Exclusive Artist Interview: Monoverse
At the age of 23, Santos Torres is a young and promising musician, better known to the trance and progressive communities as Monoverse.
Starting out in a collaborative project known as “Adastra”, Santos was able to fine tune his skills as both a producer and DJ. Moving forward as a solo artist, Santos took on the Monoverse guise and immediately saw recognition for his work from record labels like Enhanced Recordings, Lange Records, Infrasonic Recordings, Alter Ego Records and other imprints. His productions have received support and play listing from internationally renowned dance music acts like Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Markus Schulz, Gareth Emery, Sean Tyas, Max Graham, M.I.K.E. Push, and many more.
We had the lucky opportunity of having a chat with Santos about his background, his productions and what the future holds.
Rob: Hi Santos, how are you today?
Santos: Really well! I was just able to announce that i’ll be part of the FSOE350 celebration in New York City along side a stacked lineup, so i’m really excited.
Rob: That’s great news! Things are certainly picking up that’s for sure. Tell me, what have you been up to lately?
Santos: Actually, recovering from a minor surgery! pretty inconvenient timing as I had a gig with Arnej in Philadelphia this weekend, but luckily i was able to make it out and had an amazing time.
Rob: Good to hear your on the road to recovery mate. Just going to run through some of your background now; so when did you take interest in electronic music?
Santos: I was about 12 at the time when i first heard electronic music that caught my ear in a video gaming montage. It was a Paul Van Dyk live set, and i found the download for the full thing on tranceaddict which lead me to lurking the forums and digging deeper!
Rob: Awesome! Do you play any instruments or have a background in music theory?
Santos: Not at all! [laughs] To be honest, I do wish i had played an instrument though. i never thought of myself as musical and so my interests at the time were mostly sports or video games. I guess you never know what you’ll be up to as time goes on.
Rob: When did you begin producing electronic music and who were some of your influences when starting out?
Santos: I started seriously pursuing music production when i was just about 20 and aside from the usual suspects like Armin Van Buuren and Paul Van Dyk, I was huge into Sean Tyas and Simon Patterson at the time. At the same time, I was always looking out for smaller artists and record labels to support.
Rob: Is your family musical?
Santos: I think the most musical link you could find in my family is my brother having played the tuba in the marching band in high school. Though, I think he was involved mostly because his friends were and not because he really loved playing tuba [laughs].
Rob: Which famous musicians do you admire and why?
Santos: Any musician that has worked really hard to get where they are has my respect, especially those who are touring while running a record label, producing their own material, and running weekly podcasts. It’s amazing how taxing all of these things can be, even individually, but in today’s market, for the most part you have to be a jack of all trades to make it. With that said, to name someone i truly admire i have to say Jon Hopkins is simply legendary.
Rob: Great answer. Jon Hopkins really is a legend. So speaking of producing, how do you like to work? Do you work on your laptop whilst traveling or are you a stay at home in the studio type of guy?
Santos: I much prefer to be on my main workhorse desktop to produce, as I’m infinitely faster at making music. On my laptop, my workflow is not as strong and I don’t feel as comfortable. However, I just had a surgery that forced me to work on some more music on my laptop and I’ll probably make more use of it to get ideas down in the future.
Rob: Briefly run us through your studio setup.
Santos: Simple! My PC, Ableton, an admittedly overdone collection of 3rd party plugins, two Yamaha hs80ms, an m-audio keyboard i barely make use of and beyerdynamic dt990 headphones.
Rob: We have seen you put out some great releases, what have you got in store for the rest of 2014?
Santos: Thank you! At the moment, there’s a collaboration i have lined up that will be released on one of Enhanced’s sub-labels and a few collaborations still in the works as well. I’m also working on my first vocal singles which will hopefully be finished soon and set for release before the end of the year. Finally, i hope to get something in for Digital Society’s 100th release but we’ll see if i can get something done in time!
Rob: Wow, talk about keeping busy! [both laugh]
Santos: You sure got that right!
Rob: If you could pick three artists to collaborate with who would you choose?
Santos: From the trance world, it would be a dream come true to work with someone like The Thrillseekers. His work has been a huge inspiration to me since i started listening to trance. My pick of vocalist would be Jaren as everything she’s been on has been timeless. Outside of trance, I’m a huge fan of Blu Mar Ten a liquid drum n’ bass act and I would love to see what would happen if I worked with them.
Rob: So tell me, have you had any disaster gigs?
Santos: Of course! Having started out DJing and promoting parties in New Jersey, I’ve experienced events on both ends of the spectrum: Absolutely amazing, and some terribly disastrous. In my opinion, it’s part of the learning experience though. Without bad nights, you couldn’t appreciate the good ones right?
Rob: What are some of your most memorable performances?
Santos: I recently had the opportunity to play along side Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley, Arctic Moon and Adam Ellis with my good friend Mir Omar. The night was absolutely amazing, an absolutely unforgettable experience. Besides that, I think my most fond memory of a gig was playing for one of Brad Miller’s Push The Night events at the downstairs of Santos Party House. Even though I had some stressful things going on before my set, everything came together when I played and I really felt connected with the crowd. That feeling is indescribable.
Rob: What advice would you give to beginners who are looking at pursuing a career in music?
Santos: Look out for others who are involved in the music scene, whether they’re musicians or involved in other manners. Music is one of the most competitive fields and in my opinion has been devalued over time since the internet makes it infinitely more accessible for everyone. Those pursuing a career in music have to constantly evolve, grow, explore new avenues and opportunities. In supporting those around you, it will be returned and you will build a network of positive feedback.
Rob: What do you have to say to your fans and supporters, who’ve been there throughout your journey?
Santos: I would have to say that i don’t have words to describe how grateful I am for their continued support. I try my hardest and will continue to try my hardest in giving back what I can in return, whether it’s exclusive material or whatever is in my power to do. So, to those who have been there since the start, I would like to simply say thank you for that and I hope to return the positive energy in some way!
Rob: And of course with each artist interview, we like to round out with a couple of quick questions if you don’t mind?
Santos: Absolutely, let’s do this!
Rob: Favourite song on your iPod at the moment?
Santos: Tycho – Awake
Rob: Your predictions for the top 3 in this year’s DJ Mag Top 100?
Santos: Pretty obvious: Dylan, Dylan, Dylan
Rob: Any plans to tour Australia in the future?
Santos: No plans yet, but i would be there in a heartbeat when the opportunity comes.
Rob: Last but not least, Electronic Dance Music is seriously starting take off, where do you see the EDM industry in five years?
Santos: Well, music is cyclical and I’m sure in five years much of the buzz will have faded and some of the big business behind dance music will move on. I think at that point a lot of these artists will have to re-invent themselves to find their voice in the community, otherwise it’ll be likely that they’ll fall behind.
Rob: Great answer mate, it’s been a pleasure chatting and all the best for the future!
Santos: And thank you for having me! Hopefully see you soon somewhere in Australia, or wherever.
Monoverse’s latest release, KHEIRA E.P is out now on Infrasonic Recordings, click here to purchase.