Making Friends With Monki

The Radio 1Xtra DJ has more mates than anyone we know.

Ahead of her Red Bull Studios UK tour we caught up with the tastemaker and Radio 1Xtra DJ

You've made a name for yourself in music discovery, how do you find these great artists?

Monki: The first thing I look at is what new artists I'm playing on the radio or in my sets. I sit down with my management as well and we go through people who we're feeling at the moment and have listening sessions in the office, a bit like an A&R role I guess. Then I write a long list and try and to pair them up and see what would work. A lot of listening goes on!

What’s it like to get to collaborate with people you consider friends all the time?

Well sometimes I've never met the producers or singers and other times I've known them for years. So it's sort of a mixture! But by the end of it, everyone always walks away with a new friend. It's always a really good laugh and Red Bull Studios just generates that friendly atmosphere naturally.

Of your musical mates who would you...

Go to the football with?

I'd go to the football with Cadenza, I'm sure we've had a few footy chats before.

Open a bar with?

ANOTR, those two guys are so sound and really chilled out. I think they'd be perfect to open a bar with!

Go on a road trip with?

Deffo would be Diemantle. Imagine going on a road trip with DJ Die and Dismantle, it would be hilarious.

Tip as the next big thing?

There's not much music from him online but as you can hear in the track he's done with Amber Simone his capability to write a song is really high so I think Courage is someone to look out for.

When did you first get into DJing?

I was quiet late to it to be honest, I didn't even start thinking about taking it seriously until I was about 17.

You did quite a bit of touring with Annie Mac’s AMP club night, how was that? Is it something you would like to do more of?

I've played a lot of AMP nights now, I've been playing AMP for about 5/6 years. That club night means a lot to me and I feel like I know the crowd so well so I'm always happy to play at AMP.

How are you prepping for the RedBull Studios tour?

I've been so busy with the EP and working on the build up to the tour I haven't actually stopped to think about it, but I can do that once it's started! The Redbull guys and I are really excited about it, there's a lot more production to it this time round, which is something we've never done before so, it should look and sound great!

We love it, but where does the name Monki come from?

It's actually nothing to do with the animal! It's my nickname from school. My surname is 'Monkman' and there were quiet a few people with the same first name as me. So my surname got turned into Monki and yeah, that's what all my mates called me from year 7, so I just stuck with it.

What festivals are you excited about this summer? Are there any line ups that a particularly standing out for you?

I'm really excited to play Sonar again, I played it a few years ago and it was one of my favourite sets of the year. This year I'm playing but with Melé as NRG Flash and we're playing the new Warehouse Project stage with a great lineup so I am so excited for that. It's my first year at Wildlife too which should be fun.

Do you have any festival aspirations - is there a particular stage you would love to play some day?

My own stage! I'd love to play my own stage one day, that's on the list.

It’s almost Ibiza season, what are your Ibiza essentials?

- Spare USB sticks.. bound to loose at least one.

- A sturdy pair of sunglasses, because you know your mate is going to sit on them or something.

- Portable phone charger. A festival and Ibiza must.

What’s your favourite memory of The White Isle?

The first time I went out with Radio 1 in Ibiza was a pretty crazy weekend, I think in 24 hours I played at Ushuaia before Pete Tong, had a long chat with Sasha at Pacha and then jumped into the sea off a cliff at sunrise with a bunch of mates... It was a lot.

What was the first festival you ever went to? Do you remember who you were most excited to see?

The first festival I went to was V-Fest, I went with my mate and his family when I was about 14. Me and my mate Ollie went to see Kanye, he was on his Graduation tour and Dizzee Rascal as well. They took me to Glastonbury as well, legends!

Can you imagine doing anything other than DJing? Do you ever wish you were back in the crowd?

Right now, no. I could have played football and I would've enjoyed it now, but I wasn't committed enough as a kid and I never knew what could be achieved in womens football then.

Do you ever wish you were back in the crowd?

I'm still in the crowd! It definitely changes your perspective once you've been behind the decks for a while, but I'm always up for a dip in the crowd (maybe at the back though!).

Monki & Friends Tour Dates

Friday 22nd April – Marble Factory, Bristol

Saturday 23rd April – Hope Works, Sheffield

Friday 29th April – The Laundry, London

Tickets available from Red Bull Music Studios

Words: Bethan Bottomly

More Chats With DJs:

We Spent A Day Chillin With Billon

Future Tactics With Preditah

Talking DnB And Ski With Dillinja

15 Apr 2016