Q+A: 5 minutes with munro

munro is the still-new alias of the New Zealand-born and based artist Ian Munro. The electronic music producer has been releasing music for half a decade, earning praise from noteworthy industry publications such as This Song Is Sick and Dancing Astronaut. Under the moniker, the Quality Goods Records signee endeavours to toy with UK Garage and Indie Pop in search of a new sound.

Stream / Download: munro – ‘About You’

His latest release, a single titled ‘About You’, radiates a nostalgic warmth similar to the work of the great FLUME. Slow and forgiving, the record glimmers like the reflection of a lake, setting the tone for a stunning vocal performance.

We got to know munro.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

There’s something otherwordly about the arts – I was obsessed with this world from an early age. It’s this melting pot of catharsis, creativity, play, beauty, and everything in between. For me, it’s just a part of my expression, it’s how I communicate, how I exist. It’s also just fun.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

I’m very conceptual in my writing and often have notes jotted down on what I want out of a session. But I’m also easily swayed while I’m in the studio. A weird sound comes out, and it branches off into another idea and so on. I feel like it’s an organic process and putting too much pressure or expectation on it taints it.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I worked closely with my friend Kass on this one. We came into each other’s lives through my dog Socks! She was his foster mum before we adopted him, and we wanted to keep them in contact. Just conversationally, it came up that we were both musicians and we got in the studio. Real wholesome creative stuff.

What’s on your current playlist?

Currently, I’ve been rinsing Orbital’s 30 Something, IMANU’s new album Unfold, and Moderat’s classic III.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I hate the division between the crowd and the stage.  I’ve seen artists not have the time for their fans, and I hate that energy. The people out there are our friends, our whānau. Show them love, show them respect, and give them everything you can.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I’m a granular fiend. It’s problematic. I love sampling, resampling and destroying sounds to make more beautiful compositions. I think dance music can get so stale, so I love to add that textural element to my music.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I build my day around little rituals to try and add a little ‘structure’  to my entirely structureless days. Sit down with an oat flattie in my favourite mug, light some incense and mess around until I need a break. We’re super blessed here in Aotearoa with the amount of stunning nature around us. I’ll usually pop down to the nearest beach for a swim or take my dog Socks for a bush walk. Usually, a brief break away from my studio gives the distance I need to add a little more perspective to the session.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

I think it’s been a scattering of little moments along the way. But one standout moment for me was a release party for a project under my old alias. Just seeing all the amazing people around me was such a heartwarming experience. It was nice to see such a beautiful little community of friends and strangers coming together.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

I haven’t debuted a munro set yet, and I’m sober now so all my usuals wouldn’t apply. Give me a cute little fruit platter and some cold brew, and I’ll be thriving.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Always! Pocket, ATRIP, bad Tuner, Nate Brazier, Serion and RamonPang. Can’t forget the homies MICA and CORTR too!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Everything! Life, nature, feeling. Sometimes it can be one line in a movie that bleeds out into a hook, or an old song that inspires something new. I think the main thing is to be open to the experience, and not turn down any inspiration thrown your way.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I’ve only recently started collecting some gear, and I really shouldn’t have broken that seal. I bought an old MicroKORG from some dude who lived in a commune. A few of the buttons are a little questionable, but I really wanted to dive into the vocoder on it. I’m really vibing with the limitations of it. I feel like it scratches a big creative itch for me.

Other than that, I’ve been really getting into trawling Gumroad for Max for Live devices. There are some crazy plugins that these small developers have made, and it feels good to support independent creatives.

Famous last words?

Be yourself. Eat your veggies. Make stuff. Love hard.

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