ND Podcast 040 – Hollis P Monroe / The Black 80s

nd podcast 040 - hollis p monroe

It has been a lengthy process on both parts to make this happen but with a little patience, all came good. We thought a special mix for the Christmas season was in order, so it gives me great pleasure to introduce Hollis P Monroe to our podcast series, Hollis has put together an exclusive mix for us and fired back some answers in a mini interview below.

Tracklist

Till Von Sein – Don’t You Eva (feat Meggy) – Suol
Trickski – Finael – Suol
Michael Gracioppo – Creep (feat Wayne Tennant) – Innversions
Kraak & Smaak – F.A.M.E ft. Retro Stefson (K&S Remix) – Jalepeno
Cricle – Control – Leftroom LTD
Sakorka – So Rush – PhD
AAVA – Upside Down – Share
Michael Ho – Don’t Rush (Jay Hazes return of the pony mix) – Nice Try
Coyu – Salvation ft. Aaron David Frith (Dennis Ferrer Remix) – Noir Music
The Black 80s – Such a long time – Compost Black Label
Carlos Sanchez – Timeless – La Vie En Rose
Nina Kraviz – Ghetto Kraviz (Cesar Coronado Rawmix)
Daniel Bortz – Pictures – Suol


Hey Hollis, firstly a big thanks for taking the time to mix this podcast for us, we have been fans of yours for years so it’s a pleasure to have you on board. Tell us a little bit about this mix and what people can expect to hear?

Well, first of all, I need to apologize for how long it took me to do it! It’s been a bit a whirlwind on the production side of things. I think that I might actually have been more active in the last year or so than I have been in all my past years combined. That being said, I have no complaints. Busy is definitely better than “not busy”.

Ok, as cliché as it sounds…. Hopefully, it will take people that listen to the mix on a bit of a journey. I try not to stay on one vibe too long when play…. (or when I make music, come to think of it). It’s not super eclectic but I still think there’s some diversity there.

What is your preferred format when DJing? Have you moved with the times or are you still a vinyl kind of guy?

I’m a Serato guy now and before that, I was strictly vinyl. I never even learned how to use CD players. I’ve had quite a few friends try to teach me but for some reason I can’t seem to wrap my head the whole play/pause/cue thing. But interestingly enough, now I’m using Serato with a Native Instruments X1 controller and no vinyl controllers. I just have it set up to do the nudging with the buttons since there’s no auto-sync.

To do studio DJ mixes, I use Ableton Live. Both Overnite and I like to do a bit of spontaneous looping when we play live and it’s easier to recreate that kind of thing but in a controlled way using Ableton.

Your career in electronic music started with the launch of your own label Renaissance Infinity back in 1996, which went on to release your hit track ‘I’m Lonely‘ for the first time. How did you come about making that track? Did you already have the sample in mind to use or did that come after you had laid down the basics?

The vocal sample came last, actually. I didn’t have time to think about it much because the instrumental track came together VERY fast. Even though it was simple, the groove sounded pretty awesome to me and I wanted to leave it that way. I can’t say that I had that particular sample in mind but I knew that a vocal of some sort was the missing element. That vocal snippet was the first thing that I tried and it just fit perfectly in every way. Then I built a rough arrangement, stepped back to listen and that was it. It sounded raw but complete so I just left it as is. The whole thing took about 3 hours, I believe.

Was there much of a house ‘scene’ in your neck of the woods (Montreal for those who didn’t know) around that time? Or was it a matter of seeking elsewhere for inspiration?

I’m from Philadelphia! I didn’t come to Montreal until around 2005. There were tons of inspiration because we had a very good underground scene and club scene. Plus, we had lots of the good and diverse productions coming from people like Josh Wink and King Britt, Robbie Tronco, Rob Paine and Worship Recordings, Diesel Boy, and the list goes on… On top of that, there was also lots of hip hop, neo-soul and acid jazz stuff going on, too. But when I think about it, I don’t even know if it was a matter of actively seeking inspiration. I think we were all young and just doing our thing. In a certain way, everything was still new and relatively yet to be explored.

Things clearly took off for you after that record, which still puts a smile on my face to this day. So moving to more present times, tell us what projects you’re working on at the moment? What can we expect from Hollis P Monroe as a solo artist and as the newly formed ‘The Black 80’s?

I’m happy that it puts a smile on your face! Interestingly enough, I had a couple of breakbeat records under the name DJ Decent that kinda got things moving initially but yes, things definitely went to a different level after I’m Lonely.

Right now and for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be all about The Black 80s. I don’t have any real interest in being a solo artist. Some of the labels we’ve worked with still prefer to utilize the name “Hollis P Monroe & Overnite” because of my name recognition but in doing so, there have been quite a few instances where my name has completely overshadowed Overnite’s contributions as a co-producer. We’re a team and we wanted a new name to reflect that. With that said, I hope you won’t be able to expect anything. Or maybe I should say that you should expect anything. We both come from very open musical backgrounds and we want to project that by touching as many different sounds and genres as possible.

Everyone has to take a break from the day job every now and again, what do you like to do aside from the music, any particular hobbies or interests you can’t live without?

Well, I became a vegan about 2 years ago and I’ve gotten very much into cooking. The cooking came mainly out of necessity but I’ve also gotten lots of pleasure out of sharing food that I’ve prepared with other people. Other than that, I like to bike a lot and I’m crazy into people-watching. I could sit and watch people go by for hours.

Which record is really doing it for you right now?

At this exact moment, I’d have to say I’m really feeling “Don’t You Eva” by Meggy and Till von Sein. I LOVE Meggy’s voice. Something about her whole vibe just reaches me. And Tilly has a good vibe, too. He just seems like generally good dude. He dances a lot when plays and you can just tell that he’s got real love for the music. I think both of their vibes come through on this song. There’s this well-crafted groove with a deep driving bass in it and then there’s this vocal that I could just as easily hear on a classic Dancehall/Reggae track. Atypical, simple and perfect

And to conclude our little Q&A, tell us your hot label of the moment and why it’s so special to you?

Honestly, I don’t really pay that much attention to labels or even artists for that matter. I barely know the names of the songs! When I shop, I just go by the sound… the same way I did when I bought mostly vinyl. I’d never know who the did the tracks I played.

 

The Black 80s is a newly formed collaboration between Hollis and Overnite, check out all the tracks from their latest release on Compost Black below –

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No Dough Music is a place to find some of the finest house and techno this planet has to offer. Enjoy the tunes.