Home Interview John Monkman: “As I evolve so does my sound”

John Monkman: “As I evolve so does my sound”

John Monkman’s unrivaled musical productions are signed by global trendsetters like Kompakt, Ellum, Crosstown Rebels and Anjunadeep. He is an exciting live performer, bringing his wide range of fascinating tracks to life in an exciting presentation of sound and emotion. “Asriel” is the project that feeds on a need for unbridled creativity and a thirst to break its status quo. We had a chance to speak with him, so enjoy reading our interview below to learn more about Monkman’s work, his broad influences, and his favorite music.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? where are you from / how did you get into music?

I was born in California but moved to the UK when I was 4 so I’ve grown up and lived in London since.

My main source of music was through my parents – both experienced the 60s in its fullest so were brought up listening to the likes of Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Beetles (the list goes on) – so interesting sounds were always in the air.

Your new record is on Beesemyer Music, what’s it like working with him?

Yes. Beesemyer Music is the label I started in 2014.

This album marks an important moment for me, releasing ASRIEL on Beesemyer Music made sense as it was a project I wanted to be part of at every stage thus having control over the process.

How did your work on “Asriel” start? How did the order arrive?

It began just over a year ago. I wanted to make a body of work that wasn’t destined for a specific genre or label. In the past, my main focus in the studio in essence has been writing music to make people dance, to make them move on the floor, and bring people into a peak state of ecstasy, joy and ultimately deliver a deeper connection to themselves and others.

The writing process took around two weeks, after this time I had around thirty songs, some of them being more like moments rather than traditional tracks – I then spent quite some time listening and selecting the final nine songs that make up the album –  making sure they worked in there own right as well as one body of music.

Who are your main inspirations? and how have they affected your sound?

I’m inspired by my environment  – where I am from a physical as well as a psychological standpoint. Life’s journey is continuously shifting hence I try to take ideas from these modulations in location and emotion – This in turn affects my sound.

How would you describe your sound in 2020?

2020 Has been an interesting year to say the least – In many ways things have been turned upside down. I wrote a lot of dance-floor orientated material at the beginning of the year, as things (Corona) evolved and dance-floors began to dissolve I shifted more into the ASRIEL space…

Where do you see your sound going in the future?

As I evolve so does my sound. It’s always hard to predict where or how it will change. When I look back each year I’m constantly surprised at what I made and released.

Tell us a little bit about your studio, are you hardware or software? How do you get a track down?

My studio is in London. I sit somewhere in between hardware and software. My main DAWS are Logic and Ableton – I do the majority of work ’in the box’ however have a few select pieces of outboard gear such as the Moog Voyager and modular rig which is based around the Make Noise, System Cartesian.

Can you clue us into any acts you are loving that other people might not know?

Kelly Lee Owen and Avalon Emerson both have new music out at the moment and it’s really hitting that spot!

I have a Playlist on Spotify titled ARCHAE – this is a good resource where people can find music /Artists that inspire me.

It’s difficult for everyone in our industry during the crisis – what have you been doing to keep things going?

Trying to keep moving forward – which at times has been a challenge. There has been a lot of adapting and re-examining. Both Mediation and breath have been important tools – For meditation I recommend Sam Harris’s App – Waking Up and for breath work check out the morning sessions on Instagram Live run by Breathpod.

What’s next for you?

Working on a new collaboration with Pete Tong which is to be released on Maceo Plex’s, Ellum Audio.

Continued development of the ASRIEL project in the audio and visual space.



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