Home Interviews Feature: Mononoid [Interview]

Feature: Mononoid [Interview]

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With recent releases on Beatfreak, Stil Vor Talent, and their latest remixes on a lot of different high quality labels it is no wonder that these two dutch heroes are welcomed guests at every occasion. Their unique mixture of cinematographic and melodic techno forms highly enjoyable rides throughout every night.

Behind Mononoid are Igor and Andy from Groningen, the Netherlands. They took the word ‘Mono’ (as in solo) and the word ‘nooit’ (Dutch for never), which basically can be translated into "never alone". Now with duo on the cusp of a new EP for Beat Boutique, we catch up with them in this exclusive interview. Enjoy.

Hi Andy and Igor, thanks for joining us today, tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

We are both living in Groningen , The Netherlands up north of this tiny liberal country. At the moment we are working on a new EP and several remixes for different labels. That's what we are up to this week :) and maybe grab a beer together :)

Tell us about living in the Netherlands, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

Andy: I have to say that my mother was interested in the more pop / rock 60’s 70’s american, uk kinda music even tho she’s from France :) . That was a big influence for me when i was a teenager. When hip hop / rap entered Holland beginning 80’s I was sold and started producing and scratching in different hip hop bands till the 90’s (than dance music hit me). Got interested in Funk to sample stuff and used my mothers punk and rock records to sample as well.

Igor: Well., lets start with the fact that i was born in USSR (Russian Fed) and moved to The Netherlands when I was 18. I was into Drum'n'Bass that time, end of 1999! Soon after I moved to NL I discovered TeKKno and Techno, got to know many people, started to buy vinyl, playing around and ofc I got into producing. I am very thankful to my friends and this country for this opportunity.

Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences live?

Andy: As answered the previous question already I got influenced by my mothers record collection and that was the more punk, rock side of music. In my puberty I got inspired by funk like: Parlement, Average White Band etc because that where the beats to sample to rap on. These days I really listen to a lot of different genres, Depends on the time and mood. Its so easy to get listen to so many different genres music these days. Spotify search and here you go. Playlists all over he place. Off course a lot of dance music to get inspired and thats where my heart is but chill out, dutch hip hop, old school hip hop, indie pop, 60’s and 70’s rock etc. In the 90’s i bought a lot of vinyl to play. All dance/technoish. I think I have a record collection over 5.000 records. I will keep them till the day I day! ;)

Igor: I still buy vinyl. My collection is growing and it got so diverse in a way. Jazz, Ambient, Indie, Chill, Trip and a lot of electronica. My early influences: Autechre, Aphex Twin, FSOL, Biosphere, Plastikman, LTj Bukem, Warp Records, Ninjatune Records, Studio !K7. I still have all of these records...like a memory note! New in my vinyl collection: Nils Frahm, Perfume Genius, Jamie XX.

Are you musically trained? And do you think it’s necessary for success in writing electronic music?

Yes, we think so. We think it's a privilege if you can understand how music is created and the whole process of writing music. When you want to become a producer / dj we think its handy to listen to others and different genres and to analyze and decompose what you hear. If you want to start dj-ing, also try to mix with turntables because than you easily realize what it really takes to beat match and mix etc. Its not a must but for sure it wil develop the process of doing fast and brings you to other levels and dimensions as a dj.

How did you meet and eventually start collaborating? How was the Mononoid project born into the world?

We met in the vinyl store in Groningen. Andy dropped a record behind a closet and asked the guys if he could get another one instead. Lucky enough it was the last one…. So we all started to move things around the store to get this vinyl. And we were all laughing so much. So Andy got what he wanted, and we left the store with a big smile, but the very next day we came across each other on the street. What a coincidence. We started to chat and soon after we made appointments to start producing together. The feeling was great, Mononoid was born!

A successful partnership is generally based around balance and compromise; how do you manage these things within the Mononoid dynamic?

Haha good question. The thing is that we have two studios, both our own, so we can write music when we want. We send each other stuff, sometimes its a one puncher and its kinda done already and we both agree. Sometimes we send each other music back and forth for ages till we both think its great. We’ve created a organic workflow of accepting when the other says, no, not for me. Lets try something different. We learned to accept that and not get too attached till we both think the tune is perfect. Sometimes the process goes fast and sometimes it takes a bit longer. Apart from the whole musical process we are also good friends of course. Go for a beer or two is fun and distract you from making music sometimes.

Do you have different roles in the production process? And if so elaborate please.

Yes, somehow we do. Igor is more a percussionists and Andy is more the atmo and melodic oriented somebody. We think it's a good match in this perspective. As we said before not being attached to anything in the track gives us the freedom to choose what are we going for.
And so simple it is at the end, while one working on beat the other one makes melodic parts!

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. How do you discover new music nowadays?

Yes, things change, Especially nowadays. We get a lot of promos and we always listen to them carefully. A good thing to discover music. Of course thru all different musical channels. spotify, sc, beatport etc. We always search for new and , from our perspective, good quality music. It also lets you see what is going on in the world music wise and it stimulates your creative process as well.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? The impact it’s having on travelling DJs is hugely significant. How has it changed your day to day life?

We miss traveling so much. We met many wonderful people from all over the world in the past years, and we have seen many beautiful places and all of it because of music and art in general. Lets hope that some day in the near future we all will be able to continue our journeys without any restrictions and fear.
We have the privilege that we both have another job as well. Andy is working in a micro brewery and does pr (socials) for some companies. Igor is working as a technician in theaters and creates movies for a modern dance company. We always wanted to have side jobs instead of just making a living out of music. To increase your life and also for the moments like these. Musicians are struggling and that's hard to see. Super curious what the future will bring for all of us.

Once nightlife eventually resumes what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

Depends in what way it will resume. We think that the clubs will start focusing on local musicians more than before. Limitation of people in clubs is going to change the industry dramatically. Maybe clubs have to join forces and start throwing parties together? Interaction through streams and screens? The line-up divided in the Clubs? Music is still being produced, a lot of it, even more than before. It feels like a RESET in the scene and no one will ever forget about this long pause.

You have a new EP out on Beat Boutique this week. Tell us a bit about the release and how you approached writing the lead track ‘Haze Over Rain’ and the production process behind it.

Yes we do. The EP contains three originals. All of them are more Tech-Prog side of the dance music. Haze Over Rain started with Igor. He created the bass and drum parts and I (Andy) loved it. He send me the parts and I started working on the melody lines and the arrangement of the track. I added some claps and chose for a more on the beach in the morning synth atmospheres because the drum part and groove was so strong and danceable already. Igor approved it and the track was finished.

What made Beat Boutique the right home for this EP?

We worked with Eli before and when we finished these three tracks and we both agreed instantly to send it to his label. Why? Because Boutique has a particular sound of quality techno Prog productions. Strong grooves and dreamy atmospheres. Great for clubs as well as listening at home. We both thought that it was a match and luckily Eli thought the same.

What’s a piece of gear or software that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

Easy! haha
Software: Uhe Diva, Omnisphere, Fabfilters, SPL, Valhalla
Hardware: Sub37, Elektrons, Virus Ti, Strymon

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. Is this something which is true for yourself? Where does inspiration come from?

Where it comes from we don't really know, we just like to create and this feeling
is very present in our lives. Music and art is the outcome. It makes us happy and fulfilled. Our life experiences makes us for who we are and how we look at things and of course its motivate us as well. Skills and the gear are playing a big role too we think.

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for Mononoid? Anything you can share with us?

Hopefully we can reschedule our cancelled gigs and travel again ;) we created a lot of music and remixes which will see the light this year on many different quality labels. If the situation will not get better we will just go on with making music for people to enjoy. Of course we hope for the better for the whole world and every individual in the globe. One love

'Haze Over Rain' is available for pre-order via Beatport: https://bit.ly/2NdM9p2

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