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Photo Courtesy of Kapoor House

Monsoon: Athens’ Most Iconic Rock Duo

In the music world, a traditional rock band consists of at least four members. A singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer. Although this setup is common, famous bands such as The White Stripes, The Black Keys and The Kills have established that just two people can be as powerful as a fully equipped band. Creating and performing music as a duo is hard work, and truly iconic two-piece bands are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Monsoon, an introspective power-punk pair from Athens, Ga., has accepted this challenge and proven that it only takes two.

Emma Swales

In the music world, a traditional rock band consists of at least four members. A singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer. Although this setup is common, famous bands such as The White Stripes, The Black Keys and The Kills have established that just two people can be as powerful as a fully equipped band. Creating and performing music as a duo is hard work, and truly iconic two-piece bands are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Monsoon, an introspective power-punk pair from Athens, Ga., has accepted this challenge and proven that it only takes two.

Most musicians tend to focus on a specific genre and stick to what fits, but that isn’t the case for vocalist/guitarist Sienna Chandler and drummer Joey Kegel. This dynamic duo unveils the perfect chaos of cyberpunk, a little bit of 90’s alternative rock and new-wave indie. Monsoon breaks the restrictive mold of genre and constructed an entirely new sound that is almost undefinable. 

Monsoon got its start in 2012 when Chandler met Kegel while attending a rock camp called Camp Amped in Athens. The twosome quickly began writing songs and working on what would soon be their debut album, Ride a Rolla.

“We were in high school, so we didn’t really know how the process was for being in a band,” said Chandler. “We just played shows and then 2015 was when we released Ride a Rolla. We were just playing downtown and managing being in high school while simultaneously entering this very adult world.”

Soon after the album’s release, Monsoon was contacted by Toyota in regard to their title track, “Ride a Rolla.” The car company wanted to use the song in an advertisement that would air right after the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. 

“They Facebook messaged me on our band page, and we said yes to it,” said Chandler.  “It’s still like one of those really surreal unbelievable things because we had only played in Athens, and I wondered how did they find me and how did they know Monsoon?” 

Although Ride a Rolla was gaining lots of traction, Monsoon decided to take a break and split up in 2016. After their extended hiatus, Chandler decided to reach back out to Kegel and reunite the iconic artsy rock duo.

“I was 22 and I was thinking we need to get the band back together,” said Chandler. “I was probably the youngest person to ever say that just because we started so early. During that time, I was super bummed that there was no outlet and no Monsoon. 

“I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey do you remember that thing we used to do and do you want to do it again?’” continued Chandler. “I wrote a couple of new songs and showed them to him and thought he would have to say yes.”

Kegel said yes and Monsoon immediately started to build its sophomore album, Ghost Party. The couple was low on money, so they decided to engineer and record the entire album themselves. This challenge allowed them to get creative with their unique sound and shape their own craft. 

“We started steamrolling into the Ghost Party universe which took about 5 years,” said Chandler. “It was a really long process and such a wonderful one.”

“It was a learning curve trying to figure out a different sound,” continued Chandler. “Around that time, we learned about the infamous harmony stacking and we went overboard adding a lot of harmonies on the album. It’s a big part of the album because we didn’t know any better.”

Ghost Party finally made its debut in February of 2022, announcing the couple’s long-awaited return to music. According to Chandler, this album allowed the band to expand and grow a larger audience. This successful comeback led to lots of new fans, shows and touring.

“We have gotten roped into this whole DIY touring thing which completely snowballed,” said Chandler. “It has gotten to the point where I wanted it to be, but now I’m in this flux of saying ‘I have got to write new songs, I also have this tour coming up,’ and all these things.”

Monsoon has recently announced a stacked itinerary for its 2024 tour and will be traveling to several southern states. According to Chandler, the iconic pair is here to stay and working towards lots of new and unique material. Monsoon’s yin and yang energy has shown that a strong duo can be even more powerful than a traditional four-piece band. 

“It’s great, fast forward ten years later and here we are. We have been playing together since high school,” said Chandler. “I am very grateful to be where we are right now.”