New Album 'Insides' From Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk
The Winston-Salem-based rock band Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk has been steadily evolving over the past five years. What began as a solo project is now a four-piece group that deals in ethereal vocals, coupled with dense, and at times pummeling, progressive rock.
The album begins, rather surprisingly, with audio of Leonard asking his son to list some of his favorite things, and what he wants to be when he grows up.
"It was an experiment, a father and son thing," says Leonard. "So it was just enjoyable to hear his answers. The song is called 'Not Like The Other Kind,' which as a parent, I view my child as exactly that. He says that. And you know, it’s relative to me as well."
The band started out as a solo project, with Leonard switching between guitar, bass, and keyboards, while tap-dancing on an array of pedals to make it all work. He layered his vocals, and often augmented them with otherworldly sound effects. This meant that they were not exactly discernible. But with Insides, that has changed.
“I started the project as Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk, as this idea that it was non-human vocally,” he says. “It was a conceptual idea. I was tired of being a person singing into a microphone. That was the concept when I started. And I've heard feedback from people that have seen me play. 'We really love it, but we can't understand what you're saying.' And at the time that was okay. My bandmates encouraged me to really embrace my voice, and the poetry written for the songs, to make it upfront and clear. And so I did. And I think it's really working out for the best.”
The song “Man Of The People” is one example of this. The vocals are confessional, and raw. But at the same time, there’s some kind of worldview, or vision being revealed. Leonard feels that the song's meaning is open to the listener’s interpretation, but he also thinks there is a core intention behind the song.
“It's about individuality. I mean I would say a lot of this record is about that, self-progressing as a human. Fighting for your individuality I think is something that every person, if not every creative person, struggles with. Whether it be your parents, whether it be your loved ones, or a relationship, you struggle with your individuality. That song is a statement of, 'I'm not a man of the people; I'm a man of the me.' It sounds very selfish, but you know, selfish can be a good thing if you direct it in the right way.”