With Monty’s newest EP on the label 1985 recently released, Tina caught up with him to have a chat about it, how life during lockdown has been, what we can look forward to from him in the future. Check it out here;
Hi Monty, first off, I just want to say Thank You for taking the time out to chat with me today.
Monty No problem, thanks to you too.
How have you been finding the last year with COVID and the lockdown?
Monty Oh, it’s been alright. It’s just getting long now.
Is Toulouse back in lockdown?
Monty Yes kind of, and we have curfew at 7pm.
How have you been keeping yourself sane throughout the lockdown and curfew? Is it through your music?
Monty I’ve been here just doing a lot of music. Literally every day, I wake up and get on the computer and then from eight am to ten at night, I’m just on it every day. I started running about 6 months ago, just to keep my headspace clear. That helps me and I’ve been cooking. Simple stuff, basically.
What’s your favourite dish to be cooking at the moment?
Monty I like to make curries with homemade naan breads haha.
Ooooh yummy! It sounds like music is more than a full time job. How do you keep yourself in the zone and motivated to be creative.
Monty I could choose not to do that much time, I just enjoy it so much. I really enjoy it and I want to progress. I just want to get better. Also, I’m giving lessons, I’m doing one on one sessions with people. So that takes up a bit of time as well. But yeah, I just really enjoy making music. And at the moment, I feel quite inspired. I’ve nearly finished my album, so that’s going to (hopefully) be coming out at the end of the year. I’ve just been on a big inspirational run, I guess. I think when this album is finished, so hopefully in a couple of weeks or a month, I’m gonna take a break, and go back to the countryside and visit my family, depending on lock down.
An album, that’s exciting! You spoke there about just being really inspired at the moment to create music. Is there anything in particular that’s inspiring you?
Monty It’s just a phase where I feel inspired and I’m not sure there’s any reason. Also, because there are no shows, I don’t feel like making dance floor, and I find it much easier for me to do the more melodic kind of music and the more vibey stuff. So yeah, I’ve just learned loads of things throughout the months. And this has helped me in my productions basically.
I always find that your music is is very distinctive, is this something that has come naturally to you or is that something that you’ve had to work really hard on?
Monty Well, I mean, I play guitar, bass and drums originally, and I’ve always kind of liked to jam and improvise. So I think that’s helped in my productions and when I started producing and I was still in the learning process, I didn’t really have my own sound in production. It took a bit of time, like a year or two but releasing with 1985 (Alix Perez’s label) definitely helped with that. I feel comfortable there and starting from the first EP that’s when I really started to find a sound for myself.
That’s where you discovered that uniqueness for yourself?
Monty I guess so yeah. I mean, I’m also using the same kind of production techniques. Using the same kind of reverbs, using the same kind of drum patterns. If you do that, people recognise that. If I did something completely different on all my tracks, I don’t think that would be the case. So it’s a bit like a cook, you know, when he’s going to cook, he’s going to use the same techniques that other people don’t, and that’s how you maybe recognise one of his dishes.
You spoke about 1985 there as well, it seems like that’s a collaboration and teamwork that’s really working for you. How do you think releasing on the 1985 label has helped you and enabled you to create the styles of music that you do?
Monty I really like Alix’s music. I’ve always liked his music. So that was something that made me want to release on the label. And I am just very inspired by him, Halogenix, Calibre, Noisia and Break. They’re my main inspirations within Drum and Bass. I think if you listen, you can hear that in my productions. I think personally, because I listen to their music a lot, especially before producing, instinctively I just pick up on their stuff. And so going back to the question, it just felt natural to send music to Alix. I sent him the track “Spongy Conversation” he didn’t really like the name (haha) but he liked the track, he asked me if I had other stuff, I sent him some more music, and it made the EP “Hold Me Back”. I really like the aesthetic of the label and I think that impacted on my sound as well, in the way that it’s quite dark and moody lots of skulls, black and white (haha) and this just naturally went into my sound so I guess it fits.
I think that’s one of the interesting things about your music, and especially this latest EP, is that there is that darkness to it. I also found that there was a lightness and very melodic notes to the music as well. How do you go about creating that balance?
Monty It comes naturally I think. I do play a lot of minor chords. I like techno and dub music as well. I like the sounds and I use a lot of the sounds from that genre of music so that gives it that kind of darkness maybe (haha). I like vocals I love r&b and singers in general. So I do use vocals in my tracks and maybe that is what balances it.
The EP goes in deep and also has a 140 track, is that the direction you want to take your music in the future?
Monty I’ll always produce Drum and Bass but I listen to everything. I don’t want people to categorise my music as just Drum and Bass now I guess. I do want to put out other stuff. I’ve always made other genres of electronic music I just haven’t released it as much as I have released Drum and Bass. And I was maybe just a bit scared I guess of releasing other genres. But with time I don’t care about that anymore. I just want to release music I enjoy and like to make. I like 140 and I like half time, I like garage, techno, all electronic music, everything. So I’m trying to experiment. Trying different stuff will help you progress, making different tempos helps too. A bit like the album, there’s going to be everything on it. It’s not just Drum and Bass.
Monty Oooh, how could I describe it? It was a struggle back then. It was a hard one to make.
In what respect?
Monty In the way it took me a lot of tracks before we chose the right ones basically. When I was making the EP, I wasn’t feeling inspired at all. This was last year. So I think it was beginning of Covid and took me a couple of months to start writing again.
The word you’d use to describe the EP is stressful. Do you feel any different now that it’s complete?
Monty Yeah, I’m happy that it’s out now. And It actually got delayed, unfortunately. I haven’t been able to play them anywhere apart from in a mix. I haven’t witnessed these tracks on big a sound system.
Oh, that’s exciting. I can’t wait to to hear that when it’s released. If you could use a few words to describe the EP, how would you describe it?
You mentioned you really enjoy other genres and vocals, you recently did some collaborations on this EP and other tracks that you’ve released. Is there anybody in the future that you’d love to collaborate with? Or is there anybody coming up that that we can keep an eye out for hearing you work with?
Monty So I can’t say everything but I’d like to collaborate with Break.
Amazing. I would love to hear and see that.
Monty Yeah, I would love that to happen, him and Calibre. All the other people I have wanted to work with have happened. On the album, there’s a lot of collaborations all of the people I wanted to work with pretty much are on there, so I’m really happy about that. I can’t really tell any names I’m keeping it a surprise haha.
You mentioned the work that you do with the production and the lessons. Does that have an impact on your own work? Does it inspire you?
Monty Yeah, it does. I really enjoy teaching. I didn’t realise how much I enjoy it until I started teaching people. And also showing people makes you learn faster in a way. I’m showing people the same thing over and over again sometimes, and I get better. Also, when people ask me, “hey how do you make drums?” Or “how do you make a bass?” I have to be quick to come up with an idea, in like 10 minutes, you know, so that is a really good challenge, because it just forces me to be able to find an idea really fast. And some of those ideas I’ve actually kept. So like, I’ll do a session with someone, and then I get some drums and bass down and think “ah, that’s not that bad, maybe that can be a track”. So I’ll put that to the side and come back to it later. The “Whatever You Need” track (off the new EP), that was one of them. I was like, “Okay, this is cool” and I just took it from there.
That’s great, it sounds like that thinking on your feet gives you the opportunity to just put it down and go with the flow.
Monty Exactly. It’s cool. I’m meeting all these people around the world and they teach me stuff as well. And that’s really nice and great. Nice relationships. And yeah, we’re sharing music and sharing sounds. I like that, I think it’s important to share.
So after a year of being stuck on lockdown, you must be keen to get behind the decks again and get in front of a crowd. Is there anywhere top of your list that you’d like to be playing? Or are there any clubs that you want to play at?
Monty I think definitely the Bikini club (in Monty’s home town of Toulouse) because it’s just family there basically. Drum and Bass nights when you go there, everyone knows each other. It’s nice like that. Definitely there first. In the UK, Bristol, Manchester,I have always had good fun there. New Zealand would be great. I’d love to go back to New Zealand, I’m planning on moving there hopefully.
It’s going off over there at the moment isn’t it. And they’ll be snagging another Drum and Bass legend if you do move over there!
Monty Haha maybe not a legend but yeah it’s crazy. New Zealand, Australia, anywhere, really.
Anywhere that you can get out and put your tunes on and have a dance, as well and make other people move?
Monty Exactly. I really want to play outside as well. I don’t often play outside, like festivals and stuff. I was on the line-up for a lot of festivals in 2020, but obviously, they all got cancelled because of COVID. So I was gutted, it was like the first summer where I was going to do quite a big festival run. And I got really disappointed about that, because I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. So hopefully next year, but it’s two years of no festivals. Everyone’s going through the same thing though so you’ve just got to accept how it is. Yeah, and get music done, I guess.
Well, it sounds like it’s been a good time for you in terms of how inspired you’ve been, despite lockdown and curfews. Do you think there any particular reasons you were booked to play at more festivals?
Monty I’m not sure. Maybe just releasing more music. I mean, I’ve done Let It Roll and Outlook,I’m not saying I haven’t played any festivals,but I was getting booked at smaller ones and more intimate ones. I was really excited for that.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Monty So there’s going to be mostly Drum and Bass all throughout the year, apart from the album, which is quite diverse. Everything’s pretty much planned out this year. So I’ve got collabs with Alix (Perez) something with Visages, a remix of Cesco. But yeah, all on 1985 basically. Every three, four months, there should be something new from me. Hopefully throughout the summer I will have some shows in the UK, but that depends on the situation with the virus. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
When the lockdown eases or you don’t have any curfew what is it that you’re looking forward to doing most?
Monty When curfew and lockdown is lifted I’d like to go travelling and go to the mountains and stuff like that. I like to take photographs so I’m looking forward to getting back to that. Just being free if that makes sense. Just get in a car and go places, go to the ocean and just simple stuff. I live in Toulouse but it’s a city and it does get a bit too much sometimes. I need to get away and just breathe. Thats what was good about playing out, at the weekend I was lucky and fortunate I could get out of Toulouse and go and play. I’m looking forward to going back to normal.
Hanging out and enjoying life again.
Monty Yeah, exactly. And meeting people that’s something I love to do. Meeting people and discovering different cultures, you’re constantly learning when you travel, I find.