To our dear friends on BandLab,
Today, I’m really pleased to announce something very special that’s been years in the making.
No, it’s not wireless AirPods (the one for my left ear is already missing…) but—for musicians and creators—something even better. I’m delighted to welcome to the BandLab community a brand that has a special place in the hearts of musicians all over the world: MONO.
For any of our aspiring creators who may not yet be familiar with the name, MONO is regarded by musicians as the brand for high-end instrument cases, straps and accessories. When it comes to design, innovation and being closely attuned to musician’s wants and needs—to me, there really isn’t another brand that’s a more respected industry leader.
The highest level of musicians—in bands ranging from The Roots to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Metallica—all trust MONO with their gear, and I’m very proud to say today that the MONO team has trusted us with their brand. From the best-in-class protection of the Vertigo’s boot to the patent-pending Headlock and the world’s first ever top-loading guitar case, the innovation is real.
MONO products are oft-imitated but never bettered, and it all stems from the brilliant creative mind of my partner and friend, Daniel Kushner. Stepping out on his own and leaving behind famed design group IDEO, Daniel founded MONO with the vision of achieving a level of design-thinking in the musical instrument industry that had never been achieved before. You only have to look at the vast range of products from other famous brands that have tried to copy what he’s done since 2006 to see that he’s truly created a category in the industry. And there aren’t many other people who can really say that.
We’re very excited, as BandLab and MONO really is a perfect musical partnership; we both share a common goal: to help give today’s modern musicians the freedom to do what they want to do, go where they want to go and make great music anytime, anywhere, and to be closer to their fans.
From the very first conversation I had with Steve Skillings, my co-founder in BandLab, we always talked about the project with mobile in mind (there’s a good chance you’re reading this on your phone right now)—the key thing for us was that we weren’t talking about mobile as a platform, but a way of life.
For new members joining our community after reading this, you’ll see this permeate throughout BandLab in the tools we’ve created for creators to capture, work on and share their ideas and inspiration from any device. On holiday in Vietnam without a laptop or a phone? Head into your nearest cybercafe, check your latest group chats and work on your music with your band-mates back home via the Web browser.
My personal relationship with MONO is special, not just through our business together via Swee Lee Music, but also through my ownership of multiple items in the catalogue (the record in the BandLab office is Mike, with 11 different types of MONO products)—for all of the countless hours I have spent in travel under the care of a MONO bag, it’s never let me down.
As I type this, sitting next to my desk is our Dual Acoustic + Electric M80 Case, cheekily marketed as “acoustic in the front, electric in the back”. Again, a world first, and the freedom to be able to gig with both an electric and an acoustic guitar without the hassle of carrying two cases was genius, and genuinely changed my musical life. At BandLab and MONO, we know the mobile way of life is here to stay. And so are the social, recording and gear-carrying tools and accessories mobile musicians need at every step of the creative process around music.
Daniel said it best:
“Being a successful musician today requires a completely different tool kit, and we share a vision for what those tools need to be, and now BandLab and MONO have the ability to create them together.”
So, what does this mean for you?
Well, BandLab is much more than just a social creation platform; and MONO much more than a luggage company. This is only the beginning. We’re looking at new and better ways for musicians to record their music—and to bring that music to the stage. There are big things ahead, so continue to watch this space. Creating music was meant to be mobile, and together we’re creating a new movement.
We’re eager to hear from our new MONO family and learn from their experiences, pain-points or innovations on their wishlist. We know how special the brand is to you, and we want to keep it that way. Drop me a message anytime, you’ll find me on BandLab at @mrkuok.
For everyone in the BandLab community, you guys are really the best and it’s incredible how fast the network has grown. The fact that we’ve only just started talking about things publicly means that everything so far has been all down to you. Thank you for making it a great place for your music to live. Please welcome our new MONO friends with open arms and keep diss tracks to the music and not the comments! (Or J-Cole will be on your case…) 😉
Before I go, I’d like to make a special shout out to Randy Couvillon, our returning Director of Sales, for putting up with my incessant e-mails after each NAMM show and finally trusting and believing in us at Swee Lee, beginning the journey that has culminated in this incredible collaboration and milestone we celebrate today.
With love and appreciation,
Meng Ru Kuok
CEO & Co-Founder, BandLab & Eternal MONO Fanboy