[Exclusive Premiere]: EDM Record Label Monstercat 5th Anniversary: Roundtable Interview With The DJs

Celebration!

This year marks the 5th Year Anniversary of Monstercat, the notorious Canadian EDM Record label, home to some of the most amazing DJs and Producers around. This year they decided to commemorate their special holiday in a way similar to their 3rd Year Anniversary, which included a monstrous mashup of epic electric adventure visually by Didrick (their energetic company member), and as a full-length, ten-track project by some of the artists in the company. You can listen to the the studio album above and watch the music video here!

In the video above, Didrick and his squad use numerous instruments (Keys, Drums, Cello, Violin, Guitar, Trombone, Banjo, Bass, Saxophone, and Kazoo) sounds to create a whirlwind of music that is both energetic and exuberant. Through this visual, the company hopes to best express the meaning and values of the enterprise that quite literally lives and breathes its innovative music. You can watch the video above and celebrate along with the entire crew for a significant year in their absolutely successful career!
A little more on the label? Monstercat is Canada’s largest independent electronic music record label! That is correct! The largest! Mike Darlington and Ari Paunen founded the company back in 2011 and since then have relocated themselves to Vancouver, British Columbia to recruit the incredible line-up of individuals they represent now! Monstercat has a mission, and that is “to connect artists with fans in a way that nurtures the spirit of sharing and family.”

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This digital electronic hub has conquered some amazing feats along their way.  With Over 4 million YouTube subscribers, 14 number one chart-toppers on iTunes, and 2.5 million singles sold in just their 5 years of existence, this record label has proven its existence is a player in the music industry, and that it’s here to stay. It also has delved into broader markets of public relations and live event promotional gigs, technology initiatives, and merchandise. The company proudly claims that they’re “backed by enthusiastic employees, driven artists, and the dedication of supporters world-wide, every chapter of our story is worth a listen.”

The 5th Anniversary project is entirely made by the label’s own artists all in matter of two very intensive week. It consists of the bigger acts such as Muzzy, Noisestorm, and Stephen Walking, but also presents some of the newer, younger, rising stars like Puppet, Slips & Slurs, WRLD, and Conro. It’s a great piece of work because it really shows you the multitude of musical facets the company manages, from dance music, to trance, to dubstep, to trap, to electro indie-pop, French house and pure EDM, this album covers it all. This production was an incredible construction because it reflects all of the hard work, experience, and talent that the company has fostered since its genesis. The label also includes EDM heavy-weights like Marshmello and Krewella! Monstercat has had a great first 5 years, and they’re proud to say that they’ve pursued them very well, but now they’re ready to take on another 5 years and another after that, looking forward to what the future will hold!

NOW, in honor of the festivities, we thought it would be a wonderful idea to interview some of Monstercat’s artists, all who have contributed in some part to the epic Monstercat 5th Anniversary Mix! They all give us a little insight into their own EDM worlds, their personal lives and interests, their music, and the Anniversary mix!

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So, without further ado, here is the roundtable interviews with DJs and Producers Slips & Slurs, Conro, and WRLD!

Neelu Mohaghegh (me) [NM]: Hi guys! Thank you so much for doing this interview! Really excited to talk to you all and hear your thoughts on things! So, let’s jump in! Introduce yourself(ves)! Where are you guys from? What are your names?

Slips & Slurs [SS]: Hey! I’m Alex Swartwout, and I release music as Slips & Slurs. I’m 19 years old and from Yorkville, Illinois.

Conro [C]: My name is Conor Patton aka Conro. I’m currently living in Kelowna BC Canada.

WRLD [W]: Hey, my name is David Lawson, I’m from the Netherlands and I produce music under the name WRLD!
NM: What got you guys into music in the first place and especially EDM?

[SS]: My parents had me take piano lessons for a little while as a kid, but I think that the first time I considered music seriously was when I was playing Guitar Hero 3. I used to play it religiously. Like, every day when I got home from school I’d sit down and play it for hours. As a result of this, I got inspired to take guitar lessons and start playing percussion in my school’s band. Guitar didn’t last very long, but 9 years later I’m still playing and studying percussion.

The first song I ever made was actually a rock song in Guitar Pro 5, which is really meant to just be a system for creating tabs. I really loved writing the music though and had lots of fun with it. About two years later, I was scrolling Facebook and clicked on “Skrillex – Rock n’ Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain)” thinking that it was a metal song. I was blown away by what I actually found. I immediately started looking up information about how to make electronic music, downloaded an FL Studio trial, and started my first song that very day. Needless to say, I was hooked. I had always wanted to be in a band but couldn’t find the proper group to do so, so electronic music was perfect for getting my ideas out without having to rely on other people. I’ve been making it ever since.

[C]: I’ve been involved in music every since I was a wee little dude, came from a musical family and was always forced to play an instrument growing up. I later turned to EDM after years of pursuing both my Folk and Rock projects just because it was such a new and interesting creative stand on writing music. And it continues to shape and grow into new things, the creativity is endless.

[W]: I started experimenting with digital music after seeing a video of a guy who made a song out of Windows sounds, kind of random haha. I didn’t have much of an interest in music back then, I was just interested in building and creating things in general (before music I always wanted to become a Lego designer!) I got into EDM through Owl City, he was the first artist I really loved and he’s still my favorite. He worked together with Armin van Buuren and Chicane which got me into trance music.

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Slips & Slurs

NM: How do you guys describe your sound? How do you think it sounds different from other producers in the same field, and what separates you from them?

[SS]: Personally, I’d describe my sound as bipolar. I’m trying to get the best parts of calm and heavy music and throw them together into each song.  There’a a lot of strictly heavy tracks that I really love, but I feel like having both calm and heavy portions in each track really helps meld everything together to make a more versatile piece of music.

[C]: Like I mentioned before, I’ve spent my whole life working on the creative process of writing and producing music in my own way. I have multiple influences and chosen what I do like and don’t like at a very early age. All of that creates my project ‘Conro’. I would explain myself as chill electronic indie future pop, if that makes any sense at all haha.

[W]: I guess my sound is all about keeping it simple. My main focus is getting the melodies as good as possible, it’s all about beauty. I try to make the songs very catchy as well, almost as if they’re pop songs.
NM: What about electronic music do you think makes it such an important genre for music?
[SS]: I think that electronic music is so cool because people can make sounds that have never been heard before. Granted, it’s not easy to do, but that’s definitely one of the major things that drew me to the genre in the first place.

[C]: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, and to sum it up without this turning into an essay I would say, Music evolves with technology. We can use computers to produce music now. Where the first music maybe started on a rock and some sticks, later evolving and turning into perhaps didgeridoo, years later a guitar then to a keyboard and etc. etc.! It is important in the sense that we are constantly evolving and looking for change in everything. This is where we are at now, producing electronic music. I can’t wait to see what electronic keeps evolving into. Very inspiring for me.

[W]: There’s so many things you can do in electronic music that you couldn’t do with regular instruments. It gives us so many more options and a much bigger choice of what to listen to.
NM: How do you see the EDM scene right now? Is it at its peak? Or is it losing ground? Or is transforming, and into what?

[SS]: I think that electronic music is in a bit of a transforming period right now. It’s definitely not at the peak of the hype and popularity that it was at a few years ago, but as of now, electronic music has been accepted into the mainstream to an extent, and being in the mainstream helps it gain legitimacy. I wouldn’t say that it’s losing ground or peaking or anything, really. As of now, electronic music is just finding its place to stay among everything else.

[C]: I explained myself a bit in the previous question, I can’t know exactly what is next or what it will sound like, but I can imagine it’s going to be an epic continuation of this electronic music journey. I think people have called EDM dead for years now but nothing has changed, just maybe the styles are changing, as it is clear to see how it has changed over the years. Like I said, I believe that music evolves with technology and I don’t think we are going to stop making ‘Electronic Music’ anytime soon. It will just evolve, maybe incorporate more organic instruments but not lose electronic sounds all together.

[W]: I think most of the EDM music coming out these days is quite boring. Everything sounds the same. One thing I enjoy seeing though is that everyone’s moving from a DJ set to a live show. Live shows are much more interesting and I’m glad everyone is realizing that.

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NM: How was it like making your song on the compilation? What was the overall motivation behind its fabrication? And what is your favorite song off of it?
[SS]: For “Divided VIP” I wanted to take everything that people loved about the original and flip it into a new style. I was experimenting with a lot of things from Trap to DnB and even a ‘4 on the floor’/Hardcore drop. Eventually, I ended up going with Trap -> DnB and I’m really happy with the results! “Break the Silence” was such an insane process to make. We originally started the track with the goal of including it on Monstercat’s final compilation, and more than a year later we finally got it released. It was definitely chaotic and a lot of work to get it done but I know all of us are happy with the final product. Also, big shoutout to Richard Caddock for being the team leader and complete MVP of the track. It’s hard to pick a favorite song off the compilation because I honestly really enjoy every track on it, but if I had to pick one it’d be “Imperfect Views” by Rogue. There’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of detail and care put into this track, and that chord progression gets me every time.

[C]: It was great making all the songs that have been featured on Monstercat’s compilations. It has been such a pleasure working with Monstercat, such a great label and community for creativity. Motivation comes at me like writing a journal. I don’t usually plan out my songs, but rather express what I am feeling in the moments when I sit down and write.

[W]: Making “Break The Silence” was quite chaotic. Richard had been sitting on the idea of doing a mega collaboration for a long time but finishing it was hard. The Monstercat 5th Anniversary seemed like the perfect occasion to do it though! My favorite song off the compilation must be Stonebank’s “Lift You Up,” gotta love some trance!
NM: What is your favorite song in general?

[SS]: Right now, it’s “Kill the Noise & Dillon Francis – Dolphin on Wheels (Rickyxsan Remix)”. It’s so over the top and ridiculous and I just love it. Gets laughs, but also goes incredibly hard.

Honorable Mention: All of Eptic’s new Overlord EP. That dude just churns out quality music.

[C]: Yikes… Too many to choose from. I do love Martin Garrix’s new track with Bebe Rexha ­ “In The Name Of Love.” That kid is going to be around for a long time, Martin is such a talented young producer.

[W]: That’s a tough questions but probably something by Owl City.

NM: If you could collaborate with an artist or artists, who would that be?

[C]: Love to work with Louis the Child

[W]: Adam Young haha.

NM: Now since Verge Campus and GoodMusicAllDay are college publications, we always like to ask, “did you go to college?” If yes, where did you go, what did you study, and how was your experience/did it influence your career path? If you said no, would you have liked to go to college, and what would you have studied?

[SS]: I’m actually currently enrolled at Florida State University studying Commercial Music. I’ve only been through my first year as of now but I find that learning and performing music, even if it’s not the style that I create, has been a very positive influence on my music. My career path is still focused on making a living from creating my music, but as of now, I feel that my education has been aiding me in becoming the best musician that I can possibly be.

[C]: I went to a private arts school, I took an Audio Engineering program. It was more focused on recording in the studio, mic’ing techniques, theory and the old music industry history. It had nothing to do with electronic productions, but it definitely helped me focus on what I wanted to accomplish, which was to be an artist/producer.

[W]: Nope, I only just finished high school 2 months ago, and I’m gonna be focusing on music full time now.

WRLD

NM: When you are not working on music, what are you doing?
[SS]: Probably playing Overwatch or SSB4 with friends.

[C]: Love longboarding, going to the beach, golfing and boating!

[W]: Working on visuals in Cinema 4D/After Effects, playing Pokémon or Smash Bros and hanging out with friends!

NM: What moves you or motivates you?

[C]: Drive, sense of wanting more all the time. I want to be the best I can be, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever know if I’ll get there.

[W]: I just want to make my own favorite music ever! Create stuff that I’d listen to if I hadn’t made it myself.

NM: What is the weirdest experience you guys have ever had while performing your music?

[C]: I scared someone off the dance floor because I stared at them until they felt so uncomfortable they left. If by any chance this dude is reading this… I’m sorry, I was only messing with you haha. I enjoy messing around with fans at shows.

[W]: My and my band (I’m in a band called Ocean Element) were playing and suddenly all the sound from my MacBook started glitching out. The sound guy said our ‘cable broke,’ but the cable was totally fine when we tested it later. We think the sound guy accidentally messed up and didn’t want to admit it… 😦

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NM: What is one word of advice you would give to aspiring student musicians/artists out there who want to do what you do?
[SS]: Embrace music of all types and don’t only listen to the genre that you make. Those influences that you take without even knowing will help you stand out in the crowd.

[C]: Understand what you are good at and perfect that. My skills lie in melodies, hooks and arrangements. I lack in other areas, but I’ve used creative ways to work around that. Also it is a patient game to play, superstars aren’t made overnight. It takes a ton of drive passion and possibly a little insanity.

[W]: Listening is as important as creating is when you want to get good! Listen to your favorite music and analyze what that artist has done, you can then apply that to your own music.

NM: What is the Canadian music scene like, especially in Vancouver?
[C]: The scene here is great, I find that the fans of EDM are very responsive to new material, open to hearing new songs at shows, where in some other places they are really hoping to hear that specific ‘Drop’ or ‘Genre’ what not. I feel like we push for new material and open to change. Canada is so great, eh?

[W]: That’s a great question, one day I will find out the answer myself. But for now, I don’t know as I’m from in The Netherlands!
NM: How did you come up with your stage name?
[C] Dyslexia was the reason for my stage name. Haha, I for some reason spell my name wrong when I’m typing it on the computer, so I just felt like I’ll just run with that instead.

[W]: That’s my secret.

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NM: Who are your musical inspirations? (Artists or even just people in your life.)

[C]: Odesza, ZHU, Flume, Mazde, Jack U

[W]: Adam Young (Owl City) has been my #1 inspiration all along, his sounds and melodies are my favorite!

NM: Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 year from now? In 10?

[C]: The biggest sell out on the market! Haha No, I’m only kidding, I want to make really good music and want it to be heard. That is the goal.

[W]: I’ll probably still be doing the same thing, just making as much music as I can. Hopefully, I’ll have started a few aliases by then as well ‘cause I really want to experiment with some different styles of music. Ambient is #1 on that list for sure!

NM: Tell us one fun fact about yourself, that fans wouldn’t know.

[SS]: Calvin and Hobbes is the best comic strip of all time and I believe that I own the entire series.

[C]: I’m pretty talented at DDR, dance moves for days…

[W]: My room is literally FULL of Bionicles, nostalgia has an important role in my music, so I can never let go of the things that made my youth awesome.

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NM: Thank you, guys!

Conro ended the interview with a super enthusiastic note and I really appreciated it! 🙂  “THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW, APPRECIATE THE LOVE & SUPPORT!!!!!”

So, that was it! The guys had a lot of amazing answers and a lot dynamic and unique characteristics and personalities that make them and their music who and what they are! I personally am a huge fan of all of their music as they all are exciting and charismatic! If you want to check out their music, you can either follow Monstercat on YouTubeSpotify, iTunes, or SoundCloud, or you can listen to them individually via their own SoundClouds below:

Slips & Slurs 

Conro

WRLD

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Keep up to date on all things related Monstercat by checking out their site, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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