Interview with Mon0

Intriguing, cinematic ambient music: an interview with mon0

Date: October 17 2008

mon0, please introduce yourself a bit more, how did you come to this name
anyway? Who do you consider your influences?

Well, my name is Andre, I’m 31 years old and live in Hilden, Germany. I work as a controller for an insurance company. My nickname mon0 is a result of my early days as I focussed on Detroit and minimal style techno music. The list of influences is really long, especially when I look back over more then 14 years of making music.
The most important artists for me are Basic Channel/Chain Reaction, Deepchord, Heiko Laux, Johannes Heil, Anthony Rother, Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach, Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Robert Rich, Global Communication, Biosphere, Autechre, Monolake, various artists from Thinner Label (Netlabel), Plastikman and Underground Resistance

I heard you seem to have a background in down-tempo/techno music…
Techno yes, down-tempo not that much. In addition to that, I prefer Dub/minimal, especially in the time when I was DJ in the mid/late 90s. Even today I prefer dub and ambient/new age for my own tracks. But I have to admit that have a wide range of music I am listening to. The range goes from ambient to soundtracks, chill-out, Electro, dark ambient. Even hip-hop or trance is on the list. I love getting ideas and impulses from all styles of music.

What made you decide to turn to ambient music and offer them all as free high-quality downloads on your site?
Good question. I think the main reason is, that I started making music as a real hobby without getting punished to deadlines from any label. Furthermore, my first tracks were very experimental and pretty unprofessional. So I continues making music and in late 2005 I started my first own homepage. I have to admit I was a bit surprised about the positive responses I got from my topics on the KVR-forum and from various mails. I have learned much over the past year, with a lot of help and hints from the community.

Your website lists various concepts/projects. What can you tell about each of them? What makes you decide to open or close a new concept (e.g. The “Earth”-series)
Well, after releasing various single tracks, I thought it time to produce some tracks which have a theme or some sort of connection between them.
So I started the “Mars-Saga”, which features moving space music with floating rhythms and some spacey sequences or melodies. I ended this project, because I wanted to move on into a more darker and a more experimental direction.
This lead to the Earth series. The names of the tracks are all names of mountains:
Sagarmartha = Mount Everest, Dent Blanche = A mountain in the Swiss Alps near Zermatt, Tre Cime = Mountain group in the Dolomits,
I think it’s not a big secret that I love mountains, especially the Alps (in Switzerland and France). While composing the tracks, I tried to transport the darkness, the mystery and the energy of the mountains, but also the power, silence, elegance and pure nature on the other side.
After this series, I focussed more on single tracks, because I wanted to try some things with pads and fx-sounds. I don’t know if I will release some more concepts. It’s just a matter of ideas and tracks that fit together.
Even if the “Prototype” series is not fitting the ambient sort of music, which I especially like to mention. This series is like a little baby for me, as it reminds me of my old days in the clubs. This series features a 100% basic channel/chain reaction oriented style. I love this dub-stuff today more then ever, as it has a sort of minimal but very catching, unmistakable sound.

How does you studio look like, what kind of gear do you use? Any favourite among them?
I use Ableton Live as my main sequencer. I don’t possess any hardware synthesizer, I only use VST-Instruments. My main and favourite instruments are the Arturia Moog Modular,
Arturia Minimoog, Rob Papen’s Predator, NI Reaktor, NI Kontakt, NI Absynth 4, Gforce M-Tron, Gforce Minimonsta, Gforce Virtual String Machine, Spectrasonics Atmosphere (hopefully Omnisphere soon), and many samples

Your site also hosts the music of SZDH. Who is this musician? Do you like to recommend the music of some other unknown/not so known but very worthwhile ambient musicians?
Well, SZDH is a guy from KVR audio, who messaged me after releasing my tracks. When I learned he was doing music on his own and did not have an appropriate host, I helped him out. That’s what basically happened.
I don’t know much other ambient musicians but I can surely recommend the works of Phelios (phelios.de), Stephen Parsick (parsick.com), and most of all Altus (altusmusic.ca)

Do you keep contact with any other e-musicians, any interest in collaborating with others?
No, I do not, although I am posting my tracks on KVR audio forum to get some feedback. Collaborating would be interesting, but my time is very limited due to my daily job, so I can’t guarantee to get things done as they should be managed in a team.

What’s you opinion of nowadays ambient music and the electronic music scene in general?
Oh, that’s a tough question. The scene has changed much in my opinion when compared to the 90s. At the time I got in touch with electronic music I loved the fact it was played in small venues and clubs, with people of all ages and totally
different social backgrounds. Suddenly all problems seem to have be solved as the audience danced into the night together.
This all changed as the techno and electronic music became more and more a mainstream product, which was the beginning of the end for my techno ambitions. When I saw 18-year old kids wearing red Mayday shirts in my favourite club, I was pretty pissed, because they never understood where electronic music came from, what its message was. For them, it was another hyped music genre, and it still is today.
For me it was the time I switched from techno/acid to the more
Detroit/minimal sound and later on to ambient and New Age. The
community of this kind of music is much smaller, but much more led by emotions and respect towards each other.
I consider this community being much stronger and I love to talk with people about their production techniques and how they create sounds. They understand and feel the art of sound and are very open-minded.

What future plans do you have, anything in the works?
Autumn and winter are on the way, so I think there will be more stuff coming from me. At the moment I am focussing on a few new ambient tracks (without sequences I think) and maybe I will continue the Prototype-Series once more.
As all tracks are in the works, I can’t give any further details at the moment, as I don’t know which way they are going (as always).

Any other matters you’d like to discuss, or tell about….
Not really. But I want to thank all those people, which helped me through all this years of making music. I have learned a lot and I am still learning from so many guys sharing their great work with the world. And if some people like my music, I’ve reached my goal..

Website: www.mon0.de