After the release of his debut single on Soulvent at the end of last month, we asked Maxwell Sweeney AKA Monika to deliver us his Artist Picks playlist. Keeping it fresh, the man himself delivered us 25 tracks covering a whole host of his inspirations and influences. You can also find his new single in there, so take a listen HERE!
They’re back! Liquid powerhouse GLXY aka Jonathan Campbell and Tom Alston, have been making some serious waves in the DnB scene since their debut release with us in 2015. With impressive work on labels like Spearhead & Limitless as well as having featured on Hospital’s We Are 21 compilation at the start of the year, the duo are returning to Soulvent as if they never left – if a little older and wiser. The Butterfly Effect EP is a classic offering from the pair, showcasing their languid style of production in 3 original tracks, one of which sees an overdue collaboration with Hospital’s own Hugh Hardie & veteran wordsmith Visionobi. Not to forget a remix of last year’s Lonely featuring Belle Humble completes the duo’s record.
Butterfly Effect features friends & contemporaries in the form of mic controller Visionobi and Bristolian golden-boy Hugh Hardie – hot off the release of his debut album. Opening with tenuous, shimmering tones and hypnotising lyrics, the drop culminates in the trademark GLXY sound.
Cylindrical meanwhile kicks off with unsettled jazz tones, and meltingly wistful vocals, a classic melancholy tune from the 2. Bloo opens with a jaunty piano line, soon flanked by ever-so detuned violins. A flourish of strings coupled with a yearning, spacious vocal lead in the drop; a true to form orchestrally-soft, subtle synth roller.
Last up; veteran FD breathes new life into Lonely with his trademark rolling sound. Heavy hitting drums & eery screeches set Belle’s longing tones over a gritty sub bass and rattling drum groove.
If their Exposed EP was anything to go by, or maybe you’re just a sucker for soul-drenched liquid d&b, then make sure to grab the Butterfly Effect EP dropping on the 11th of August.
Breaking the 2-year silence, new boy Monika steps up to the plate delivering the 9th portion of the Liquid Based Mix series and he truly doesn’t disappoint! With a 43-min offering, littered with dubs, we reckon it’s certainly been worth the wait (pun definitely intended). Take a listen below, or over on our Mixcloud page.
After a slight break in his musical offerings, Monika – real name Maxwell Sweeney, has broken the silence with his debut release on Soulvent dropping last week, titled Vector. In light of this, we thought we’d have a cheeky interview with the man himself and see what he’s got to say! AND he’s delivered you a 43-min mix packed full of dubs to keep your ears busy whilst you read!
Hi Maxwell! What got you into drum & bass?
Maxwell: Initially, like a lot of people at school in the 2000s, it was artists like Pendulum, Sub Focus, Mampi Swift, and early Chase & Status. I remember my friends giving me Drum and Bass Arena sets and then listening to them on repeat. Tunes like Ebony Dubsters – The Power of Ra come to mind.
How did you start producing?
M: A little later on from the 2000s a close friend introduced me to another side to DnB that I’d never heard before. He showed me London Elektricity – Just One Second. I was astonished that there could be such beautiful artistry in a genre that I thought was reserved for grimy dance floors!
I became totally obssessed with Hospital for a while. My friend and I went to a Hospitality night at (now closed) Matter at the O2 in London. I became so inspired by the amazing vibes on the dance floor that the DJs were creating, and I wanted a part of it. Getting a laptop and a copy of Logic was the next step.
What’s your chosen software?
M: Logic Pro 9. I tried Logic X for a bit and I didn’t like it so I’m sticking to what I know best!
Maybe I’ll give it another go in the future but 9 delivers what I need.
Do you play any instruments?
M: I’ve played the piano for most of my life, and I recently learned some of the basics of the violin.
What’s the DnB scene like in New Zealand?
M: Sadly, I don’t really know! I moved over to live with my girlfriend and we’ve been living in a small town on the South Island where DnB is all but non-existent.
However, we have plans to move to Wellington within the next year. NZ’s capital has DnB in it’s veins, and I’m going to tap into it.
What’s your proudest release to date?
M: Without a doubt it was getting on the NewBlood 014 vinyl. I’d been a huge fan ever since the fantastic 010 album, which showcased early Enei, Synkro and Stray. It stands as a physical representation of my hard work and passion.
Which 3 label’s inspire you the most currently?
M: Samurai/HORO, Exit & Stones Throw.
Dancefloor or Liquid?
Fried, scrambled or poached?
M: Gimmie dem buttery scrambley eggs fam!
Noisia or Ivy Lab?
M: Ivy Lab.
Labour or Conservative?
And finally…. what’s in store for Monika for this year?
M: – Moving to Wellington
– Future releases with my house alter-ego Jesse Bullitt
– Writing/pitching more choonz, innit!!
Thanks for your time Max!
Written & edited by Joe Goss.
Sometimes the best part of running a label, is the demos you receive. Ranging from all corners of the globe, tastes & sub-genres alike, at Soulvent we operate with a huge dependency on the on-a-whim punts that we receive from producers monthly.
Monika is truly such a story. After receiving 3 demos somewhat randomly from Maxwell ‘Monika’ Sweeney himself a few months back, we were baffled at how we had ended up with the tracks. Did he send them to us? Who is he? However, now all finalised, we’re pleased to bring you these two tracks in the form of his debut single Vector on Soulvent.
Title track Vector opens with a classic breakbeat, engulfed in swirling atmosphere pads, pulsing synth swells and yearning vocals – all the while bubbling with a menacing arpeggio underfoot. Halfway through the build the synth’s intensity grows, and the slightly more sinister nature of the track takes hold. Post drop we’re introduced to meaty low-end, complete slick sub drops, more other-worldly vocal phrasing and innovative drum fills.
Meanwhile Bahn starts with a huge, warm synth swell, leading to a sub driven drum pattern. Modulating synths lurk in the intro, while the uncertainty of key keeps you hooked, caught between spaced resonance and droning tones. The drop culminates in a fully unexpected gully drop, complete with driving percussion and stepping tones of rumbling bass supported by pads.
Set for release this June, Monika kicks off our run off Summer releases, with enthusiasm and panache for the genre, the likes of which always excite us!