Dywane Thomas Jr.

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Dywane Thomas Jr.
Dywane "MonoNeon" Thomas Jr. (formerly known as Polyneon).jpeg
Dywane Thomas Jr. ("MonoNeon", formerly known as "Polyneon")
Background information
Also known asMonoNeon
Dwayne Thomas
Born (1990-08-06) August 6, 1990 (age 28)
Memphis, Tennessee
GenresNoise music, blues, avant garde, experimental music, gospel, pop, R&B, and funk
Occupation(s)Musician (bassist and composer)
Associated actsPrince, David Fiuczynski, Ne-Yo, Judith Hill, The Bar-Kays, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Kirk Whalum, Wax, Ghostnote

Dywane Thomas Jr. (born August 6, 1990), also known as MonoNeon, is an American bassist and experimental musician. He is known for his presence on YouTube playing bass guitar and known for being one of the last people to work with Prince.[1] Thomas also played with Grammy Award-winning R&B artist, Ne-Yo, on his fourth studio album.[2] He is a native of Memphis, Tennessee.[3]

Early life[edit]

Thomas was raised in a musical family, the son of a bass guitarist.[4] He began playing bass at the age of four years, independent of formal lessons (self-taught).[5] When he was about 11 or 12 years old, he performed with Bar-Kays, playing solo bass guitar.[6] At age 14, he played bass with the South Soul Rhythm Section, the band performed at the Porretta Soul Festival 2006.[7][8] South Soul was a group of young musicians from Stax Music Academy.[9][10]


During his brief stay at Berklee College of Music he shared the stage with David Fiuczynski. After his departure from Berklee in 2010, Thomas went to Los Angeles to perform with Fiuczynski and Alex Bailey (drummer) at the Musicians Institute and The Baked Potato.[11][12]

Professional background[edit]

Playing style[edit]

While Thomas is right-handed, he plays left-handed upside down on a right-handed bass guitar, which allows him to use heavy string bending on the upper strings. Thomas' slapping style/technique is unique because he is executing everything upside-down, but he still uses the thumb for slaps and fingers for pops. He also uses fingers and palm muting to create a warm, muffled timbre and have a little more control over the length of notes. In a free/improvisational setting, listeners may hear the use of Indian melodic inflections/embellishments in his playing, including the use of gamakas. Another attribute in Thomas' playing style is the use of randomness and personal mistakes in performance, eventually moving the mistakes from meaningless to meaningful.[13][14]

Thomas' overall playing style on bass can be described as "funky with unusual characteristics". Even musicians like Marcus Miller have noticed his playing style. His musical background is heavily influenced by southern soul, blues and funk.[15] In a Bass Player magazine interview, Miller mentioned Thomas as one of several "young bad cats" he has met on the scene.[16]

In 2009, Thomas was featured on the GospelChops Bass Sessionz Vol.1 project with Andrew Gouche, Hadrien Feraud, Damian Erskine, Janek Gwizdala, Anthony Nembhard, and Robert "Bubby" Lewis.[17][18]

In 2010, Thomas played bass on the Libra Scale album by Grammy Award-winning artist Ne-Yo,[19] and the album Directions by Forest Won with Georgia Anne Muldrow.[20][21] Thomas was featured in the article, "Bass to the Future", in issue 52 of the UK Bass Guitar magazine.[22]

In 2012, Thomas joined David Fiuczynski and Planet Microjam.[23][24][25] Also in 2012, he released his solo avant-garde album, Down-to-Earth Art as MonoNeon.[26]

MonoNeon's YouTube bass cover videos of Sonic The Hedgehog Green Hill Zone Theme and the theme song to the Martin Lawrence Show were featured on NoTreble.[27][28]

In early 2013, Thomas released an album called Southern Visionary under the pseudonym MonoNeon. This album features several microtonal musicians.[29][30] He also released an album entitled Uncle Curtis Answered The Lobster Telephone.[31][32]

MonoNeon performed with Sheri Jones-Moffett (2010 Grammy nominee) at the Recording Academy Chapter 40th Anniversary Celebration at Levitt Shell.[33]

MonoNeon teamed up with producer Kriswontwo to release an EP called, WEON.[34][35][36][37]

July 2014, MonoNeon made his debut performance as the bassist for Screaming Headless Torsos at Jalisco Jazz Festival in Mexico.[38]

Experimental works[edit]

Thomas' experimental works are very childlike, in terms of the energy that is presented in his compositions. In listening to some of his experimental pieces, one may hear the John Cage influence.[39]

The idea of conceptual art plays a role in his musical compositions, as reflected in his early 2011 recordings. Thomas began creating a vague idea of bass and AM/FM radio improvisations. The improvisations/compositions are based on radio art. Some of the bass and radio improvisations/compositions can be heard on his album entitled, Introspection of PolyNeon. The "Polyneon" concept is something Thomas created through introspection and when he stopped thinking about the worldly idea of becoming or being a great musician.[40][41]

Thomas is notable for his "readymade bass", inspired by his love for Dadaism and other avant garde art movements. The primary characteristics of the "readymade bass" is the ordinary sock covering the entire headstock and the name "Polyneon" on the body of his bass. The use of colorful duct tape and other mundane items upon his basses.[42][43][44]

MonoNeon was featured in the January/February 2013 issue of Dig! Magazine, a Winnipeg jazz magazine.[45]

MonoNeon's microtonal works and art manifesto were mentioned on The Rest Is Noise, a website by Alex Ross, the music critic of The New Yorker.[46]

One of MonoNeon's bass cover videos performing KNOWER's arrangement/medley of Lady Gaga songs was voted Top 10 most watched video on NoTreble (March 2014).[47]

A microtonal bass built for MonoNeon by Tim Cloonan of CallowHill Guitars was featured on NoTreble as Bass of the Week. The bass is built to play quarter tones.[48]

Working with Prince[edit]

In 2015 MonoNeon began playing bass with Prince and his protégé, Judith Hill. Some of the live shows have been at Paisley Park.[49][50][51]

On 11 January 2016, Tidal released the track Ruff Enuff by MonoNeon, only four and a half days after its initial recording. The instrumental track features Prince as producer and on keyboards. The following day, the track was replaced with a vocal version with lead vocals on vocoder by Adrian Crutchfield.

The linernotes provided with the track state:

You may recognize Kirk A Johnson on drums, Mono Neon on bass and Adrian Crutchfield on sax and electric woodwinds as the house band 4 Prince’s Paisley Park After Dark Jam Sessions. Well, that’s not all they do. 4 the past week they’ve been cutting basic trax 4 their as yet untitled debut album. With Prince producing and handling the keyboard & guitar duties, the set promises 2 b picking up right where Judith Hill’s BACK IN TIME left off. These brothas murder the funk! Normally they wouldn’t let a track out until it’s finished, but this one had 2 go! It was ruining everybody’s good loox. If U think U can resist the funk, check out the key change of Mono’s bass solo at near 4 o'clockmark[52]


When Prince wasn't playing his solo piano shows, he was breaking in a new band at Paisley Park with MonoNeon as his new bassist.[53][54]


Solo albums[edit]

  • "Polyneon" (2010)
  • "Introspection of PolyNeon" (2011)
  • "Noise Catharsis" (2011)
  • "Johnnie Taylor and John Cage" (2011)
  • "The Kitschy EP" (2011)
  • "MonoNeon" (2012)
  • "Ming Neon" (2012)
  • "Down-to-Earth Art" (2012)
  • "Southern Visionary" (2013)
  • "Uncle Curtis Answered The Lobster Telephone" (2013)
  • "John Cage on Soul Train" (2014)[55]
  • "MonoNeon Plays Speech" (2015)
  • "Selfie Quickie" (2015)
  • "Selfie Quickie 2wooo" (2017)[56]
  • "Welcome 2 Whateva The Fyuck" (2017) [57]
  • A Place Called Fantasy (2017) [58]
  • "I Don't Care Today (Angels & Demons in Lo-Fi)" (2018)

With Ne-Yo[edit]

  • "Libra Scale" (2010)

With Georgia Anne Muldrow[edit]

  • "Ms. One" (2014)[59]

With WEON[edit]

  • "WEON" (2013)
  • "Neon the Won" (2015)[60]

With Prince[edit]


  1. ^ "Interview with Bassist MonoNeon, One of the Last People to Play with Prince". blog.kexp.org
  2. ^ "Ne-Yo Libra Scale". allmusic.com
  3. ^ "David Fiuczynski's MicroJam". ragman.org
  4. ^ Staff, Flyer. "Soul, Italian-Style | Music". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  5. ^ "Dywane "MonoNeon" Thomas Jr." genzbenz.com
  6. ^ "Creative solutions since 1998 – Artists / Partners". Nichelson Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  7. ^ "South Soul Rhythm Section on Yahoo! Music" new.music.yahoo.com
  8. ^ "Bluesweb.com | Dixiefrog Records" bluesweb.com
  9. ^ Staff, Flyer. "local beat | Music". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  10. ^ "N ° 22-PORRETTA SOUL FESTIVAL: South Soul Rhythm Section" radioemiliaromagna.it
  11. ^ "LA Jazz / About & Out". Lajazz.com. May 10, 2010. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  12. ^ "David "Fuze" Fiucynski Concert and Clinic | May 13, 2010 | News & Events at Musicians Institute". Mi.edu. May 13, 2010. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  13. ^ August 4, 2011 (August 4, 2011). "BPU Exclusive Lessons- PolyNeon's grooves with gamakas – Bass Players United". bassplayersunited.com
  14. ^ "EBS Sweden AB (artists)" www.ebs.bass.se
  15. ^ "Player Spotlight: Dywane Thomas Jr". Notreble.com. October 20, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  16. ^ "Marcus Miller Reaches Wider Than Ever With 'Marcus', Chris Jisi". Bassplayer.com. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  17. ^ "Bass Sessionz Vol. 1 | Bass Musician Magazine [the face of bass]". Bassmusicianmagazine.com. October 1, 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  18. ^ "GospelChops Presents: Bass Sessionz Vol. 1 :: Drummermagazin". jazzdrummerworld.com. March 18, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  19. ^ "Libra Scale – Ne-Yo". AllMusic. November 22, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  20. ^ "Forest Won – Directions by Forest Won (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  21. ^ Ivan Guerrero (September 6, 2010). "Find new DIRECTIONS". The Male Model Music Project. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  22. ^ "Issue 52". Bassguitarmagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  23. ^ "Dave Fiuczynski and the Planet Microjam Institute Ensemble". berklee.edu
  24. ^ Stephen Graham (July 23, 2012). "Jazz breaking news: Genoa Jazz fest Goes Interstatic via Planet Microjam" jazzwisemagazine.com
  25. ^ "Gezmataz Festival 2012" jazzitalia.net
  26. ^ Kevin Johnson (June 17, 2012). "Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas Jr. Releases Down-to-Earth Art" Notreble.com
  27. ^ Kevin Johnson (October 25, 2012)."MonoNeon: Sonic the Hedgehog “Green Hill Zone” Theme" Notreble.com
  28. ^ Kevin Johnson (March 24, 2013). "MonoNeon: Theme Song to the Martin Lawrence Show" Notreble.com
  29. ^ Kevin Johnson (January 9, 2013). "MonoNeon Releases “Southern Visionary” Notreble.com
  30. ^ Meredith McLean (March 26, 2013). "Album Review: MonoNeon – Southern Visionary (2013 LP)" theaureview.com
  31. ^ "HYBRIDA. radio show – playlist 94° puntata" hybridaspace.org
  32. ^ "Uncle Curtis Answered the Lobster Telephone by Mononeon" cdbaby.com
  33. ^ "Gospel Singer Sherri Jones – Moffett at the Recording Academy 40th Anniversary" thefrontlinemusic.com
  34. ^ "MonoNeon and Kriswontwo Release “WEON” notreble.com.
  35. ^ "Crazy week, 3 new releases" kriswontwo.com
  36. ^ "Bassist MonoNeon Latest EP WEON with Producer Kriswontwo" bassmusicianmagazine.com
  37. ^ "Kriswontwo x MonoNeon: WEON" djkoolemdee.blogspot.com
  38. ^ "Review: Mexico’s Jalisco Jazz Festival A July 4th weekend of Latin-infused cosmopolitanism" jazztimes.com
  39. ^ "Dywane Thomas Jr. Releases "Aleatorick and Indeterminacy"". Notreble.com. April 20, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  40. ^ Stanton Lawrence (July 29, 2011). "Album Review – Polyneon – Introspection – Bass Players United". bassplayersunited.com
  41. ^ Corey Brown (November 21, 2011). "Top Ten: The Jeroen Paul Thesseling Interview, Playing As One, the Best Bass Cover Tunes, Plus the Top Bass Videos". Notreble.com
  42. ^ "CD Baby | Artist Details". cdbaby.com
  43. ^ Kevin Johnson (November 18, 2011). "New School: Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas". Notreble.com
  44. ^ Kilian Duarte (March 1, 2012). "Interview with Dywane ‘Mononeon’ Thomas Jr by Kilian Duarte". bassmusicianmagazine.com
  45. ^ Karl Kohut."Dwayne “MonoNeon” Thomas Jr". digmagazine.ca
  46. ^ "A-AW8: The higher crossover". therestisnoise.com
  47. ^ Kevin Johnson (March 9, 2014) "Top 10: The Most Watched Bass Videos (March 2014)". notreble.com
  48. ^ Kevin Johnson (May 8, 2014) "MonoNeon's Microtonal Bass". notreble.com
  49. ^ "Prince serenades Madonna at late-night Paisley Park gig". madonnaunderground.com
  50. ^ "Prince throws 3-hour concert/party for champion Lynx at Paisley Park". startribune.com
  51. ^ "Judith Hill - Back In Time (Behind-The-Scenes at Paisley Park)". youtube.com
  53. ^ "Hiding in plain sight – why I spent a lifetime chasing Prince". telegraph.co.uk
  54. ^ "Prince throwing a pair of pajama parties Friday and Saturday at Paisley Park" Startribune.com
  55. ^ "MonoNeon Releases New Duo Project, John Cage on Soul Train". bassmusicianmagazine.com
  56. ^ "MonoNeon Releases 2017 EP 'Selfie Quickie 2wooo' (LISTEN)". bassplayer.com
  57. ^ [1]. liveforlivemusic.com
  58. ^ [2]. okayplayer.com
  59. ^ Kevin Johnson (July 5, 2014) "Georgia Anne Muldrow Releases “Ms. One” with MonoNeon". notreble.com
  60. ^ KARASLAMB "WEON (MonoNeon x Kriswontwo) Present ‘Neon The Won’ EP [STREAM]". okayplayer.com
  61. ^ "Ruff Enuff - Prince Vault". princevault.com
  62. ^ "MonoNeon Releases Instrumental Track "Ruff Enuff" With Prince (LISTEN)". bassplayer.com

External links[edit]

YouTube links[edit]