Fresh from appearing on our Ibiza Sonica Radio show this week we catch up with man of the moment Montel talk about production, 2017 goals and his home scene in Belfast.
So, where are you right now and what are you up to ?
I'm at home, in Belfast working on a new little music based video blog I'm going to be putting out via my YouTube channel.
You have released on some pretty serious imprints such as Knee Deep In Sound, Bedrock, Stereo, Leena and Lost. Do you feel any particular track helped you the most on your crusade to be heard in this very noisy industry?
My track 'I Can't Remember' which was my first release on Knee Deep In Sound definitely helped to get my name out there a bit more. Daley (Hot Since 82) reached out to me on Soundcloud and asked me for material. This track got a lot of support from Adam Beyer, John Digweed, Radio 1 and HS82 of course.
Another track I have to mention, was my unofficial remix of Danny Tenaglia's Music Is The Answer. This has been supported by literally everybody.. Richy Ahmed, Eats Everything, Route 94, Huxley etc etc. It was played on Radio 1 several times and is my most popular track on Soundcloud with 150k plays.
Particularly I've been loving the free downloads you are have been releasing of late with classic rave vibes from The House Crew and Gipsy getting your rework treatment. Were these before your time? Or did you lose your marbles to these classics first time around?
Yeah, I feel it's important to give away some tracks for free. I also like to give away bombs too, not some old shitty demos that never made it haha. The House Crew track you mention is called 'Burnin' it's not a remix or re-edit. The only part it samples is the house crew vocal. Everything else is original. The beats and stabs are just old mpc hits & shots. When it came together it had a real old skool feel and the House Crew vocal really worked on it. The Gipsy remix will be next.. so keep an eye on my socials for that dropping!
Any exciting new toys in the studio you'd care to divulge to our readers?
I work completely in the box now. When family life came along a few years ago, space in the house for equipment was at a minimum and all had to go sadly. In this day & age though you don't need a studio full of equipment. I see a lot of producers with loads of synths sitting around that they probably never even use (they just sit there looking good haha). Computers are so powerful now. I just run everything through my MacBook. I use a lot of old hits and samples ripped from vinyl so that helps me maintain a rougher sound. I've been collecting and cataloging my sample library for years now. So I mainly work just with samples, but I've started using more vst's recently and I'm loving the U-HE stuff. Diva, Zebra and Ace especially! These are helping me add melodic elements to my productions. Something I never really used to go for, but I always try and push my sound on, and experiment!
Being the start of a new year and a time when aspirations are running high for any creative person, what are your own personal goals for the year ahead ?
Probably the same as many artists.. To tour in new territories and sign music to the best labels I can.
Any exciting projects, global movements or career developments on the horizon?
Yes, I've a tour of Argentina coming up which I'm really excited about, plus a new EP on Bedrock and a few other big releases that I can't give anymore info on just yet, but keep an eye on my socials for news :)
What is the scene like at home in Belfast right now? These interviews are always a great platform to give props to fellow countrymen who are doing great things, Go..!
There's a great scene for sure in Belfast, but we've always been at the mercy of terrible licensing legislation. Clubs have to close very early (3am is the best you get here) and most clubs only have a peak of a few hours. Misfit at Thompson's garage is by far the best place for upfront House & Techno. I host regular guests there such as Richy Ahmed, Citizenn, Santè, Reset Robot etc..
On the Belfast / Northern Ireland scene I gotta give a shout to the boys Loco & Jam. They're smashing it at the moment. High quality techno on labels such as Tronic, Octopus and Stereo Productions!
In an age where DJ culture is at it's peak globally, it can sometimes be very hard to get started. What bit of key advice would you give to aspiring DJ's that are trying to break through?
Everyone is a DJ and producer now. Without doubt, to shine through and make it you have to earn your stripes and work from the ground up. Put on your own club nights, work on promo for them, DJ at them. Learn every aspect of it so you can appreciate the work the high level guys have put in! Also, making your own tracks is virtually essential now! A very important thing is to only start releasing music when it's good enough. Don't put out shit on shit labels. Always strive for the best. Play the long game and good things will always come to those who wait!
On current affairs, what is your take on the UK scene at present? there has been a lot of low blows in 2016 including the tragedy at Studio338, the Fabric issues and now Sankeys right ?
It's always sad to lose clubs and night life institutions like the ones you mentioned, but you have to focus on the positives and the new opportunities this brings for new nights and promoters to grow. There's always something exciting happening! One problem in the UK though is the government and their lack of recognition on night life and culture. Hopefully young people will start voting more and we can get forward thinking people into government to make positive changes for the industry!
Finally, as a producer on the front line, what changes do you think we will see in how music is marketed and digested by music fans (and DJ's) over the coming years?
It's an absolute minefield now haha. So many ways to consume music. Obviously most people use mobile devices now so online is massive. However, vinyl made a come back a few years ago and young people who missed this can now enjoy physical formats. Hopefully streaming services like Spotify and Deezer will sort their shit out and start paying artists a fair amount!
Keep up to date with Montel.