One aspect of the trance movement I enjoy most is the enthusiasm around new global producers and DJs emerging in the scene. I got a chance to speak with New York based DJ and producer known as Monoverse aka Santos Torres about his original trance sound which has gotten global recognition over the past couple years following the releases of several original mixes. Monoverse's most recent release expresses the relevant innovative sounds of ambient trance. Forsaken, which was recently released on Enhanced Music and Digital Society Recordings has had the support from Sied van Riel, M.I.K.E., and Mike Saint- Jules. I was able to pick Monoverse's brain regarding his passion and drive for trance as well as his successful and growing record label Amped Artists, which promotes the recent releases and mixes of new producers.
Tell me about your record label Amped and your Monoverse Radio show.
Amped Artists started because at the time I saw other artists weren't having much luck from other record labels. I would find artists on reddit and other forums putting out quality tracks without seeing an actual release. After reaching out to a few of them, we kept in touch as they continued to put out music. That's how it really got started, and they're continuing to release with the label. I couldn't be more proud of the quality of music we've put out!
My monthly podcast, Monoverse Radio, streams on the DJ mixes channel of Digitally Imported twice a month (every first and third Wednesday of the month), and I treat it very much the same way I do with my record label. I look for music that nobody else is playing, things you haven't heard through A State Of Trance or other large-scale trance radio shows.
Why the name Monoverse?
Haha! This is a pretty long story coming from two different reasons, but to sum it up I've read a good amount on quantum physics. I find it hard to believe in a multiverse and so I believe we live in a monoverse, one single universe. I might have butchered that definition, but that's my own version. Beyond that, reading up on music production you come across a lot of information about mono audio playback, so I thought the alias was fitting! A funny little story, I actually came down with mono about a month after putting up my artist facebook page.
Are you aware of your global following?
Very much so! I love paying attention to the stats of my music so I get to see where it's being played. I've developed a surprising amount of followers in Italy, and I'm seeing lots of growth in Argentina, Mexico, and some other South American areas. Reaching people in other countries, as well as the US, is a truly humbling experience.
If there were anywhere in the world you could play, where would it be ?
It might be cliché but because of the videos I've watched when I was younger and first getting into trance, like the documentary Ibiza's children, I would really love to play at Privilege or Amnesia in Ibiza. I've watched videos of Armin and the like playing in Ibiza since before I even got into producing or djing, so there's a certain nostalgia when I think about it.
More realistically though, Digital Society throws huge trance events in the UK and it would be equally awesome to play one of their events.
Who are some DJs that got you into trance?
Probably the most influential character for me was Paul van Dyk. The reason I started listening to trance in the first place was because I was really into competitive gaming, and plenty of people were using PVD's live sets as music for their gaming videos. One of the songs that I remember really pushed me to find more music was Svenson & Gielen's Twisted, or tracks like Universal Nation, and Strange World by M.I.K.E. Push. These guys have recently supported my work on their radio shows, which is an absolutely amazing feeling.
Armin was also the first DJ that I got to see live at Mccarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, and that event was what really pushed me to get into contributing to the trance world. After that, I took up djing as a hobby. Soon enough I realized I had more to contribute than just playing other peoples music, and got into producing as well.
How do you feel about the progressive trance scene that you produce in today?
This might turn into a bit of a rant but I can't speak highly enough for the quality of progressive trance coming out, and so much of it is overlooked. Labels like Infrasonic, Alter Ego, Saturate Audio are all consistently delivering amazing music, but a lot of it is flying under the radar for various reasons. One of them I feel is the “Who's Afraid of 138?” “movement”, which feels to me like a marketing ploy that only benefits certain people. I felt the same way when the big deal was the coldharbour sound and everyone was slaying unicorns, or whatever. It's great for those guys in the moment but there's no long term commitment by the fans to keep up with those artists – once the next “sound” is announced on ASOT a good amount of people will fall off from following the last bunch. People follow Armin and what he supports, which is great, but there's limited room for music on ASOT and he's obviously going to support firstly his Armada artists. The same goes for ABGT, or any radio show for that matter.
I want to encourage people to simply stop relying on radio shows like this to find music. I feel like there's so many artists that can appeal to most trance listeners but even some of the most active fans limit themselves to what the big artists are playing. People love to complain that nobody is making great electronic music but refuse to look for it and instead gauge it on whatever Armin and the like are playing. When you do look for it elsewhere, you'll realize like I have that there's a ridiculous amount of great music in all genres.
What do you think about the other djs who are claiming to be producing trance but are incorporating all these new and modern sounds into it
Personally, I love it. Trance has always been a genre where influence was taken from other styles. I think a lot of people complain because of the styles that came with the “EDM bubble”, but it's still clear to me who's making trance and who's not. For example, W&W haven't made a trance song in a while but they won't claim to have made trance recently either. Meanwhile, there are guys like Andrew Bayer who are doing amazing work crossing over electro and big-room sounds into progressive trance and it's executed so well that there's a balance. I think in time, producers will get better and better at fusing the different genres to the point that it appeals to most people. It's already happening, for example when I played at SRB Brooklyn recently I had a long chat with Simon Patterson which started about Andrew Bayer's track Once Lydian. Even though it's the furthest thing from Simon's style, we agreed it's an amazing trance track.
What has been a proud or exciting moment for you since entering this business?
Can I just list every gig I've ever played? They've all been amazing experiences that I'm truly proud to have had. Besides that, I think one of the most exciting moments for me was when Markus Schulz played my track “Ascend” on his Global DJ Broadcast Scream 2 album special. I was in a lab class with no service on my phone for a while, and suddenly my phone was blowing up when it came back because of texts, facebook messages, and twitter notifications. I couldn't believe it.
Who are some names you have enjoyed playing along side of or opening for?
I think one of the most fun nights I've played was along side Eco and Keyworth (Breakfast) at National Underground in NYC. I had the chance to play both opening and closing sets, the closing set becoming a tag team with Eco and Keyworth. There's nothing more nerve racking and exciting than trying to keep up with those two at the end of the night when the music is completely off the walls. The same sort of thing went down at the Mental Asylum NYC night. After playing the opening set with Mir Omar. Jase Thirlwall invited everyone on the bill to tag team close the night, so Mir and I were throwing down crazy tech trance and classics along side Indecent Noise, Matt Bowdidge, and Jase himself. I'll never forget those nights!
I've also played along side Zack Roth many times and it's always a pleasure. Him and the other Silk Royal guys like Jacob Henry are some of the nicest people you'll meet who are involved in electronic music. Eco and Zack are both from New Jersey as well, so any time I get to play an event with them my jersey pride is at its peak!
What motivates you most or sparks creativity when producing?
I find I'm most creative when I'm really stressed in other areas of life. This is especially true if I'm so pressed for time that I can't work on music that often. There are times where I haven't been able to work on music for weeks at a time and when I finally do, a track or two comes out in a sitting. Besides that, I think just being in and around New York is a huge inspiration for me. I can be driving around and catch a glimpse of the city skyline which I'm sure most people around here take for granted, but it really does become a source of inspiration for my music.
From speaking with him, I really could feel the fervor and deep passion Monoverse has for his productions and for the scene in general. The risk in which producers take with their music and creations is truly admirable. I cannot wait to hear more from this rising star apart of the international trance family. Check out Monoverse's new track Forsaken here and stay tuned for more!