The Old, is the group's most powerful statement so far, with its message of generational change delivered in a taut, modern hard rock package. Indeed, Monowhales has been leading its own indie-rock revolution, having earned the distinction of being 2020s' most played unsigned artist on Canadian alternative radio.

Much of that success is based on the band’s tireless work ethic since they arrived on the scene with their 2017 debut single, Take It Back, and the follow-up six-song EP, Control Freak. Both gave the ensemble a foothold at radio and led to touring slots with Sloan, Marianas Trench and others.

The band is now itching to get back on the road in support of Daytona Bleach, and recently got to hone their live chops with a scorching live-streamed performance at Toronto’s refurbished El Mocambo club. We caught up with lead vocalist Sally Shaar to find out about what’s in store, and you can get more info at

What was your approach to Daytona Bleach compared to Control Freak?

We are all different people since Control Freak, and we've come a long way musically and personally. We hope that these songs dig deep and speak to people as much as they speak to us. Control Freak felt rawer. Daytona Bleach takes that element but combines it with carefully crafted and curated sounds that blend together seamlessly. Ultimately, we like for fans to tell us what they find different in it. We just do what feels right and hope for the best. 

What songs on the album have particular meaning to you and why?

All Or Nothing came out in the heart of the pandemic, and it's a song that we were dying to release as we felt it was an anthem for those who work their asses off for their passion. We are delighted that fans reach out to us to tell us their triumphant stories about getting through rough times to get to where they are now. Hearing people connect with our music makes us feel even more joy in what we do. He Said/She Said (I Wait) is my personal favourite though.

You got to play a live stream show at the refurbished El Mocambo in Toronto. What was that experience like?

In reality, we were all so emotional leading up to, and during, those shows at the El Mo. Playing live is our favourite part of making music, and it's been a hard time to not do what we love for a living. We wanted to give everything to the fans watching. We treated it like all the other shows we play. Whether there is one person in the room or many, we will always put on the best show we can. The day we get to perform again in a sweaty room with our fans will again be a hard day to keep it together. I am sure tears of joy will be shed all around. 

How else have you adapted to engaging with your audience over the past year?

We've always been active on social media, so we are on that tip. We've also been trying to do contests and local giveaways to show some love for our fans and the community. Keep it fun, you know? Currently, we have a storefront at 1200 Bloor Street West in Toronto, and we encourage everyone to come by and take a pic! There is also a sick new Instagram filter to go along with the album, and on March 5 we will be doing a live stream on YouTube to celebrate the release of the album.

What's your mindset looking ahead to the playing live on a regular basis again?

As soon as it is safe, we will be back out on the road to play in your town. We are definitely ready to go! We feel the future is bright; it doesn't really benefit us to think it's going to be grim. In difficult times we humans find great innovation, especially in art. I look forward to that.

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