We catch up with DJ Monk ahead of the release of the Past, Present and Future album
KLP Records latest release is 16 tracks of pure Jungle vibes, the man behind the label DJ Monk is responsible for creating a whole heap of anthems back in the day and since the re-launch of his label some 3 years ago now, it has gone from strength to strength! This release see’s DJ Monk call in on the production skills of a whole heap of artists to bring their personal touch to previously released tracks from the label, and they have done in fine style! On the album you will find remixes from Aries, Serum, Ikon B, Crisis, Lion UK, Ray Keith, DJ Hybrid, Serial Killaz, Papa G, DJ Choppah, DJ Vapour, Inna Culture, Sound Shifter, Dapz and DJ QT.
As you can see from the list of artists involved, some serious Jungle vibes have gone down! All the tracks here are on point, and sure will guarantee to satisfy the needs of the most seasoned Junglist whether you’re a Raver or a DJ, this is the 1st album of 2017 you should be getting you’re hands and ears on! We at Junglist Network were pleased to have a listen to the album in full prior to its forthcoming release date, and after checking out the tunes we thought we’d give DJ Monk a shout to have a chat about the album and things in general since we last caught up with him a couple of years back!
Thank you DJ Monk for taking the time to speak to us! Your label KLP Records has gone from strength to strength since its re-launch, can you tell us what inspired you to start the label back up again?
Around 4 years ago 2013 my brother in law who follows Micky Finn on twitter rang me and told me Micky Finn had put a tweet up asking if anyone had a contact number for DJ Monk from west London , so I set up a twitter account and linked Micky and swapped numbers and got chatting to him about what had been going on music wise with Jungle ( keeping in mind i had been out of the scene since 1997 ) I then staring getting involved with social media and found a link to a Jungle Mania warm up radio show with Jumping Jack Frost & Devious d and starting hearing all new remixes of old Jungle tunes and was like wow , lucky for me I still had all the ingredients for the music I had produced back in the days of floppy disks and DAT tapes etc, I got myself a little set up with Cubase and got an old sampler and starting remixing I Spy ( eye nuh see ) and then starting linking with producers like Lion Dub , Papa G & DJ Vapour who also remixed I Spy and from there without even planning or thinking about it the label was re-launched!
The latest release, the ‘Past, Present and Future’ album is about to drop, I bet a lot of planning and organisation went into it, do you run the label soley by yourself nowadays, or do you have anyone else helping out working alongside you?
Yes the album has been around 2 years in the making and obviously with the remixes of the tracks I’ve had some great people / producers involved who I feel have all delivered a top quality finish to there remixes, as for running the label itself, its just me!
I know your not allowed to have any favourites being the label boss (lol) but are there any stand out tunes for you on the album? Maybe some that have been tested out on the dance floor?
Good question really, and even though I’m the boss I think I’m allowed to have a favourite lol, as for testing out on the dance floor, like I said above, the album has been 2 years in the making with the producers doing there remixes at different times so I’ve been playing some of the music for a while and testing in clubs and on radio. I think DJ Monk – Good Body Girl – serum remix has stood out the most but my personal has to be DJ Monk – Nu Jack City remix by Dapz, but obviously I love them all or they wouldn’t be on my album!
Since your comeback into the Jungle scene, what are the biggest changes you have noticed?
I would say the digital age, that took some getting use to, not saying its a bad thing it has its positives and negatives like everything in life we have to move with the times, back in the days if you wanted dubs we would spend all day in Music House or JTS waiting our turn to cut dubs, but that would be a good day out linking with other producers / djs and listening to other peoples new music, also buying music would be a great day out, doing the rounds of all the record shops like, Blackmarket, Lucky spin, Unity, Mash plus more. Also the way music is being played, we went from carrying big record flight cases around to now playing on CDJ’s and controllers and now I just use USB sticks, also now you can send dubs to someone on the other side of the world who then could play the same night and its a lot easier traveling around with 2 USB sticks rather then a flight case of records, just make sure you dont lose them( lol ) but like I said it has its positives and negatives and we all know this, there will always will be an on going debate, but like I said we have to move with the times!
Who has been the best promoter or event for you to play at and why?
To be honest I’ve played at some great events, the first event I played at after my break was Rewind back to the old skool and that was a great party, the Jungle Alliance events in Brighton are great parties as well, but more recent it has to be Jungle Therapy and United Colours of Jungle, they are pure vibes but I have to say the highlight for me would be playing at Cheeky Mondays in Amsterdam, and at Come Correct night in Calgary Canada, these are the ones that stand out to me, sorry if I have forgot anyone.
For those that don’t know, When can people catch your radio show on Dream FM?
People can catch me on Dream FM the 2nd Sunday of every month apart from one of shows I do with special guests.
How do you feel about modern production methods? I bet things are much easier in the studio now compared to back in the early 90’s? What set up were your classic tracks like ‘Dancehall Style’ for example made with?
I’m loving the modern production methods, its took some getting use to but I’m there now, one thing I will say is the modern production has become so pitch perfect so to speak, its just so clinical and tight, not saying its a bad thing but back in the days it was so much more raw and there were no rules, we did what ever was needed to make tracks sound the way you wanted them to sound and it worked, my fist production set up was in my kitchen lol, I had an Atari 520 ST, an Akai sampler ( first an S1000 and then a 3000 XL which I still have now ) a couple of sound modules and a studio master mixing desk, but the main thing I had was vibes!
Name one piece of modern technology you couldn’t live without in the studio nowadays?
Cubase and its plug inns, oh and someone whos great at mastering lol
Who has been one of your favourite producers in modern times and why?
For me its got to be Serum, the man is just killing with his production and his sound quality!
KLP has released some vinyl in recent times, what is your view on the vinyl revolution, and do you still collect records yourself?
I’m loving the vinyl revolution! I think its great as I love vinyl but unfortunately not a lot of clubs cater for vinyl which is a shame and yes I recently released a few vinyl presses of some unreleased music I made back in the days on a limited press of 100 which I sold my self through bandcamp, but I had a bad experience when I got involved with a distributor ( not mentioning any names ) and it put me of a bit, but will look in to doing more later in the year, and unfortunately for my wife I do still collect records, cant help myself lol
What does the future hold for KLP Records? can you tell us anything about any future projects in the pipeline?
To be honest after this album I’m gonna have a little time out from the label for a few months and concentrate on my own production, reason being is when I started the label in 1994, it was just to release my own music and music from a couple of friends and since getting back involved with music the relaunch of the label is something that just happened, it wasnt something I planned to do and it takes up all my time and dosent leave me with much time for my own production, but im glad I did relaunch it because I’ve got to meet and work with so many new people and also help put up and coming producers out there and on the ladder so to speak, I do have another project in mind for when I start things back but cant say yet!
Is there any artist you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yeah loads! But of the top of my head I couldn’t say, but anyone who has vibes lol
What events can the Ravers catch you at in the coming months?
Saturday 14th Jan you can catch me back 2 back with DJ Wise at a new night called ROGUE which is run by Noodles in Brixton Jamm, also the same night at my launch party for my album at Club PST in Birmingham which Andy Stringer & Kurt Kelly from Payback Promotions are promoting for me, 3rd February Jungle Therapy at Club Union in Vauxhall run by Sephen Munton and Lipton MC, 3rd March Jungle Alliance in Brighton and 11th March Indulge in Uxbridge golf club run by Jadey Chapmam and Rory D.A anyone interested in booking me hit me up on facebook or contact Payback Promotions on facebook or email them direct email@example.com
Any shout outs…
The main one would be my wife Joe for putting up with me and my music and to be honest there would be too many to mention and I know I would forget some one which I would hate to do, but everyone who has worked with me on the label, all the producers who have released and remixed music on my label, all the promoters who have booked me and everyone that supports and enjoys what I do, trust me theres more to come!!!
You can check out the album from the KLP Soundcloud page here for updates on all things from DJ Monk and his label.