After the success of John Monkman’s Tune In, Turn On bomb to close out last year, it’s no surprise the London-based producer has had a busy start to 2019. A remix of Thermalbear for the 100th release on Sasha’s Last Night on Earth set the stage for Monkman’s return to LNOE for the Delta Ray EP. Widely regarded as one of the most forward thinking and consistent producers in the game, Monkman added to his varied catalogue with last week’s release of pugnacious ‘Pesto Punk’ on Kompakt.As he returns to North America for another round of gigs in California, we caught up with John to recap a whirlwind period in his storied career
WWD – Explain your connection with California – it seems like the west coast is a special scene for you.
JM – California has always had some of the best artistic scenes on the planet. There’s a real attention to detail there, with promoters pushing out incredible levels of productions for the DJ’s and partygoers. Each time I play there, it’s in a unique setting and it’s always a special time. Playing Coachella’s Do Lab last year is a perfect example.
WWD – How do you feel the American house & techno scene has developed since you started playing there in 2013?
JM – The big EDM sound has definitely slowed down. A lot of acts are migrating to a more underground sound, which now seems to be constantly growing across the country. Americans are really embracing melodic techno, which I’m stoked to see!
WWD – How will you spend your time outside of the club while in California?
JM – It will surely be a combination of work and play. I’ll be working in the studio – my good friend Pete Tong lives here so we make sure to connect when I’m in town. There will be a constant supply of Mexican food & Sushi, and I’ll be getting in the ocean as much as possible before returning to England.
WWD – You’ve just had your 2nd release on Kompakt, congratulations! What can you say about the importance of the label, especially for your musical influences?
JM – Since the start, Kompakt’s quality maintains a seriously high level. They have helped launch some seminal acts, and some of my top musical inspirations including likes of Gui Boratto and Weval.
WWD – How did you and James Monro come together to work on Pesto Punk?
JM – James and I had spent quite a few years playing at the same festivals around the world and a lot of time talking backstage, where the idea of a collaboration was hatched. Finally in 2018, after a totally bonkers end of Summer outdoor party deep in the English countryside, the opportunity presented itself. We’d both been fortunate to have played to some very hedonistic dance floors over the summer, so we wanted to create something that reflected those peak moments. After two days fuelled by home-made Pesto, Brew Dog, much laughter, and every synth in the studio… ‘Pesto Punk’ was born.
WWD – You’ve been a busy man recently, with a tour of India as well as gigs in Amsterdam, Kiev, and at Printworks (London). What have been the standout shows over the last several months?
JM – All very unique experiences! I have some nice memories from all the recent shows. Amsterdam was sold out… it’s always great to play in a packed sweaty club. My trip to India was top notch as well! It was great to finally experience Holy and all it’s colour in Mumbai. This was something I had been trying to do for a while, so tying in a few killer shows in India was the cherry on top.
WWD – As we get into the warmer months, are you working on any exciting projects for the summer?
JM – I’m currently finishing up new music, and I’ve just sent the next Beesemyer Music single for release. Beyond that, I’ve got an Anjunadeep EP to wrap up over the coming months.
I’m getting ready to host some new Anaphase material on the label also, which is sounding terrific.
A great side project that I’ve been diving into is working with Breathpod to develop new frequency-specific sound and music for breathing therapy sessions that we’ve hosted at some festivals and will continue this upcoming summer.
WWD – Thanks for stopping by John, enjoy the trip out west!
JM – Thanks mate! See you on the road.