University of Miami Frost School of Music students hope to revolutionize alternative rock-music culture by adding a female sound to a male-dominated industry.
Sophomores Amanda Pasler, Eli Yaroch, Logan Renneker, Samantha Govero, George Staton and freshman Jake Sonderman are the current band members of Ex Monarch.
It all started with a song. Pasler discovered her love of music at a young age through family influence as her dad worked in audio production. This led to her majoring in music engineering with hopes of pursuing her passion professionally. As a songwriter inspired by artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, Pasler began to write the soft and emotional song, “Amelia.”
Once Pasler realized she had something special, she consulted with Yaroch. Together they blended writing with lyricism to continue developing production. Yaroch had countless ideas as the pair sat working on it in a coffee house. The two tried many different routes out and once they explored the rock path, they agreed it was what best encapsulated the authentic meaning behind the song.
Yaroch has a self-proclaimed tendency to initiate big projects when excited. He quickly began bringing in the future members of the band as his faith in the project grew to help finish production.
“I do a lot of studio work,” Yaroch said. “I’m in there a lot just recording and recording whatever I want. A lot of that is weird shit but some of it, like Ex Monarch, has turned out well.”
In addition to being a songwriter, Pasler is their lead vocalist. Yaroch is a rhythm guitarist, producer and songwriter. Yaroch approached his “go-to” bandmate, Renneker, asking him to join Ex Monarch. After some persuasion, they brought him on board as lead guitarist.
Govero happened to send Yaroch a text asking him for help with a class assignment and he responded by inviting her to join their band as their bass player. Staton was then brought on as a drummer with broad skills ranging from jazz music to metal. The most recent to join was Sonderman. Sonderman worked with the band on production and development from the beginning, only in mid-February did he join the band as an official guitarist. When they began playing with each other, the group knew that they had something rare.
“It felt good,” Pasler said. “It felt natural, it felt right.”
Initially, Pasler did not envision herself being in a band but Yaroch’s enthusiasm and insistence that it was the right move persuaded her. All the members of the band now are eternally grateful for being brought together and agree that out of all their projects, Ex Monarch feels different.
“I feel like this band has a good amount of feminine and masculine influence which I feel like balances it a lot,” said Pasler.
The entire group’s unwavering confidence in their work speaks for itself. They all dream of recording multiple albums and eventually making it big while doing what they love with their friends.
“We all are pretty willing to keep this going past graduation as well,” Govero said. “So, we have kind of planned for that if it continues to go the way it’s going.”
The band’s commitment to the group as a whole and blending traditional alternative rock with a strong female lead makes their sound unique. Not only do they bring something fresh to the table, but they draw inspiration from leading talents from the early ‘90s.
“There’s a gap in rock music now of female influence and I feel like there has been for a very long time,” said Pasler. “This project will change that.”
The group confidently spoke on how they hope to revolutionize a genre once exclusive to males by bringing their unique vibe to the table.
“Music, in general, is a male-dominated genre,” Yaroch said. “It’s always been and I feel like now in our generation we’re trying to change that.”
The group came together in the fall of 2021, and they recently played their first live show on Feb. 19, 2022. Their nerves were running rampant which showed them how much they truly care about the band and contributing their meaningful music to society.
“I was really nervous the whole show,” Renneker said. “I was just trying to get my part right.”
Additionally, they released “Amelia,” on Feb. 25 on all streaming platforms including Apple Music and Spotify. This release follows up their second live performance which occurred on Feb. 24. The group enthusiastically is gaining momentum and they hope this semester to finish their EP, line up more gigs and grow their social media platform.
They made it known they do not want to be just another failed college band. They want to take Ex Monarch past college and all members collectively agreed their ultimate goal would be to tour.
“A lot of times you get into a rock band with your bros and your band sounds exactly like the music you already listen to, ” said Staton. “But if you have someone like Amanda or Logan who has very different musical tastes it really makes a nice blend of music.”
Pasler expressed that there is a female-led rock wave that Ex Monarch intends to ride. Before she could even finish her sentence, bandmate Renneker jumped in.
“We are the wave,” said Renneker.