In 25 words or less describe who you are, where you’re located and what you make.
Monome is Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain. We make adaptable minimalist hardware interfaces in upstate New York. We like challenge and sincerity and subtlety.
What made you want to be a maker?
Making wasn’t an active decision— it’s simply always been. We’ve both been fortunate enough to have been encouraged from such a young age and it followed that eventually we’d come to rely on creative pursuits as a method of self sufficiency. My early musical work using technology constantly ran up against limitations introduced by commercial products looking to satisfy a broad market. Much of this conundrum has been overcome by creating open-ended, versatile tools whose function can be defined by the user. Inspired by simple materials and constraints we aspire to make beautiful and useful things of all sorts- be it a highly developed piece of technology like our instruments or a porcelain knife sharpener. We desire to surround ourselves with tools that not only feel good in hands but spark our brains to think differently about process.
Why should people support your business/products?
The music instrument industry is dominated by very large corporations who are all competing to commodify the latest trends. This inevitably leads to a lot of cheaply made equipment that’s fad based and therefore rarely approaches a timeless quality. Recently more and more small creators have been succeeding in producing genuinely new devices, thoughtfully constructed with intentions of community building. Hand-made with locally sourced parts followed by a deep commitment and enthusiasm for the devices’ use and longevity— this is the new old way we need to think. We’re glad to be a part of this movement— we make small editions a few times per year. Our users become collaborators and together we push boundaries.
Favorite product that you make?
The one twenty eight. Black walnut and aluminum. We’ve been revising this design for years now. I think it’s maybe close to perfect. Maybe.
List five of your favorite tools.
1. Moleskine and micron pen. Sometimes technology gets in the way.
2. Calipers. To comprehend one must first measure.
3. Oscilloscope. Reveals the invisible.
4. Wood stove. Warms things warm.
5. Black tea. Ritual and a reminder to breathe and appreciate life.
(photographs from Monome)