Mar 21, 2023
A Classic Sound and Vibe
Sometimes, my music tastes can be a bit different than the norm, and I like to reminisce on the good ole days with some nostalgic sounding rock ‘n’ roll, so it’s quite fitting that I would stumble upon this next band, which I’ll now introduce to you.
Von Mons are a four-piece band hailing from New Jersey, whose sound exemplifies what a party in the 60s should sound like. The guitars have a surf vibe to them, and the vocals are distorted just enough to sound like an old-school 45 that has been played one too many times.
For a truly throwback listening experience, Von Mons music is best enjoyed loud, and if you happen to be near a beach, even better! Pull out that beach blanket, put the boombox down, and crank it up!
I genuinely wish I could pinpoint their sound and compare it, but I just can’t. Sure, there are hints here and there of Tom Petty, The Cramps, The Kinks, The Troggs, and even a little Herman’s Hermits, but when you really try to categorize or even compare them, you just can’t. These guys are unique and refreshing. Their sound is one that is missing these days amongst the clutter that has become rock music. One could even say their music would be the perfect soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino movie. In the end, though, they are truly just a funky mash-up of underground pop.
So, who, exactly, are Von Mons?
Well, in a nutshell, they are Cory Williams (vocals, guitar), Tyler Kolling (drums, vocals), Brain Manser (lead guitar), and Casey Estelle (bass, vocals). Releases include “Von Mons” (2017) and “Von Mons 2” (2020). All music can be found via the various streaming platforms and on YouTube. These guys are so much fun, they’ll make your head spin. I reached out to the band recently to gain a little more insight into what makes them so distinctive and was able to connect with Tyler Kolling, the drummer. Here’s what he had to say.
MaM: What year did the band form and what inspired the formation? Give me a little band history if you don’t mind.
TK: The band originally formed back in 2012. Sleepy (Cory) and I (Ty) were working at a bar in Asbury Park. We had a lot in common and bonded over our similar interests in music. We would always talk about playing together. We both didn’t really know what we were doing—still don’t, really—but [we] both had an interest in writing and performing music. Sleepy knew another dude named Sean that was really good at playing guitar. I guess you could say this was the first line up of the band: Sleepy on keys and rhythm guitar, me on drums, and Sean on lead. All of us singing. We played like that for a while, mainly in Sean’s garage or at Ty’s mom’s house. After a bit, we started taking it more seriously. We added Casey on bass and started playing gigs. Those early days were pretty wild and sloppy. Still are but just differently.
Over the years we have had a couple line-up changes. Ty took a break for a bit and Sean moved to Atlanta. Shawna Grabowski from Late Waves filled in on drums for a bit. She rips. Corey Frank filled in on lead guitar for a bit—also a ripper. Ty came back and we added Brian on guitar full time. That’s really where we are at now. Cory “Sleepy” Williams on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ty Kolling on drums and backing vocals, Casey Estelle on bass and backing vocals, and Brian Manser on lead guitar.
MaM: How would you describe your music influences for your sound?
TK: All of us grew up in the area surrounding Asbury Park. There was this radio station 1410AM Golden Oldies that played all the platters that mattered from back in the day … all the blasts from the past. We all grew up listening to that station, so it would be impossible to deny that as an influence. Other influences are stuff that our parents and siblings played when we were growing up—everything from Elvis and Buddy Holly to the Grateful Dead to Crass and the Ramones. Also, growing up near the beach for sure adds a bit of a surfy vibe to anything we do. Obviously, the garage rock groups of the 60s are a huge influence as well. If you listen to the garage/punk compilations of ‘Nuggets,’ ‘Pebbles,’ or ‘Back from the Grave,’ you will hear a lot of stuff we rip off.
MaM: Any new music being recorded currently? When can we expect a new album?
TK: We recently just finished our latest record called “Shakin’ with VON MONS.” We recorded it in Brian’s basement with Brian at the controls and the kids running around. It’s going to be released within the next couple of months. We are just working out a record release party and some last-minute art stuff. Follow our Instagram @vonmons for more info. We are really proud of this record. As we have said before, we are still on this adventure of figuring out how to make music. We feel like we are really starting to crack the code with this one. It’s a lot of fun. Not to say that the first two records weren’t, [but] we are just figuring out and refining our voice a bit more. Fourth record will follow shortly after this one. Recording for that starts soon.
MaM: Take us through the creative process. How do you come up with songs?
TK: We usually write music by bringing an idea to band practice. That idea could be as simple as a song title or a progression or a little lick of a song, OR that idea could be a fully realized song. That idea could be somewhere in between those examples. Whatevers. Anyways, the idea gets brought to the group and we all flesh it out and put our input into it. Then we learn it and mess it up when we play it out live. It’s a blast. We all submit ideas, but I would say the majority of them come from Sleepy. He’s a hit-making machine.
MaM: What music or things around you are inspiring you to create these days?
TK: Anything and everything. We hear, see, feel, or experience something and try to boil it down to a simple 2:30-long bopper. Hope our fun comes through to the listener. That’s our biggest challenge when recording—capturing our fun feeling. We really want the listener to experience that above all.
MaM: Have there been any notable shows you have played and why?
TK: Oh man. There’s been a bunch of great shows over the years. We love playing local gigs with friend bands. There’s also been some “bigger” gigs with touring bands that have been memorable and a lot of fun. Out of town shows with Todd-O-Phonic are always a blast. We are really just grateful that people wanna hear what we make. We have a lot of fun playing. Without people coming out to see our shows, that wouldn’t be possible. The best shows are really the ones where the crowd is engaged and there is that give and take between us and the crowd. We really dig it. We are just really appreciative for those early gigs, cuz [sic] we stunk, but people kept coming out and having a good time. That meant we kept getting more shows. We got better. Not much better, but hey, we couldn’t get much worse!
MaM: Love your “fuzz” sound with the guitar! What brand of instrument is used? Also, too, what pedals do you use to achieve your sound?
TK: Sleepy plays a Fender Mustang with some simple Overdrive pedals and lets it rip. Brian is getting this custom handmade guitar made by his brother-in-law and Petillo guitars; it’s a total frankenfreak of everything awesome. His pedals are always moving around and switching in and out. He usually centers them around a simple Overdrive pedal as well, though … cranks it and lets it rip.
MaM: With all you currently have going on, what are your aspirations for the future?
TK: We always joke around that being a true garage rock act means that we play music for a while, make a bunch of recordings, and then disappear, only to have our music rediscovered 40 or 50 years later and re-released, prompting us to go on tour in our mid-sixties and totally blow minds.
More realistically though? We will just continue to have fun and make music we think is cool. Hopefully the crowds dig it and nice people like you keep taking interest in us.
To experience all this is Von Mons, hit one of the links below!
Got something you’d like us to listen to? Hit us up! Send an email to email@example.com.