Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.
Hey, I’m Raining Monarch! I grew up in Edinburgh but am currently in Glasgow working on my degree.
Tell us a bit about the music you make.
Whatever I want! One of the most freeing things about being obscure and unknown is the lack of outcry when I try something different. You hear about all those bands making great music, they get to their third or fourth album and break their fans hearts, I’m not just talking about misplaced Christmas albums, but more experimental stuff as well.
My music is always electronic based due to my student budgets but that’s not to say I don’t incorporate live instruments from time to time. I like making dance music – with a particular interest in the current bass house trends. Having said that, at any 4am coffee inspired discovery, I’ll often end up making something new. My last track was in 5/4 and undanceable, another was an attempt to insult both dub, and techno fans at the same time. I take a lot of inspiration from psychedelic electronic musicians such as Shpongle as their music seems to resonate with me, often incorporating ideas from them into unrelated genres.
I’m inspired by songs from the cheesiest of pop to the blackest of metal – one of my tracks, Ladle of Filth, broke away from the synth led dance music and was orientated around my (Red Dog bought) Jackson Kelly. It’s nothing more than a rough sounding demo which is how I’ll probably always leave it, a nod to Burzum.
When did you start and what made you want to start making music?
The first album I ever bought was Room on the Third Floor by McFly Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath. The guitar riffs drove me mad, got into rock and metal music really quickly after that and decided to learn guitar.
At that age, i figure that the bass was just an easy stepping stone to guitar because it had less strings so I bought one. Very quickly, I decided to ditch the udon noodles for the slimmer six string variants and managed to acquire a Fender Stratocaster for free…which I sold for a Jackson Kelly. After that I got into drums – wanting to learn all the instruments.
Aged 15, I heard my first proper DJ set on a good sound system. This was when my pursuit for heavier songs (which at the time I thought only metal provided) diverged to electronic music. I wanted to do that, I wanted to be on stage with everyone dancing to my stuff. I got into DJing and producing – which I recommend learning both – and my songs to this day are getting slightly less crap each year.
Stage or studio?
Tough. My “studio” is my spare room, my safe space. It took a lot of negotiation with my girlfriend to get a dedicated room, and so as you can imagine it’s where the mess is bulldozed into and where the washing dries. Nothing is out of my control and everything wrong is my fault. I like it that way.
But the adventure of going on stage is amazing too! I love getting people dancing and partying especially to my own tracks. The downside is, I like to blame myself when there is a bad crowd – bad crowds really put me down, it is the exact opposite of what inspired me to get on stage in the first place.
Overall, I’d like to say stage. I’ve had many more good crowds than bad ones and they really are the driving force of my passion for being on stage.
What gear do you use to make your tunes?
I have a 49 key MIDI keyboard, and a 25 key one for travel, I run Reaper on my laptop and use various plugins to make my sounds. I’m a big fan of NI’s Massive, but most of the synths and sounds I’ve used to date tend to be free. Maybe this view is silly, but seeing the likes of Seasick Steve play music from the barest of resources, is a great inspiration, perhaps the VST freeware of today’s generation is somewhat paralleled.
I do tend to use a lot of samples, but where possible I really try to make them my own. With the exception of the occasional drum or vocal loop, most samples I use are mangled or edited beyond recognition. I stick to using free samples because there is an abundance out there, more than enough for any music. Once you start editing them, the availabilities extend to infinity.
I really enjoy making my own samples – probably the least controversial, and purest form of sampling. I have several microphones and all sorts of funny noises to come up with, whether from my mouth, or household objects. I like recording guitar into a track, often leaving it deep below the main layers, sometimes the process is the fun bit. To get the sounds into my computer, I use an Akai EIE audio interface, I would recommend.
I DJ on various systems, CDJs and controllers mostly, and try to incorporate them into the music production process where possible, if only for a bit of fun. Fun is really all I aim for.
It’s my opinion that the most important bit of gear is your nerdiness for what you do. The challenge is often as good as the outcome. Set yourself a task, such as making a synth out of the reverb tail of a clap in your hallway, or a drum beat out of a politician’s speech and you’ll come up with so much.
Everything is possible with your brain and your laptop.
And what is your choice bit of gear and why?
This is a tricky one, I was going to say the internet, from which you can get anything…but I think I’ll go for a good MIDI controller with assignable buttons and knobs.
Workflow optimisations stop me getting distracted by reducing the time between steps. With the option to assign parameters to knobs and faders, I can really jam out and change the sounds as I play. With a smaller controller, you have to stop playing to make a change, the flow dies.
So definitely, a good MIDI keyboard will provide you with more than enough opportunity to exceed the practical limitations of carrying out some of the more mundane parts of production.
Where can we check out your tunes?
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/raining-monarch/tracks
Red Dog Music Sunday Spotlight is your chance to get your music in front of the world, and our chance to discover some great new sounds. If you want to be featured in this weekly column, you can get all the details here.
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