Electronic music in Ireland is in a remarkably healthy state at the moment boasting the likes of SertOne, Moths, Nouveaunoise and Not Squares amongst its ranks.
19-year-old Wicklow native Monto is another such talent and has recently signed with Belfast electronic/hip-hop label Melted Music. Beats are his forte, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter whether he’s cooking up thumping electronic hip hop beats or beautifully chilled, tranquil soundscapes.
‘Carmusa’ and ‘Strays’ are simply stunning tracks; beautiful, tranquil and uplifting, comprised of crisp filtered beats and fresh chillwave vibes this is the perfect soundtrack for kicking back in the summer sunshine, if we get any. Also, check out the head nodding hip hop majesty of the Dead Set Gemini and Fritz & the Tantrums remixes, sublime.
So taken with the tunes was I, that I decided to catch up with Monto for a quick chat and find out more about this elusive character (after the jump).
Download: Monto – Caramusa
Download: Monto – Strays
BG: Tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been making music? How did you get started?
Monto: My Name’s Ross, I’m 19 and from Wicklow Town. I’m in my first year of college studying music in WIT, although the college nightlife has probably destroyed my chances of making it to second year. I’ve always been interested in music from an early age, learning instruments and all that jazz, but didn’t start producing it until I was about 16 or so. I started making it when I got an Akai MPC500 for my 16th birthday, I made some pretty nice stuff but it was lost forever, I couldn’t figure out how to get it from the MPC to the computer! Devastated.
BG: What were your musical influences?
Monto: I was quite the 90’s NY Hip hop fan boy as a kid, I was always astounded at how producers like Premo & Pete Rock could take a sample, flip it, and turn into a completely different piece of music. I think it was the whole sampling aspect of hip hop that really appealed to me, and made me want to make music. As a result of this I started listening to more instrumental acts, more recent artists like Flying Lotus, 9th Wonder, and of course J Dilla. It was J Dilla I think that influenced me the most out of these. His beat for ‘Fall in Love’ is still the one song that never gets skipped on my iPod
BG: Your music has a rather unusual flavour; a mix of instrumental hip hop and chilled electronic music. How did this come about?
Monto: I started out making purely sample based hip hop for a while, but after I sold the Mpc I started working with Fruity loops. I could never find decent quality samples to use, so I found myself trying to recreate the songs I would be sampling with synthesizers in Fruity Loops. I guess from here I just became a lot more reliant on producing sounds myself rather than sampling them. I’ve played piano since I was a yung’un too so I think it always felt right that there would be a heavy influence on chords and strong melody lines in my music.
BG: You’re from Wicklow, is there much happening musically there at the moment?
Monto: Not much, to be honest. Wicklow is one of the more unfortunate counties in the pale in the sense that there’s no real great platform to share your music with people, and even if there was there’s not a great number of people in the area that want to hear music that’s a bit more underground than they’re used too. There’s a great organization called The Monkey Club in Wicklow that are doing their best to promote local music and organize gigs. In saying that, there are some great bands doing well for themselves without the need of a local platform, instrumental bands Enemies & God is an Astronaut are probably the cream of the crop in Wicklow at the moment. Also, if you can remember as far back as Hybrasil a couple of years ago, they’ve since split up, but one of the members Spud is still doing some really nice indie/electronic stuff.
BG: What have you got in store for the rest of 2011? Gigs? Releases?
Monto: As of now I’m not sure what the summer has in store. I’ve recently been signed to Melted Music, so you can expect an E.P to be put out with them soon enough. That’s about all I can say for now, hopefully a few gigs will spring up during the summer, and I’ll be putting out music onto my soundcloud & bandcamp as regularly as possible!