Zoon Blundstone playlist artist.

Daniel Monkman (Zoon): Hard work and sacrifice

Fresh off a trip home to Manitoba, at the tail end of a five-interview day that wrapped up with multiple record-label meetings, Daniel Monkman—a.k.a. Zoon—would be forgiven for a sedated conversation. But there’s no sign of fatigue as an animated Monkman shares their insight into all things Zoon and Ombiigizi. 

Blundstone: You’ve released two albums in a handful of months, one as Zoon and another with your duo project, Ombiigizi. That’s a bit of a whirlwind!

Zoon: Ya, four days ago I released my sophomore album “Bekka Ma’iingan” under Zoon. I put out some singles, maybe four months before the official release, and it went really well. People have been really eager to hear my new record, because I haven’t put out an album in three years.

Zoon Blundstone Playlist Artist

I released some EPs, but they were very experimental. I was trying out new sounds, not worrying about conceptualizing a new album. I was testing the waters of things I could do in the future, exploring pop or folk. The full album is more of a fleshed-out idea of stuff I’ve been going through the past four years.

Blundstone: And what’s happening with Ombiigizi and your debut album, “Sewn Back Together” (nominated for the Alternative Album of the Year Juno)?

Zoon: It’s a project I started with my Anishnaabe friend Adam Sturgeon. It’s mostly just a duo, but in recording sessions we hire our friends to record with us. We focus mostly on our Indigeneity and try to highlight our story. It’s really sensitive stuff that our band members haven’t experienced, so we’re grateful they make space for us to tell our story.

Blundstone: Your own story involved taking a break at one point, didn’t it? 

Zoon: There was a 10-year time when I quit music and tried to get a career being a normal person, going to school and trying to live outside of music and find purpose within that life. I was working long hours at construction jobs when I promised myself, “When I’m ready to do music again, if it works out, I'm going to work at it just as hard as I am now. I will apply everything to my music.”

Once I saw I could leave my day job, I really took music seriously. I thought, “I gotta start treating it like this is it. It’s this or going back to mopping floors.” Not that it’s a bad job, I'm just meant for something else.

I’m really grateful. It took a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice, that’s for sure.

Zoon is planning a late-June album release party in Toronto, and will be touring throughout the summer.  Follow their socials to keep in the loop: @zoongideewin and @ombiigizi.