Let’s start from the beginning. It seems like music has played a big factor in your life, what was your introduction/background to music?
I grew up and spent my core years in downtown Toronto, specifically little Italy. I love that neighbourhood and I try to visit as much as I can. I love the city but that area will always have a special place in my heart. Eventually I moved to Vaughan (maple) where I finished elementary and went to high school.
I’ve been around music all my life. There was really no escaping music especially when musicians and singers have been in my family for generations before me. My great grand father was actually well known in Azogues, which is a small city in Ecuador for the Way he played his bandoneon which is very similar to an accordion. My grandma would always tell me stories about him and that kind of sparked my dream at a young age.
I started writing rhymes and poetry in grade 4 but got introduced to all kinds of different styles of music as early as I could remember through my family. My dad actually taught me how to rap by having our own “Freestyle Fridays” just for fun. My mom was a singer and my uncle was a DJ, so I was always around good ears when it came to music.
Somewhere down the line I realized what music does to people and that’s what enticed me. It’s a universal language that speaks to all kinds of people in different ways, you don’t even have to know what the lyrics mean. Sometimes it just the beat or a certain sound that makes your ears go crazy and that’s what amazes me the most. When I was too shy to record myself or let people hear my rhymes I turned to being a DJ because I still wanted to make people feel different emotions through music. It may not have been directly from a song of mine but rather a mix or mashup.
How did you venture into becoming a DJ? What were some of your favourite moments of being a DJ?
Growing up I lived in a smaller house with my grandma, parents, sisters and uncle it wasn’t hard to hear the bass jumping from upstairs or downstairs whether it was my dad runnin’ all kinds of Hip Hop and R&B or my uncle getting ready for a gig bumping his Bachata mix. I always wanted people to hear my music but i never thought I’d ever have the courage to actually show someone. That’s when I started watching my uncle mix and play with different bpms in all different types of music. Eventually I picked up everything off of him and built my confidence that way. I became addicted to the feeling of flawlessly executing a mix and I couldn’t wait to show people.
The most fun experiences I’ve had In life was while being a dj and the craziest moments would have to be in high school. Having people reacting to your mixes is already a crazy feeling but having everyone in your grade jumping to the way you mix live on different occasions was nuts.
You are now a music artist. At what moment in time did you decide you wanted to pursue being on the mic instead of on the decks?
I went into high school trying to be a DJ first and getting gigs where I could. But after my first couple gigs, I realized a lot of people liked my taste in music and the way I mixed too.
I slowly started letting my close friends hear me freestyle when we would hang out at parks or at someone house so honestly I’d have to credit them for pushing me to see I could actually rap. I love being a dj and I don’t think I’ll ever let that go. But this has been my dream even before that so I always had it at the back of my head.
Do you feel like being a DJ helped transition into becoming an artist easier?
Being a DJ definitely helped boost my confidence early on. When I seen that I could have people vibing just off the way I was spinning I knew I could do something with music. After being in front of such large crowds and getting great feedback I slowly started coming out of my shell as an artist.
Let’s talk about your debut project Lovin Lust. How did that come together and what was your creative process like in the making?
Lovin Lust actually started off as recording sessions at my boys home studio. It was about two summers ago when I experienced some feelings I’ve never felt or ever thought I would feel and it was pretty tough. I actually mention it in the second last song on the project “fucked up”.
In a world where vulnerability is viewed as a weakness. I tried my hardest to cover that up with being a “tough guy” but my closer friends seen straight through that. It got to a point where my boy Brandon (BM) would hit me up in the middle of them summer nights knowing I was going through it just to hear what I had to say on the mic. At this point of my life I didn’t want to be an artist or anything anymore. I was just defeated in every way and if it wasn’t for Brandon seeing that in those times there would probably never be a project from me ever.
I’d have to say the creative process was as natural and organic as it could get. Pure emotion behind every single song and that’s why I knew I had to make something out of it. Each song has its own view on love but with my own toxic twist on it. Everything I’ve ever experienced with love and the toxicity that could come out of it from falling in love to falling out of it in the worst ways one could imagine. As the summer went on and time progressed we were sitting on over 100 songs and we realized the uniqueness in every single one which sparked ideas for a project.
What is the meaning behind the title Lovin Lust?
There’s hidden messages all throughout the project. From the cover art all the way down to the wordplay in the songs and title of the project. The ideas came from the things I’ve experienced.
The cover art itself is a play on words on the word “LOVE”. If you spell it out backwards it’s “EVOL” and if you say that out loud it’s “evil”. Therefor love is evil. The title is very similar but the meaning behind it is that sometimes you may not be in love with the person at all. Sometimes it’s just the feeling or maybe even less than that. What you’re feeling may not be love but rather a version of lust that you created for yourself in your head to be ok sith the situation you’re in. At the same time you may be in something so toxic that you can’t even tell the difference.
It seems like you like to be melodic with your music. How did you find your sound and who were some of your inspirations?
I slowly found my sound by listening and experiencing different sounds in music. I never really wanted to base my sound off anyone. I loved the fact that my voice was unique and I kind of just took it from there. Individuality is key for me. I never liked following the crowds or doing what everyone else was doing. I always liked to doing me wether you liked it or not.
I was always big on what the music makes you feel so I would always dig deep into what message the artist was really trying to convey or what vibe the producer wanted us to feel on the beat and why. I always liked finding that undiscovered artist that’s being fully transparent and genuine with what they say in their music no gimmicks, nothing for show just the music speaking for itself.
You took to Instagram and credited your boys @dantenobili @brandonmaunes for making this possible, what was the story behind that?
For starters these two guys are the root of everything for me becoming an artist. I remember being in grade 10 just vibing and free styling in Dante’s (DNP) garage. He would react and dissect my bars like crazy. It would pass as just being a good friend but he slowly opened my eyes and showed me my wordplay was there from the jump. One day I was showing him a song that I had wrote in the garage and he started asking why I didn’t start making music. I openly told him I was scared as hell and wouldn’t get caught dead on a mic.
The idea of releasing a song wasn’t even in my imagination yet. The next day he had a mini studio set up in his room. A mic, DAW & software. Everything we needed to start. Even then I was never planning to release anything. Just making songs for the guys to vibe out to and bump in the car. We slowly started making tons of music and he was a huge help in shaping the way I make mine today. What I really appreciated was that he never really let me get in my comfort zone. He knew I could speak Spanish so he started bringing that out of me. I never even really sang until he pushed me to try different styles of music rather than just straight rapping. Every session he would pull up different kinds of beats and ideas in an attempt to find my sound and tap into my potential as an artist. He taught himself how to navigate through everything so I wouldn’t have to. He would make mock ups of cover art and constantly throw marketing ideas at me without even realizing what he was doing. Little by little we eventually released our first couple unofficial tracks on SoundCloud and they didn’t do too bad but I would’ve never gained that confidence I needed if it wasn’t for him. The big thing for me was his parents. The fact that they let that happen was something I couldn’t wrap my head around. We would be locked up in his room playing loud music and beats all day and night. Big shout out to them for even letting that happen if it wasn’t for them we would never record as much as we did and find my sound as quick either.
Around the same time my boy Brandon (BM) was doing big things in Toronto’s underground rap scene. He was quickly becoming an insane producer and always had an incredible ear when it came to music. For that reason his input was always important to me. They were both my very first recording engineers for this project and since I started. All I ever needed was someone to press record and they did much more than that. That’s why I’m so grateful.
Did you face any hardships during the creation of Lovin Lust?
To be honest everything was very organic and kind of effortless when it came to actually creating the project. I only started thinking about releasing one song at first but then I realized we had so much music that told a story all together. Everything lined up perfectly and we knew we had to drop some kind of project. Half way through the process the vision started to become much clearer when I realized how I wanted it to go. From the intro to the last song. I think I had an idea of how it wanted it to be set up but the songs all came very naturally and that’s why I felt the need to make something out of it.
If you wanted listeners to take away one thing from this project, what would it be?
I released this project because everyone that’s heard my music before knows I was always just rapping and never really played with melodies the way I do on Lovin Lust. If i want listeners to take anything away from this project it would be my versatility and how different I could be with my music.
What more can we expect from Monti in 2023?
My biggest problem has always been consistency. I like a song that I make but never really follow up and continue with the momentum. I’ve always been like that more because I never really believed in myself as much as I do now. This project was more than just my debut release. I have tons of unreleased songs and even projects in the works from music videos to my first performance. I’m just slowly getting started and I appreciate everyone that tagged along for the ride. It’s been a long time coming and we’re finally here. I won’t be stopping anytime soon and you can count on that.
Follow Monti Here