As Seasons Festival draws ever closer we can’t help but let our excitement get the best of us. This year Seasons festival really does represent an undertaking of an unprecedented scale for Blueprint—the entire festival now spans 20 plus events, featuring over 40 artists, in 7 venues. One of the biggest benefits of hosting eighteen club events is the ability to diversify and hold unique label and genre themed nights. #Seasons2015 marks the first major collaboration between Blueprint and Vancouver based label Monstercat. What better time than the present to sit down with Monstercat founder and CEO Mike Darlington to chat about roots, #Seasons2015 and Monstercat’s future in Vancouver.
Ever since the labels early days in the summer of 2011 Monstercat has been making waves within the world of dance, however, all great success stories have a beginning…
“It really began with a bunch of friends who were both artists and promoters. Individually none of us really had a massive pull, so we decided to form a collective in order to have a bigger impact.”
While Mike’s collective did function as a full-fledged label right from the get go their origin is intricately tied to the internet, specifically YouTube.
“Yeah, I mean in the beginning we really focused all of our efforts on the internet. YouTube was a really big deal for us; we just saw it as the future…really the only way to go. I think we are now in the top 250 channels worldwide and the top 10 for Canada. Everything really all started there.”
Amongst the wide array of oddball and left field YouTube channel names Monstercat barely stands out, but in the world of dance music labels it is about as unique as they come. Naturally we have to ask, just where did the name Monstercat come from?
“Like I said Monstercat was born very very much of the internet. We were all looking for a fun name that people didn’t take too seriously. Just something that really stood out from other label names, something that people would read and then remember. All of us had always been joking that one day we would use one of our friends online videogame name for the label. It was just a joke, but we all talked and it and decided why not? Right. So we just did it…Monstercat.”
Not only is Monstercat’s namesake unique, they also have a very particular format which they sign artists and release new music. Whereas most labels sign artists for a specific amount of EPs/LPs and take ownership of the music Monstercat signs artists on a per track basis and allows them to maintain the rights to their tracks.
“Yeah, flexibility is the main thing; we never wanted to feel pigeonholed. And we don’t. We just like to put out music and, I mean, if one song doesn’t hit home then it doesn’t. Honestly it doesn’t hurt anyone. Everything is so free with Monstercat that now we have people who are fans of the label. Not fans of the individual arts, I mean they like the arts, but they are fans of the brand Monstercat represents.”
Perhaps it is Monstercat’s signature flexibility that has allowed it to become such a successful label in a relatively short amount of time. Its phenomenal, really, that in just over three years Monstercat has managed to launch a handful of now star-studded artists that have gone on to become global successes. But this is all from an outsiders perspective, the real question is who does Mike, and Monstercat, hold near and dear as their biggest triumph…
“If I had to pick one I would say that discovering Krewella is probably our biggest success story.”
In fact, not only did Monstercat discover Krewella but the now infamous former trio released their inaugural productions on the label, the same productions that rocketed them to fame.
“Yeah we released their first ever original production. Same with Vicetone…they may have released one free track before they were signed with Monstercat…but we were really the ones with them right from the very beginning and they are super successful now. Also, Project 46 is another great success story for Monstercat.”
It’s always great to hear Canadian success stories….especially for a Vancouver based company. Although Monstercat is new to the neighbourhood it is important to make sure that they are starting to feel like part of the family.
“Well we have only been stationed in Vancouver for a year and honestly when we got here we really knew nothing about the scene. We started by going out to shows, just partying and checking out what the city had to offer. We started talking to people when we were in clubs and it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that Blueprint was throwing a lot of parties. Still we kept to ourselves and we really got set in the city, we threw a couple of our own label parties early on but that was it. It was actually Blueprint who reached out first, it all happened very organically really. Blueprint was booking a lot of our artists and so it just made sense for us to work on a project together and Seasons will be our first big project.”
With #Seasons2015 and our first joint venture, the Monstercat Showcase, fast approaching we wanted Mike’s perspective on why dance music fans should be excited for the showcase.
“It is just going to be a great party. The night isn’t about adhering to a certain genre…there will be house, electro, dubstep, trap…actually, it is going to be a very bass friendly night. But there really won’t be one vibe for the whole night; each artist really brings their own distinct vibe and style. We really just wanted the night to be fun, more like when we all used to go out on a Friday night. It wasn’t so much about hearing a specific genre; it was just about going out listening to some music and having the best possible time. It’s meant to be light and fun. Fun is really the main aim.”
If fun is the main goal Monstercat definitely hit the nail on the head with their showcase lineup. But with so many stellar artists on their roster to choose from we wonder how they went about picking the talent that would represent their label for the first official Blueprint showcase…
Like I said, it’s all about fun. All of the artists are just great people with good vibes. Come out because you want to have a great Friday night. With the Pegboard Nerds coming out we really do have a global lineup and everyone on the bill is just crushing it right now. Festivals, releases, and the club circuit—everyone is killing it right now.”
Looking ahead past #Seasons2015 to the rest of the year we can only guess that Monstercat has big things in store for dance music fans. If the last three years are anything to go by, we know we aren’t wrong…
“This year we are really focusing on a ton of behind the scenes stuff. There is going to be a lot of artist development as we work pretty closely with a few acts. Also we are really working on integrating ourselves more with the Vancouver scene, building up our team and locking ourselves in as a big part of the community.”
It’s just under a month until the #Seasons2015 Monstercat showcase which means its time to grab tickets. With a star-studded lineup like this— Pegboard Nerds, Sound Remedy, Aero Chord, Grabbitz, & Monstercat DJs—the event is bound to sell out. Don’t wait, tickets are almost sold out.
– Ryan Hayes