After a decade promoting and being resident at one of Leeds’ finest underground parties, Ray Mono is now stepping out of the shadows. Preferring rolling, infectious tunes that get under your skin and tease with warm bass and subtle percussion, his sound—both as a DJ and a producer—is fresh and on point.
His music can be found on notable labels such as Pleasure Zone, PIV, META, Nofitstate and most recently, Moxy Muzik. With stellar music selection, support from heavyweight DJs, Ray Mono is very much part of the contemporary landscape and helping to define the sound of the underground.
We spoke to him prior his upcoming release on Moxy Muzik which will be out at the beginning of June.
What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?
It would probably be when I got tackled to the floor while playing at the second ever Mono_Cult. At first, I thought WTF!? But it ended up being my good mate Dave Beer (Legendary Back to basics Promoter). I remember him always saying to me "you did it, lad!". I had been telling him all summer and in Berlin that I was going to start a Sunday daytime party in Leeds. Was no better feeling than seeing a packed crowd throwing shapes. That always made me realise this is what I wanted to do. Mono_Cult ran for 10 years so I guess we did do it! haha!
Can you describe your studio setup for us?
I'm using Ableton as a sequencer linked up to my prophet 12, Moog sub 37 and Korg minilogue. I also use a lot of vsts such as omnisphere and trilian to name two, it really just depends on the day which I use. I use a lot of the sound toys, fab filter, waves plugins and native instruments. I usually jam on minilogue once I have my groove down and fill the track up with the Moog sub 37, Korg & prophet 12.
Simple setup but works!
Could you tell us the story about your first gig?
My first gig was during my first year of uni in Leeds for a mates night called "Twaddle". It was in a small 50 capacity basement bar in Headingley. I can remember one track by Audio Werner called "On & On". It was my tune of the summer from my first season in Ibiza. it must have been 07'! I probably played the whole vinyl, to be honest! ha!
Name three artists that currently inspire you.
Far too many to pick to narrow it down to three. It's great to see so many good friends doing well though. Michael James, Kepler, Burnski and Niko Maxen come to mind.
Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club.
I guess that's when the Police come through the door. That's one sure fire way to put a dampener on things...
What do you do before and after your set?
Rest, listen to music and rest again afterwards. I'm always up for an after but I try to know when to call it a day now. It's not the best idea to be up for days if I want a productive week in the studio. I guess that's called being professional. Or trying to be! ha
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working in a factory with 6 am starts. The only thing that got me through was listening to Mixmag CDs. Thinking about it, that probably wasn't the best idea with machinery and forklift trucks all around me. Think I lasted about 2 weeks. Saying that I think all my jobs I have ever had lasted about a month! It's best to be your own boss. I knew by 18 I wanted to be putting on events and djing so best to just get stuck in and learn as you go.
What are your favourite labels at the moment?
Again there are so many to choose from. Infuse, META, Constant Black, Eastenderz, Pleasure Zone, Talman, PIV, Pathway Traxx, Sukhumvit, Rowle, Hoarder, Cabinet, One Records... I could continue all day!
Imagine a cold winter, a fireplace and two glasses of wine—what song would you play?
It's probably not the setting for the song but it would probably be "Me Against The World" by Tupac. Make that 2 bottles instead as well...
Last but not least. What's the best advice you've ever received?
There's no time like the present!