After over a decade in the electronic and dance music scene, John Monkman has released on some of the coolest labels in the biz, such as Get Physical, Anjunadeep, Kompact Suara and Rebellion. His latest EP has just debuted on the awesome Crosstown Rebels label and there are more collabs with Pete Tong on the way too. With so much going on in John's world, we were lucky enough to track John down for an interview to find out a little more about how he got started in the music industry, his tools of choice in the studio, and what's next for him in 2017...
Tell us about how you got started in electronic music?
"Swapping music with friends, listening to the likes of Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane whilst going to raves in London and in the English Countryside all contributed to putting me on this journey."
Did you have any formal education in music tech or music?
"I had piano, drums and guitar lessons up to the age of about 18. The drums were definitely my favourite. On the tech side of things I’m self taught. I started on Cubase around ‘99, then moved to Logic. My good pal Chris Hanson was using it so I switched as it meant we could share ideas and concepts back and forth, this really accelerated the learning process and was much more fun."
How did you get your first records signed?
"I remember doing everything from Mailing CDs to Germany, sending demos to people on MySpace, and even waiting behind the decks at Fabric to pass the DJ a demo CD. In the end, my first signing was on a friends label, he’d been listening to my music for a while. One Friday I gave him a demo, he tested it out that night and after his set, gave it the green light. It was really exciting."
John's 5 favourite bit of kit in the studio
1. Moog Voyager
"She’s a beast! I use it mainly for bass and lead parts. There’s a trick I learnt where you ‘overdrive’ the system by connecting the Filter Output to the Headphone Output. You can then dial in how much grit/distortion you want using the headphone volume knob."
2. Make Noise System Cartesian
"This is a new addition to the studio. The heart of the system and the main reason I went for this unit is the Rene Sequencer - the movement this module can create is crazy. Completely unique."
3. Universal Audio UAD 1073
"I use this plugin from the UAD DSP platform on everything, vocals, lead sounds, warming up kicks the list goes on and on. It's super versatile and adds some magic around the 4.7-5khz and 10-12khz regions."
4. Native Instruments Maschine
"I use Native Instruments Maschine mainly to program my drums and percussion. The software is great for browsing my sample libraries plus if you use various DAW’s for production, e.g I often start tracks in Ableton then flip to Logic, it’s a great, as it works seamlessly in both systems hence adds more continuity to my work flow."
5. Universal Audio UAD Studer A800
"Another from the UAD platform. I use this for a number of things. Its great for adding presence and air/life into the mix plus, you get some beautiful saturation effects when it’s driven hard. I find that 99% of the sounds I run through it will sound better and have more character than without it. It's really addictive!"
What's next for you?
"This week I release my debut on Crosstown Rebels which is a real landmark for me. I’ve just signed an electronic duo called ‘Anaphase’ to my label Beesemyer Music. These guys are next level and can’t wait for people to hear there music. There first EP is out in July and I’m just putting the finishing touches on a remix to add to the EP. Pete Tong and I are working on our fourth collaboration which we hope to release around September. Tour wise I have some great European gigs to look forward including a show in Berlin with with Pleasurekraft then to back to Ibiza for my first party on the island this year. This then takes me to Fall where I’ll be heading back out to the States for my second US Tour of the year."
FIND OUT MORE
John Monkman 'HARMONIX EP' is out now on Crosstown Rebels