After a decade promoting and being resident at one of Leeds’ finest underground parties, Ray Mono is now stepping out of the shadows. That party, Mono_Cult, was inspired by endless seasons in Ibiza, specifically, the afterparty carry-ons at DC10 and Cocoon. They gave him a fine understanding of what it takes to work a crowd at many different times in the day, and now armed with that knowledge he is serving up his own unique take on house and tech in booths across Europe.
Preferring rolling, infectious tunes that get under your skin and tease with warm bass and subtle percussion, his sound—both as a DJ and a producer—is fresh and on point. It is designed to get you dancing and keep you locked in the groove for hours on end. It’s about building a mood and moving you with invention and unexpected twists and turns that all tell a story.
We caught up with Ray Mono to talk about their current musical projects.
Electronic Groove: Hello Ray Mono, thanks for chatting with us today. Where are you right now and what are you up to?
Ray Mono: I’m currently in Santos which is about an hour drive from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m over here for my first South American tour which has been a huge aim of mine so I’m really happy to be here! I could definitely get used to it!
EG: Tell us a bit about your musical background. What are your first musical memories?
Ray Mono: I grew up listening to hip hop in the early nineties but I started listening to house music around the time I was 17/18 and started going out.
EG: How did you decide to become a full-time DJ?
Ray Mono: I ran an event called mono_cult for 10 years in Leeds/ London/ Ibiza to name a few places and was a resident DJ for it which meant I got to warm up for some of the biggest names in the industry. I made a lot of great friends and contacts through the events and I always knew I wanted to produce music and try to make my own way as an artist, so it seemed the next natural progression.
EG: How would you define your current sound?
Ray Mono: I couldn’t really say I define my sound to a genre personally. I just love to make and listen to rolling beats. Tracks that don’t need any added effects or big build-ups to get excited about. Just skippy hats, swing in the percussion, and musicality in the main elements of the tracks. Everything needs to talk to each other which just accumulates into tracks with groove.
“I always knew I wanted to produce music and try
to make my own way as an artist”
EG: You have been producing new music lately. What releases are planned in the coming months?
Ray Mono: The releases I can announce are on Hoarder, Hedzup, META, Tamango, and RAWMoments. I also have a remix for Lauren Lo Sung on her label Lo-Life which I’m buzzing for too…
And there are a few EP’s that I can’t announce just yet but they are signed, I just promised to keep them under wraps for now!
EG: What about gigs? Any confirmed date you are especially looking forward to?
Ray Mono: Well, as I mentioned I’m on my first South American tour right now so I’m excited to be playing 5 gigs in total, while over here between 3 countries, Brazil, Uruguay & Argentina.
Then in April, I’m in Australia for the first time too. So overall I’m just looking forward to getting to tour more in 2020.
EG: What would you like to achieve during this year?
Ray Mono: I have a list of labels I’m aiming to get on but I’ll keep that close to my chest because I don’t want to jinx anything (laughter). But mainly I just want to grow as an artist, you never stop learning so I just want to up my game and see where it takes me!
EG: What was your favourite track of 2019?
Ray Mono: iO (Mulen) – Course