Monki (FABRICLIVE 81)
I was born in South London. I moved a lot growing up but always ended up back in London.
I remember my mum used to have a whole drawer of cassettes. She listened to a lot of Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, 808 State. My mum actually used to go fabric when I was a kid! My uncle used to listen to Garage Nation CDs and hip hop mixtapes.
My first album was Sting and The Police on cassette when I was about 6. I asked my mum to give me one, whenever I was in the car that’s what I would ask to listen to. The first album I bought my self was Gorillaz, I remember going to Woolworths to get it. The first vinyl I bought was Eric B and Rakim Eric B Is President. I first went to Glastonbury when I was 13.
Sport always came first when I was a teenager. The idea of doing music as a career came quite late for me, it was so far from what I saw as a job. I was about 16/17 when I really started to get into it. Listening to the specialist radio shows on Radio 1 and scanning the dial for pirate radio stations became an obsession when I stopped playing sport. In my first year of college I quit after about 6 months, I was studying subjects I really hated and I was listening to a lot of electronic music, finding out more about it. I decided to quit college and give it a go, I didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing, none of my mates were into the same thing. I worked until I saved enough money to do a radio production course at Point Blank in Hackney. I also got in touch with Annie Mac on Myspace, as it was after listening to her show that I quit college. A few months later we ended up meeting on the set of TV program she presented (I was in the crowd.) She invited me to sit in on her Radio 1 show later that year. At around the same time I applied for loads of internships, my first one I got was for Radio Jackie (a local station) and through them Ministry of Sound Radio and then eventually Rinse FM.
"The mix definitely represents my style, high energy with some breaks in there to catch your breath."
Rinse was a huge stepping stone for me, it’s where I was able to hone my mixing and broadcasting abilities. I was surrounded by knowledgeable people, absolute dons in the game. I fetched Nando’s, cups of teas and cleaned up for a year. Then I got offered a show off the back of someone being ill, and I ended up keeping that slot. I worked in the office as well, with the labels/nights/Rinse classes. I was also Katy B’s DJ for a bit. I learnt a lot there. When I was 18 I got my first proper gig, warming up at Annie Mac Presents at KOKO, I had sent Annie a 20 minute mix I did between jobs one evening. We went for a coffee and she asked me to play. That was 2009, the lineup was: Skream & Benga, DJ Zinc & Katy B, Ms Dynamite and Fake Blood. I wasn’t put on the flyer, it was like a sort of practice for me! She has been a huge influence and great mentor. I had a show at Rinse for 3 years. I got picked up by Radio 1 through In New DJs We Trust, Jackmaster and I started at there the same time. After that I was asked to cover B. Traits for 3 months while she covered Annie Mac (who was on maternity leave) and after that I got my own slot in 2013.
LABELS & PRODUCTION:
I own my own label Zoo Music and also do a collaborative EP every year under Monki & Friends.
I first came to fabric as soon as I turned 18! My first night there was a Rinse vs FWD>> night. I’d go raving there with my mates on Friday or on a Saturday when it was 4am and everything else was closed! I bought a lot of the FABRICLIVE CDs, Toddla T’s one was playing in my car all the time as a yout. I first met [FABRICLIVE promoter] Shaun at YOYO where I got his email and sent him a mix and soon after he got me to warm up Room 3 about 4 or 5 years ago.
The mix definitely represents my style, high energy with some breaks in there to catch your breath. Everything has a groove. Tracks and producers from all over the place – UK, Europe, America. I put it together first in a studio in West London, but after some complications ended up putting the final version together in Miami while I was supposed to be at a meeting [laughs]!
It’s all about building on what I’ve made. Expand Monki & Friends, moving up the ranks and becoming a better broadcaster.
FABRICLIVE 81: Monki is out now.
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Photography: Jimmy Mould