almost monday: the North County alt-pop trio to get you through the rest of 2020

Luke Fabry, left, Dawson Daugherty and Cole Clisby of alt-pop trio almost monday
Luke Fabry, left, Dawson Daugherty and Cole Clisby of alt-pop trio almost monday
(Cole Ferguson)

Though the pandemic altered its course, the San Diego-based band keeps moving forward

With a debut EP in the works and tour dates on the books, 2020 was shaping up to be almost monday’s big year. But, of course, the pandemic had other plans.

almost monday is an alt-pop trio comprised of 22-year-olds Cole Clisby (guitar), Dawson Daugherty (vocals) and Luke Fabry (bass). All three San Diegans are from North County: Encinitas, San Marcos and Escondido, respectively. And rather than running off to a new city after high school graduation, the trio stuck around for college; Daughtery and Fabry are Point Loma Nazarene University alums, while Clisby attended University of California, San Diego.

In addition to sharing a love of San Diego, the friends also connect over music. They decided to start a band and formed almost monday in 2015, which made its official debut with the 2019 single broken people. Since its release, song has already racked up three million combined audio and video streams. almost monday has also performed at venues all around the city including Soda Bar, The Casbah, House of Blues, Music Box and Soda Bar, as well as the music festival KAABOO San Diego.

Though COVID-19 cancelled almost monday’s live shows scheduled for this year, the band moved forward with its debut EP, don’t say you’re ordinary. The four-song EP — released last month — features its brand-new song as the title-track, plus previous singles parking lot view, come on come on and broken people.

North County residents Dawson Daugherty, left, Luke Fabry and Cole Clisby were all born and raised in San Diego
North County residents Dawson Daugherty, left, Luke Fabry and Cole Clisby were all born and raised in San Diego
(Kelly Hammond)

The EP has been out for less than a month, but almost monday is already looking ahead. The band members are using the extra time in quarantine to practice in its garage-turned-rehearsal space, build up the band’s collection of songs and piece together its next project.

“We’re listening to different artists all the time and inspiration is coming from everywhere,” Clisby says, listing Postcard Boy, Jelani Aryeh and Switchfoot as some of the trio’s favorite San Diego bands.

Despite the alt-pop trio being relatively new to the scene, almost monday has already collaborated with some established names in the industry. The band’s EP was produced by Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac, The Killers) and Simon Oscroft (The Naked and Famous, The Aces), and four months ago, broken people was re-released as a remix with Grammy-nominated music duo SOFI TUKKER (Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern).

“It’s a special thing when people who already have such success believe in what we’re doing,” Fabry says of the opportunity to work with the prominent producers and musicians early on in almost monday’s career.

On the heels of its EP release, PACIFIC talked with Clisby, Daughtery and Fabry about the origins of almost monday, the band’s diverse fan base and how the trio is surviving 2020.

PACIFIC: almost monday got its start performing at the back of a local surf shop — an unexpected beginning, but also fitting as the three of you are San Diego surfers. What was that early performing experience like?

DAUGHERTY: It was all about playing live music for us, it’s the reason we started a band. So we had to find places to play because we weren’t really good enough and we couldn’t just walk into the House of Blues main stage and say to the promoter: “Hey, put us on the bill — we can pull like 10 people.” Luckily we had a friend Jon Humphrey who owned a surf shop called Univ (in Encinitas) and he was throwing shows in the back of the shop. It was a pretty perfect way for us to cut our teeth on playing and throwing our own shows.

PACIFIC: It’s clear the three of you are very much self-starters. What’s your best piece of advice for musicians trying to get their foot in the door?

CLISBY: Focus on making music you love and would want to hear. I think a great song can go a long way and makes the long road of getting your music out there easier. If it weren’t for COVID-19 I would say to also play tons of live shows because I think it’s one of the best ways to see how your songs resonate with people.

PACIFIC: With your scheduled tour dates and music festival shows — coupled with the release of your first EP — 2020 was shaping up to be almost monday’s year. How have you guys been coping with the unexpected change of plans due to the pandemic?

FABRY: Although it’s been difficult to swallow the missed opportunity of what 2020 was supposed to be, we’ve used the extra time to grow and develop as a band to write and put out things that we’re genuinely proud of. We are thinking about our next release and are hopeful for shows coming back in some capacity next year.

The cover of almost monday's EP, don't say you're ordinary, which was released Oct. 9, 2020
The cover of almost monday’s EP, don’t say you’re ordinary, which was released Oct. 9, 2020
(Courtesy photo)

PACIFIC: Tell me about don’t say you’re ordinary, almost monday’s newest song that rounds out the EP. The lyrics encourage the listener to be happy with who they are in the present moment ... which is something many of us have been struggling with in 2020. What was the inspiration behind that track, and did any of this year’s events play a role in its creation?

CLISBY: don’t say you’re ordinary definitely fits the times we’re living in now more than ever. We actually wrote the song early in the year right before the pandemic hit and we didn’t know 2020 was going to pan out like this. We were inspired to write the song to tell people that you’re special in your own way for just being here and hopefully it’s helping people stay positive during the pandemic.

PACIFIC: You guys have built a set-up in your garage to do virtual performances for fans. How has it been transitioning from live shows to livestreams?

FABRY: Livestreams were something that I’d never really thought about until this past year, much less (performing via) Zoom. Although it isn’t ideal it’s still really cool that people can tune in safely from their homes and share in the moment even if it’s through a screen.

PACIFIC: I’ve noticed you’ve re-released some of your music videos as both Korean and Portuguese lyric videos. Do you have a lot of international listeners?

DAUGHERTY: Yeah, it’s been super cool to have fans from different countries. It’s made me realize that the stuff we’ve been making in the living room is having an impact on people who are on the opposite side of the globe, really insane when I actually stop and think about it in that way. Honestly, I just can’t wait until we get to tour there and see the fans.

PACIFIC: Many bands from San Diego inevitably leave for our neighboring city Los Angeles to further their career. Is a move on the horizon for almost monday?

DAUGHERTY: I want to live in San Diego forever. It’s been a good setup for us because we can get up to Los Angeles pretty quick when we need to. LA is definitely one of the major hubs for the music industry so it’s true that a lot of the work we do is there, but I think we’re pretty in love with SD. It’s the best.