Monokino is the alias for Dutch pop composer George van Wetering who also formed and fronted the band Monokino - once part of the growing roster of foreign acts released by Chinese record company Modern Sky. 
Monokino gained a large following in China while also gaining traction in North America. Monokino frequently participated in China’s growing music festivals, including performances at the Strawberry Music Festival, the World Expo in Shanghai, and the Modern Sky Festival in Beijing. Highlights of their shows in North America were performances at SXSW, NXNE, CMJ, the Culture Collide festival, and the Sled Island Festival in Canada at which Monokino was considered the highlight of the festival. 
Monokino has worked with producers Tony Visconti and Jacco Gardner and Monokino's records have been released by Konkurrent's My First Sonny Weissmuller Recordings (Benelux), Zip Records (USA) and Modern Sky (China). Monokino's first single 'New Kid' has been unanimously praised for its quality and originality, and considered song and video of the week on several music blogs.

NEW RELEASE 'NO RETURN'  (JZ MUSIC / ZIP)
"This electronic, baroque and pop fusion is a mysterious and beautiful crossgenre single that once again showcases Monokino’s strong penchant for bittersweet melodies and atmospheres."  New Hit Singles
The song’s long awaited release is a tribute to Monokino's tours, collaborations and fond memories in China but can also be seen as a final cathartic cleanse of many of the negative emotions and stresses caused by the ongoing global pandemic:
The romantic ballad “No Return” was written when George van Wetering / Monokino was doubting his ability to stay in China and wavering about whether he should return home or not. Sadly, since the pandemic began this decision has been taken out of his hands. The decision to write and sing the song in Mandarin Chinese is a bizarre one, especially considering that the country had opened many doors for him once, closed many of its doors (career wise) currently and considering George does not speak the language fluently. Nevertheless, given the situation, there is certainly a bitter sweetness added through the song being sung in Mandarin and we hope listeners feel the same. 
George originally wrote the song with singer Li Liangchen in mind, who is known primarily for his work in the Chinese TV show “Sing my song”. At the time of writing, George and Li were already collaborating in Nanjing, but their creative differences were beginning to show. George didn't want to write mainstream Chinese music, especially considering that his musical roots and influences don’t go hand in hand with stadium rock. As such, George instead sent the track to long-time friend Xiao Nan (singer of all-female Chinese rock band Cobra) who liked it and eagerly encouraged him to sing it in Chinese. They thought that, even though George's pronunciation of Mandarin was difficult to understand, it would make the song particularly special. Xian Nan translated the text into Chinese – attesting that the translation was as faithful to the original lyrics as they could be.
Back in Amsterdam, during a 2020 Chinese New Year celebration, George debuted the song, performing to an audience of Dutch and Chinese listeners. Chinese visitors valued the Mandarin singing, even complimenting his language abilities. Similarly, Dutch locals praised the song as one of the set's best, specifically valuing the baroque electronic production.
The pandemic that started in China on that CNY day, delayed the premiere of the song and video in both China and the Netherlands. And merely two months later, in mid-March, the virus became prevalent in the Netherlands —creating new tensions between Dutch and Chinese locals. As the pandemic broke out and sped towards peak contagion, everything was quite uncertain, everyone focused on an invisible enemy, with the media providing little respite. George hopes the song will empower listeners by directly confronting the struggle and emotions emerging from it. Despite the song’s political neutrality, such an international single goes to show that globalism runs far deeper than politics.
The song itself sees George as a person who floats between the multiple worlds between East and West, exclaiming “there is no way back”. Looking to the future, the song surely comes as a precursor to music, be it singles or an album, from the singer who is currently working with producer/bass player of rock band M83, meaning there is definitely something emerging over the horizon.

PRESS ABOUT 'NO RETURN' (September 2020)

"An out-of-the-ordinary single: “No Return” is a great proof that true artists’ inspiration’s never fades away - Monokino releases one of his strongest and most meticulously produced songs so far." Nuevo Culture 
“No Return” is a magical electro-pop and baroque fusion set to spark mass appreciation among both mainstream music lovers and connoisseurs of the genre, while helping cement the rise of Monokino’s status as a major act in 2020’s music scene." Vents Magazine
"This electronic, baroque and pop fusion is a mysterious and beautiful crossgenre single that once again showcases Monokino’s strong penchant for bittersweet melodies and atmospheres." New Hit Singles
"I deduce that unlike many of his contemporaries, this is not a man much concerned with fitting in. No return is an interestingly crafted tune sung in Mandarin Chinese. The song features vocals that seem to float into the ether, spacious violin sounds, Eastern musical motifs, and even an aggressive sounding synth that makes a brief stop in the song’s break." Alt77
"Indie pop in Chinese is exactly the exotic thing I've been missing, and it just sounds beautiful." (translated from Russian) Mishka DJ
"Lots of emotions for the Dutch Monokino. No Return was written when George van Wetering / Monokino doubted his ability to stay in China and hesitated whether or not to return home." La Playlist Indie - Novorama 
"This is a very powerful and unique composition, that blends the likeness of pop and alternative together. The melody evolves as the track proceeds, introducing a whole orchestra while the vocals are absent! Speaking of the vocals- they are light and reverberated, painting a vivid narrative thanks to their rich and powerful lyricism. The drum pattern sustains the momentum of the track perfectly and adds a whole lot of flavor to the track." Freshoutofthebooth
"This is a full on display of musical entertainment and craftsmanship. With such strong musical play, the track really is topped off with ambient and reverbed vocals that glide elegantly from start to finish that are captivating and soothing. We admire any artist that finds their own unique sound and style, and master that to perfection." Straight Bread Magazine
"The sweeping orchestral sound mixes strings, acoustic and electronic percussion, and numerous melodic Asian elements. It is a wildly creative and immersive sound. Through the last verse of the song, the track’s various components all come together for a massive and emotional Chamber-Pop crescendo." Static Dive
 "Monokino is releasing an incredibly original track titled “No Return.” He has concocted a savvy blend of electronica, pop, rock, and baroque-inspired sonorities that act as the perfect sonic structure for him to layer his vocals, in Mandarin!"  Groovy Tracks
REVIEWS (SELECTION)
“Best all around the world in one band. Monokino delivered minimalist New Order-style dance rock with guitar, synth and drums by way of China, Holland and Germany.” (Greg Kott – The Chicago Tribune)
“You have to be a conscious artist to mess with the rules, and Monokino’s Fake Virtue embodies a free spirit that finds harmony with disparate elements and a pattern without a formula. This is the record of the Non-Conformist. Here, the dark and the light intertwine to makes some really great tracks with great electronic elements (Spring Music Review: Chicago College Radio)
Toronto/Canada“Based in Amsterdam and signed to China’s biggest music label, the synth-happy trio are lead by singer George van Wetering and his Michael-Stipe-on-helium voice. They’re completely vulnerable but oddly aggressive at the same time.” (Fab Magazine Toronto)
“Monokino weaves ear-piercing synthesizers, angry guitar riffs and pounding drums with a highly-exceptional voice to produce futuristic sounding pop/rock music. In the course of a minute, you may hear Soft Cell, New Order, Kraftwerk, Associates, Cabaret Voltaire and Freur.” (Incendiary Magazine)
“Monokino: from Europe, signed to Modern Sky in China, performing in the U.S. and taking
cues from artists across the cultural spectrum. Songs came through the ground below their feet, invoking the industrial goth dance party feel of electronic music before the EDM cult of personality took over. Ripe and unhinged, they moved back and forth from drum machines to live drums and keyboards to electric guitar, all awash with endless effects. (Culture Collide). 
“Monokino shows their quality again and proves that melancholy is compatible with catchy and original pop music. A masterpiece!” (Subjectivisten) 
Een paradoxaal geluid vol opgewekte melancholie. Dit zorgt ook voor de juiste spanningsboog op het album. Pop, maar met een behoorlijk rafelige rand. Ze weten het wel zo pakkend te brengen dat het een breed, internationaal publiek kan aanspreken. De productie is in goede handen bij de bevreemdende knuffelfolkartiest Jacco Gardner. Monokino onderstreept hier andermaal hun kwaliteit en bewijst dat melancholie ook met aanstekelijke en originele popmuziek kan samengaan. Grootse klasse!” (Subjectivisten)
“Fake Virtue, is zo’n plaat waar je onmiddellijk een zwak voor hebt. Fake Virtue staat vol met perfecte popliedjes. Vervolgens word je zo vaak op het verkeerde been gezet en wordt de fantasie zo vaak en zo intens geprikkeld, dat Fake Virtue heel snel uitgroeit tot een plaat waarvan je alle geheimen wilt ontrafelen.” (De Krenten uit de Pop)
“4 van de 5 sterren. Op Fake Virtue laat Monokino een eigen geluid horen dat redelijk ver staat van de meeste electropopbands. Het duo biedt een opvallende mix van electro- en indiepop, gelardeerd met flinke echo’s uit de jaren tachtig. Veel tracks staan bol van de ideeën en regelmatig hanteert Monokino diverse stijlmiddelen binnen één nummer.” (Written in Music)
Back to Top