When Alix Perez started his label 1985 Music in 2016, it opened so many eyes to the amount of all-encompassing, well-versed talent that exists within bass music. At Heard It Here First, we have not only enjoyed covering incredible projects from the label, but also witnessing all of the artists that have been leveling up for years and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in sound. One of the talented names that have found a home on the label, Monty Brimley—better known in the scene as Monty—has made some serious headway over the last several years.
Monty is known for his wide range of styles, alternating between drum and bass, 140/dubstep, and halftime. The UK-born, Toulouse, France-based producer landed on the radars of bass music enthusiasts here in States after a strong cadence of releases on 1985, including a brilliant 16-track album in late 2021 titled Hit The Lights. It was here that many realized just how limitless his range is, with several well-crafted 140 and drum & bass tracks that have continued to be played out in present-day sets. One of the tracks from the album, “Hardware”, has especially risen to legendary status. This collab with Visages, Strategy and PAV4N is not only a fan favorite during live sets, but it was actually included in the official soundtrack for FIFA 23.
Monty and Visages (pictured below) have continued to team up on incredible collaborations, including “TEK”, “Ace of Spades” on Visages’ debut From Lead to Gold LP. and most recently a boundary-pushing, two-track project “Ange / Démon”. Outside of his releases on 1985, Monty has also had some fantastic EPs drop on popular labels like Critical Music, Flexout Audio, Invisible, and more.
Earlier this year, Monty embarked on his three-week-long debut North American tour that had him traveling from coast to coast, playing some of the best venues in the country and introducing a new wave of concert-goers to his sounds and styles with his well-curated sets. As you’ll learn in this interview, it was a very different experience for him, yet still extremely gratifying. Once the North American tour concluded, it was back over to Europe where he joined Alix Perez on multiple 1985 Music takeovers while continuing to work on music in the studio.
Monty is now preparing for an epic run of shows and festivals as we head into Summer and beyond. This includes festival sets at Shambhala in Canada, Submersion in New Jersey later this Fall, as well as some fun fests overseas like Hospitality On The Beach in Croatia, for example. This weekend, Monty is back in the United States for two shows, one of which being his DEF Atlanta debut alongside Alix Perez, ONHELL, Sinistarr, and MATRIXUNNI.
Ahead of this epic weekend, we caught up with the legendary producer to talk about his North American tour, 1985 Music, the Toulouse drum and bass scene, musical origins and more. Check out the full interview below!
HIHF: Thanks so much for taking some time to speak with us! To kick things off, I wanted to start with your debut North American tour from earlier this year, which generated a lot of buzz and excitement. What were your overall takeaways from this tour, and were there any particular stops on the tour that really stuck out to you?
Monty: Overall, it was a great response. I nearly sold out all of the shows—15 or 16 shows stretched over three weeks. I think my favorite stops were definitely Philly, San Francisco, Denver at The Black Box, Flash in DC, and the show in LA was also amazing. The one in LA was like a big warehouse with a lot of art and merchants selling stuff, which you don’t really get in Europe. Over here, it’s more like a dark room with a massive sound system. In North America, I noticed that things are much more artistic in a way. There’s way more focus and emphasis on art and visuals, so that was a nice change.
I also noticed that everything ends quite early in North America. Probably like 2:00-3:00 AM on average, and I’m not used to that. I’m used to shows finishing at 6:00 AM when you go to places like Portugal. Or in Spain, for example, shows stop around 8:00 AM, which is fun but tiring. I was playing quite early and I was playing some weekday shows, which I’ve never done in my life. It’s definitely a different vibe because people are working the next day, you know? They come to the bar, grab a beer and it’s a very different vibe than a weekend show where people are actually going out and dancing like crazy. Some of these shows had people kind of just standing and chatting with their friends, which I wasn’t used to, so I wasn’t entirely sure if people actually liked what I was doing. But when my set was finished, it was nice to see the crowd come up to me and say they really enjoyed the show. So yeah, that was a big difference. Different, but great—overall, it was a really good experience. I had a lot of fun.
HIHF: That’s awesome. It’s so funny you mention that about the shows ending early because we’re so used to that over here depending on where you are. I was at both the Philly show and the one down in Washington, DC at Flash and they both ended around like 2:00-2:30 AM. I’ve always wanted to experience what it’s like in Europe.
Monty: Yeah, it’s definitely a different kind of crowd. I could be wrong but maybe it’s because shows stop early or club culture is different, but in all still sick!
HIHF: Yeah, I had a lot of friends that went to some of the stops across the country and they gave really, really positive reviews. It definitely seemed like a refreshing tour that not a lot of regions in the United States have really experienced before, so I think I think it was a really good turning point for a lot of people.
Monty: Thank you, that’s great and it’s nice to see how big drum & bass has gotten there. I know it’s always been around in the U.S., but it’s never been crazy big and I feel like it’s picking up more than ever before, which is interesting. I was talking about this with Alix [Perez], where the reason I wanted to go to the U.S. was to play more 140 because it’s not as big here as it is over there, which is funny because it originated in the U.K., so you’d think it’d be the other way around. Alix kept saying, “Make sure you play drum & bass because the people really want to hear more drum & bass out there.” So I did and it was a really good response.
HIHF: Good stuff, that’s super exciting. And you just mentioned Alix Perez – I know you’ve been involved with 1985 Music for a few years now – how did you first get introduced to Alix and what has that experience been like working with him over the last several years?
Monty: It’s a funny story because I wasn’t really into his music when I started listening to drum & bass. I liked the heavy stuff, like on the neurofunk side, because that’s just what I liked back then. Throughout the years, our taste in music changes and we evolve, and that’s definitely what happened to me.after two years of producing. I saw he was releasing his label and even though I preferred listening to the heavy stuff, I tried different vibes and figured out what came more naturally to me. And then over time I got way more into that vibe of music.
I met Alix at this club we have in Toulouse called Le Bikini Club, which to this day is what I still consider to be the best-sounding club that I’ve ever heard. We’re very lucky to have this venue, and I think most artists that have played this club would say the same because of the way it’s built – it’s essentially a studio that you can fit 1,300 people into. Everything is soundproof from top to bottom. It just sounds really, really good, and especially good for electronic music. I’m friends with the guy who puts the shows on there – his name is SKS [Julien]. He also runs a label called Vandal Records that is based out of Toulouse and was started around 2004 I believe. That label has releases from a lot of local artists as well as artists from around the world including myself.
So, Alix was playing a show there and I had literally sent him a track the night before because I heard he was playing some of my tracks from my EP I released on Flexout Audio, which came out in 2016. That EP was more halftime and stuff like that. Then he was also playing some stuff I did on Critical Music, so it was kind of just like, why not? I’m going to send a track to him. When we met up at the show, he said he liked the track I sent him and asked if I had some more. I actually had three other tracks, which I sent him the next day and he was like, “Yeah, I like all of these. Let’s do an EP.” And then I released my first EP with the label called Hold Me Back.
Releasing on this label and listening to Alix’s sound, while also understanding his world and what he wanted to put forward, helped shape my sound into what it is today, which I’m very grateful for. It was all a natural process, so that was really nice. Before 2017, I didn’t have a signature sound. You know how you can recognize artists by their drums, their mix downs, the way they arrange stuff, you know, like a Noisia track, for example. You just hear it and know that it’s them. Before I released on 1985, I was a bit all over the place doing things that didn’t sound like me today. So yeah, signing and releasing music with 1985 and having Alix’s output has definitely helped me in a lot of ways.
HIHF: It’s funny, I think back to that Flexout EP and for me personally, “Late Biscuit” is still one of my favorite songs from you and it’s just so interesting and cool to hear that progression of finding your sound over the years, especially after connecting with Alix.
Monty: That’s cool and that song title actually has a funny story. Track names are always interesting because you see something and then you just think of a title on the spot. So for this one, I was supposed to make tea, but I wanted to get a biscuit because I was really hungry and I just forgot about it. So, I was like, “OK, I’ll call it Late Biscuit.” I also like Limp Bizkit, the metal band, especially their older stuff, and I was just like, oh, that’s funny – what a coincidence. So yeah, the name just stuck after that.
HIHF: I always love those origin stories for songs because it’s always so funny hearing where artists find inspiration from. That actually leads nicely into this next question—over the last couple of years, you’ve obviously been putting out a lot of different music, whether it’s drum & bass, 140, there’s also still some halftime here and there—how do you approach these different styles of music and where do you draw inspiration from for each?
Monty: I guess I’ve always been listening to a lot of bass music in general. I discovered bass music when I was 17 when I moved back to the UK to study music and a friend in my French lesson class asked if I wanted to go to a show with her. We took a three-hour train ride to some random place out in the countryside. It was mostly a free party with a massive sound system, and there was just a lot of drum & bass and garage and all of these other styles. It’s always amazing when you hear bass music on a proper sound system for the first time. You’re like, wow, this is really cool. And the energy was really cool as well. I’ve always made music and played guitar, bass, and drums, but at that time never touched electronic music.
When I’m approaching these different genres, the only thing to me that really changes is the tempo. I could make a drum & bass track, but I could translate that into a 140 track, if that makes sense. You just have to edit a couple of things in that track for it to fit that tempo, but you can still use the same elements. It really comes down to the way you implement your sounds into these different tempos. I feel like a lot of people define genres based on how the actual sounds sound, like the textures and stuff, but to me it’s more about the tempo. Like now we say “140”, but 140 can be a lot of things—it can be garage, it can be trap, it can be dubstep. It can be all that kind of stuff, so it’s just easier to say 140. So yeah, in terms of inspiration, it’s a hard question to answer because sometimes it comes naturally and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s happened to me before where I had not made anything for six months. It was a horrible experience, actually. This was back in like 2020, where I was just making tracks, but they all sounded like s*** to me. I just couldn’t get anything out and it felt like a constant struggle. Then for some reason you just figure something out and then you make six tracks and it feels good again.
HIHF: That last part you mentioned is especially interesting, because you go half a year with not liking the tracks you’re making or like struggling to make music, and then the next year you put out an unbelievable album [Hit The Lights] on 1985 Music. So funny how that works.
Monty: Yeah, it’s crazy, and now I listen to a lot of different stuff like hip hop, any soulful stuff, metal—I really do like all of that. I don’t listen to much bass music anymore, though, because I produce it. I will obviously catch up on new stuff from artists that I love, stuff from Alix, Halogenix, Visages, Trail and so many others.
HIHF: Speaking of the soulful stuff, that definitely seems to be an element on 1985 that’s become pretty prominent, with releases from Alix, yourself, and then also this four-man powerhouse in Visages…over the last few years, I feel like I’ve seen your name and Visages’ collaborating on a lot of tracks that have had people talking, especially over here in the States—there’s that remix of “Reaper” by Boombox Cartel and J.I.D. that landed on the official Cartel II remix compilation; you have “Hardware”, featuring Strategy and PAV4N from your 2021 album Hit The Lights, which also ended up on the official FIFA ’23 soundtrack; and most recently, this incredibly-crafted, two-track project “Ange” and “Démon”, both of which are so unique in how they sound and perfect examples of what we talked about earlier regarding how 140 could mean a lot of different things—all of this to ask, how did you first connect with the Visages guys? I know they are also based in Toulouse, so did you meet up with them at an event and then you were like, “Oh, I produce, too.” ? How did that relationship start?
Monty: Pretty much, yes. I just started going out when I first got to Toulouse after I came back from the UK around 2012. So when I was 18, I was going out pretty much every weekend as soon as I could because I knew there was bass music going on and I would just go to those events, which I really enjoyed. I was lucky when I came back from the UK—it was like, wow, I had no idea it was like this here. Toulouse has a bass music scene and a lot of cool history actually. But yeah, I was just going out and starting to play shows where it was me and all of these other producers. It’s funny, when you’re young and just starting out, it feels a bit competitive. You’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna be better than you” or whatever, but now as you get older and wiser, you realize that was a silly way to think and it’s important to share and help each other.
Now we’re all collectively doing well. We’ve always been good friends and helped each other out and we’re always showing each other tricks and stuff. I’ve always known the Visages guys and then they sent me music, which I thought was sick. So then I sent their stuff to Alix and he enjoyed it as well. And then from there, we’ve just been working together. There is another producer who goes by Trail. His name is Charles and he lives in Toulouse as well; he has also been making music around the same time as us. He actually has an EP coming out at the moment on 1985. Even our friend who does the visuals and animations and all that stuff for 1985, he’s also from Toulouse. His name is Kasaey. So yeah, there’s a lot of Toulouse people involved.
HIHF: I’m glad you mentioned him [Trail] and then there’s also guys like Redeyes, who I believe is also from Toulouse as well. So, what is it about Toulouse that makes it such a hotbed for this type of music?
Monty: Well, first of all, I guess we’ll touch on this venue we have here again [Le Bikini Club]—it’s just such an important staple here. It’s a very, very good venue. But from what I know from hearing the stories and the history is that a guy who goes by the name of Le Lutin—his name literally translates to “the leprechaun”—he went to the UK, basically bought all these vinyls and brought them back to Toulouse, where he then started showing them to friends and people really loved it. They started throwing these drum & bass nights and then SKS, who I mentioned earlier, started Vandal Records—with Redeyes, actually—they started putting on shows and it just received a really good response from people. The people wanted more drum and bass nights, basically.
What’s nice is that they have always kept up with new producers and given everyone an opportunity to get a foot in the door. This music has been exposed to so many people that have wanted to become producers—myself, Visages, all the guys included—and now there’s this new generation of producers, which is great. There’s a really nice sense of community here, where a lot of people help each other out and show new things to each other. So yes, it’s very cool and this type of environment is needed if you want to keep the scene alive. You need new producers, you need good promoters, all working towards the same thing and goal—to keep the scene alive and thriving and do what we love best. Basically the love for the music.
HIHF: I love the community aspect to it that you mentioned. You have the original guys still doing great things in the scene like throwing parties, but then they’re also bringing up this new generation as well. It’s that “everybody eats” type of feeling, which is super cool to hear about.
Monty: Yeah, exactly. It’s definitely a great place to be.
HIHF: Switching gears, something I had read a while ago was that you came from a musical family. What was your family involved in musically? Did they play instruments? Were they singing? How did that impact your own musical journey as you were getting into production?
Monty: Yes, he’s not around anymore but my dad had always played guitar and piano, and he always liked to jam with jazz bands back in the day, like in the 1960s and ‘70s. He also had a studio where he’d like to write and record music, so I saw a lot of the machines used for that sort of stuff when I was young, and I only got into it much later, which is interesting. My brother plays drums; he’s an amazing drummer and I’ve always enjoyed jamming with him. He’s played in a lot of bands and stuff, so yeah, I’ve just always been around music. My mother is very artistic as well, painting and stuff like that, she’s my number one fan haha.
I guess that has definitely helped me today with writing music and listening to stuff in general, which is good because when you produce, you can get the whole technical side down and make things sound good, but then you also have the whole composition side of it, too. Like yes, anyone can produce, but if you don’t have a certain ear for music or music theory, I guess either one or the other, it can be difficult to nail a vibe down, if that makes sense, though everything is subjective. You could show me the most technical track and I’ll say wow, that’s really impressive, but if there’s no vibe to it musically then I can’t really get into it.
When people send me a track where the mix doesn’t sound as great, oftentimes the vibe and the overall idea still sound great to me and I can still get down with that. And this is not a shot at anyone that does super technical stuff. I think it’s amazing and they’re pushing sounds that no one has ever heard, but when you can get the balance between vibe and technicality, it’s something special. Like the Noisia guys have always been doing crazy s*** like that; IMANU right now, he’s pushing boundaries. That sort of balance is what you want to shoot for in my opinion.
HIHF: Speaking of production in general, I know that you have a Patreon that I’m sure some of our readers (who are also producers) would love to learn more about. Tell us a little bit about what’s included in your Patreon and where they can find it.
Monty: Yes, so for the Patreon I do the same format every month. The name of the Patreon is montybeats, just like my Instagram. I have two tiers on the Patreon—one is about $6 and the other is about $11—in the cheaper one, you get access to our Discord community where we talk about production, different tips and tricks, and just life in general. You get a sample pack that includes five of everything you can think of, so there will be five kicks, five snares, five hats, five percussion hits, five bass lines, five pads, five atmospheres and five racks.
There’s also a request section in Discord where I ask the people what they want and they can say, “hey, well, do you mind adding claps this month?” so then I add claps. I think it’s important to add stuff that I think would actually be useful for people. And just having the ability to get engagement and interact with people is so nice. You also get guest lists to the shows. And then when you go on to the higher tier, there’s the video and feedback sessions, so people send me tracks on Patreon and the first thing I do every morning is give feedback because that’s when my ears are most fresh. I listen to the tracks people send me and do an individual breakdown for each and every one of the producers, which is nice because I can see their progression. It’s actually crazy how some people progress so quickly.
Patreon is a good place, especially in our day and age where everything is accessible—you obviously have YouTube, you have forums—you can definitely learn fast and you don’t necessarily need to go to any schools, which is great. Schools are beneficial, but a lot of people can’t really afford that, so they just use YouTube, which is amazing because you can learn from a ton of different people and just grab little bits of this and that, whether it be a technique or whatever it may be, and you can apply them to your own stuff.
HIHF: That’s great stuff, and thinking back to even like 10 years ago, I would have never expected this tutorial/resource side in music to pop off as much as it has. Jumping back to when you were first getting into electronic music—and you may have touched on an artist or two already—who were some of those artists that you were inspired by when you were first diving into music production?
Monty: Definitely Calibre, Alix Perez , Halogenix, Noisia, DLR—they are definitely the main ones. You can hear that my sound is inspired by their stuff. When I was starting out and practicing, I’d drag their drum patterns into Ableton and remake the pattern but with my own hits and twists on them.
HIHF: That’s super cool, and looking ahead to later this year—obviously you are allowed to share what you’re allowed to share—but do you have any new music or shows coming up that you’re allowed to talk about?
Monty: So my next EP is going to be a mixture of 140 and drum & bass—five tracks in total with a collab. In terms of shows planned for later this year, I’m coming back to the US and Canada in July and August with Drone, where we’ll be doing a little tour. I can’t wait!
HIHF: Amazing, definitely looking forward to some new Monty music and hopefully you’ll be around this area again! As we wrap things up here, one last question I have for you is related to something I read a while ago where you said you need a cup of tea before diving into production or nothing happens? Is that still true today?
Monty: Oh no, that’s changed. It’s coffee now. I already liked coffee and my friends have a coffee shop here in Toulouse, which I go to pretty often—I’ve always enjoyed the tastes and flavors you can get from coffee. Then I went to Colombia last year for a show (big up Jairo from RESET for pushing the sound there!), and that was an entirely different experience for coffee. I went on a coffee tasting tour, learned more about it and actually asked for some tips and stuff. And then I came back and brought like a kilo—actually, more like 5 kilos of coffee back with me. Then I bought the bean grinder and a Chemex, which allows you to extract the coffee. I like to have one nice cup of coffee in the morning, maybe two max. That’s definitely how I wake up now. I also love plants—I’d like to have a lot more plants here because I enjoy taking care of them and it just feels nice when there’s plants in the room. But yeah, that’s about it.
HIHF: Good stuff! Well, again, we really can’t thank you enough for taking the time to speak with us and sharing all of this amazing background and insight, not only on your career progression, but also the incredible drum & bass scene that exists in Toulouse. I gotta make it out there some day.
Support Monty on Socials: Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp | Patreon
Follow the HIHF team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep up with news, fresh tunes, merch giveaways, exclusive mixes, interviews, and so much more!