Firstly tell us about Monika, who you are and what you do?
My name is Maxwell and I produce drum and bass under the alias Monika. I started writing about 6 years ago but it’s only really now I feel comfortable with my sound and style.
Your excellent Observatory EP on Ingredients is a great release and Ingredients 1st digital. Never a bad thing being a 1st, how did this come about?
I sent some demos out to Clive Ingredients a little while back, via email. Sending out tunes this way barely ever gets results so I was surprised to receive some positive feedback on my tune Of Honour, which was released on the Substance LP. From that release I kept Clive in the loop with my latest tunes and an EP fell into place.
Your one of the rarer D&B producers who made this EP under 175 BPM. Any particular reasoning behind that? Having recently heard a producer say it effects the end product and not producing myself. Wondering if you agreed?
It’s something I’ve always done. That tempo feels very natural to me. Everything above 175bpm feels too fast when writing, especially half-time tracks. I don’t know about how it effects the end product, but when it comes to playing out, everything will get pushed up to 175+ anyways.
There’s a lot of producers making footwork/jungle/drum and bass now, meaning the tempos range from 160-175+bpm so it makes things easier being somewhere in the middle when it comes to playing the music out.
I think its fare to say the EP is of a deeper style of D&B. That said for me the Pulse was my favourite track. Is it something you planned for to cover the different styles, or did that just happen naturally?
I find it almost impossible to write good music with an outcome in mind. The most successful way to write anything is to start with a beat/sample and then roll with it until the track is complete. You’ll always have your influences and writing tricks that shape the way the track sounds, but a lot of the time the best songs feel like they’ve unfolded in front of your eyes.
So yes, the EP formed very naturally. Observatory is a collection of tracks that encapsulates my influences at this point in my life.
The Pulse was a style I’d never really approached before, but I’m really happy with the result. It feels good knowing I can write dancefloor bangers and I’ve learned a lot from the process.
Admittedly I hadn’t heard Monika prior, this EP has definitely put you on my radar. What else have you got forthcoming or in store for us?
I’m always writing, and I’ve got some plans for some tunes I’ve got lying around that I think will work well with certain labels. I’m still a very unknown producer so I have to think about packaging up my tracks and sending them out (mostly in vain) in order to get releases.
That being said, I recently started up a house alias and I will be releasing an EP early next year on a fairly well known digital label. But I’m keeping that under wraps for now.
Finally any thing you would like to add?
Please check out the artist Werdna who designed the Observatory EP artwork. Super talented and professional guy.
Big shout out to James at Example and of course Monika for taking the time to do this.