Los Angeles-based Mono/Poly of Brainfeeder, Fly Lo’s very own record label, stopped by Kuala Lumpur last July thanks to purveyor of good electronic music, Detour Asia. A genre non-believer, Mono/Poly is an electronic act whose productions can be described with adjectives that range from meditative, astral, to phantasmagorical. JUICE spoke to the contemplative producer and discovered spirituality in music, the restriction of genres, the annoyance otherwise known as ‘haters’ and club trends, and even a little info on his next release.
Imagine you’re a salesman pitching yourself as a producer, what would you say to those who are uninitiated to your music?
Have you found yourself attempting mental orgasms through various painstaking techniques with little or no success? Well now you can with Mono/Poly music!
How did you get the name Mono/Poly?
I got my name from the KORG synthesiser Mono/Poly. It was in either 2004 or 2005 when I saw the name and was like, “that’d be perfect!”
Ah, that makes more sense… for some reason we thought of the board game first. Does it mean anything more than just a good name though?
It signifies a lot of things. It’s all about multi-dimensionality… that can be looked at in so many ways but I see it musically. The way I make music is really various, I like to just explore and come up with new things I never heard before. You can look at it like that, and then also in a spiritual sense I think. Paramatma, my first full length, kinda hints to meaning behind that.
Speaking of which, you’re quite the spiritual person. How does that translate into your music?
Being spiritual is just what we all are – it’s always going to translate into music. Spirituality helps with my imagination; astral projection, travelling different worlds, be in different frequencies. It’s all very inspiring. That’s what spirituality does, give inspiration.
You’re inspired by the imagination behind spirituality, does this mean it’s not something real to you? Do you believe in them?
Yeah, it’s real! If I had to explore them, then it has to be real to me. I’ve seen stuff that had to do with the real world before it happened. It’s definitely real… that was a confirmation. A lot of times people call it imaginary because when you’re in astral realm you’re projecting – which is why it’s called astral projection – and seeing your own feelings come out in the front. But I like to go further where it’s past my individual self. I’m trying to explore that even though it’s a lot harder to do, that’s what gives me more inspiration.
Gonna go on an assumption here, like a lot of producers in the LA scene, did you start off producing hip hop beats for other people before moving on to what you’re doing now?
I’ve always been doing beats first and people would want to rap over it, and do the traditional thing. But I was mostly just doing beats, so I’ve always been a producer and beat-maker first before working with other people. Nothing has really changed.
Recently Deadmau5 claimed that no matter what DJs and producers say about techniques, they’re all really just glorified button pushers. What do you make of this?
He said all DJs? Well there are DJs who don’t just… well they push buttons, they’re gonna have to push buttons I guess (laughs). But some are more creative with it. Depends on what he really means by that…
He was saying that the real skills lie in the studio, in the production…
Definitely. You mix and put sh!t together, try to scratch all day, or do whatever your chosen craft is… but what are you actually playing, you know? I definitely agree with that bit, it’s in the production. You should be producing good and put that as a high priority. Especially if you’re gonna be DJing and sh!t, you can be a good selector too, that’s cool as well. But if you gotta make beats too, focus on the production. But of course I don’t exactly know what [Deadmau5] really meant.