In the spring of 2012 munno released his debut EP “Early Idle” through his Bandcamp. The EP received little fanfare initially but gained prowess as his name circulated among some of the breakout acts of last year, specifically Evenings and Ryan Hemsworth. With his “Based Remixes” – an impressive reimagining of some of the Based God’s more memorable tracks – and a strong mix released by The Villa, Montreal’s munno is ready to build off last year’s releases and has us excited for what 2013 holds. We wanted to gather a profile on the mystery behind the music so we talked to munno about his influences, Montreal, and what to expect ahead as he preps his Truancy Volume.
Hey, munno. What’re you up to, how’ve you been? “Not much, working on this ‘Color & Movement‘ remix right now. Been doing that this last couple of hours, kickin’ it.” That’s an awesome track; I really like that one off Last Words. “Yeah man, I think it’s probably my favorite off that EP.” It’s a great EP. What’s that remix gonna come out on? You gonna throw it up on your Soundcloud or what? “I think I’m gonna throw it in the Truancy Volume mix and see what it sounds like, then put it up on Soundcloud afterwards… see what Ryan (Hemsworth) thinks about it.” Awesome, we’ll look forward to that.
So where are you right now? It’s kind of hard to find any info on you online, you’ve remained pretty mysterious over the past year. “I’m in Montreal. I’ve been here for about a year, moved here last May. I’m from Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C., about 20 minutes from Baltimore.” I’m not all that familiar with Maryland but whenever I think of that area hip-hop comes to mind; Fat Trel and Wale in particular. “For sure, that’s the shit that I’m proud is coming out of Maryland…Fat Trel, Yung Gleesh…that shit. All that lingo and scene I’m familiar with so I’m really happy to hear that. Wale actually went to the high school down the street from me; they were the rival high school in terms of sports and what not.”
How did you end up in Montreal from Maryland? “I’m going to school here in the fall, just got accepted. The way I moved out here was kind of strange, I didn’t know anyone and I just wanted to get out of Maryland since I’d been there my whole life so I was like ‘OK, I need to make a jump’ and packed up my car and drove up here. I’ve been making music here since and meeting a ton of people involved in the scene out here.” Congrats on getting accepted to school, what are you going to be studying in the fall? “Electro acoustics.” Cool. So I’m assuming you like Montreal a whole lot more than Maryland? “For sure, it’s more relevant to what I want to do.” They got a lot going on out there in Montreal, it seems like there’s a variety of artists connected to it. “It is like a blend of people here that are either from other parts of Canada or the US and they’re all trying to make art.”
Have you met anyone out there that you’ve been collaborating with? “The person that brought me out to Montreal was Tommy Kruise. When I was looking for places to live I was initially going to NYC but I really didn’t want to pay around $800 for a shitty apartment or a room about the size of a closet. Tommy made a Facebook post for a cheap room and I thought Montreal sounded dope so I came out here and he helped me out initially, introduced me to a ton of people. I met Ryan Hemsworth the first week I was out here at a show and we ended up at some random apartment. Xavier Leon’s a good friend now; I’m stoked on that remix, he hooked it up. It’s a lot of random groups of people making beats here.”
Stream: Munno – The Kind (Xavier León Remix) (Off Top Tapes)
Xavier Leon did a remix for “The Kind” off your “Early Idle” EP that’s really great. “The Kind” was the shortest song on that EP but it was my favorite one, I always wished it was a tad longer. “Glad you liked that track because a lot of people like ‘Mine’ which is a cool track, but I really like ‘The Kind’ too.” Was there a specific concept behind that song? “I wanted to make a track that wasn’t focused on the main sample; the sample in that song is an a capella vocal and besides that there’s no samples, it was all stuff I played on keys and that was what I was aiming for.” With regards to other samples on that EP, specifically CocoRosie on “Hard to Tell” and Made in Heights on “Mine”, how do you pick and choose which samples you use? “I kind of find stuff randomly and if I really dig it I’ll flip it. Like with the Made in Heights track, they sampled Sufjan Stevens and then I sampled them so I’m kind of like the 3rd generation down of sampling. But usually I really like vocal samples so when I choose stuff I lean in that direction.”
How did you start making your music? “I’ve been making beats for a while but it wasn’t always like this, I used to make really boom bap stuff when I first started and was kind of a purist about it… I’d only sample records and shit when I was younger but when my tastes evolved I started making other sounds. I’ve been doing music and beat-based music for a while. With the ‘Early Idle’ EP I was just having fun and wanted to put the tracks out. So it’s always been like that.” Where did the name “munno” come from? “I don’t even know, I’m always terrible with making names for projects and I just needed to pick one and came up with that and went with it. There’s nothing behind it, it sounded alright and it was simple so I stuck with it.” How long have you made music under the munno moniker? “Only for a year but I’ve always had other stuff when I was making boom bap, I called myself Grape Ape and then Thaddeus Meek, just really random names for Bandcamps and having fun with it. But munno’s the one I’ve stuck with.” What’s your process when you’re making music? “A lot of the time I’ll sit down and I’ll start making something and 2 hours later I’ll think it’s total shit and will ditch it. There’ll be moments of inspiration, periods of time, where I’ll make a bunch of stuff and be happy with it. Other times I’ll sit down and make something because I feel like I need to and it just won’t work. When certain events transpire in my life, or I feel a certain way, that’s when I sit down and really make stuff.”
I hear a strong hip-hop influence in your work, from the Based Remixes to the Danny Brown remix to your mix for The Villa that opens with Gucci Mane. Would you say you’re a big hip-hop head? “Definitely, it’s a huge influence. With the munno project it’s kind of weird because it’s ambient and dreamy but I’m also really into hip-hop and its harder stuff. Those Based Remixes and the Danny Brown remix were a lot of fun to do and I wanted to try and do something different. People who loved Early Idle might not like the Danny Brown remix, you know? But I’m just having fun.” Who are some of your favorite rappers out right now? “Oh man, right now? Yung Gleesh, I’m looking forward to his next project. Lil Jug. Always tuned in to Lil B’s mixtapes; White Flame is a big one I like. Young Scooter, Main Attrakionz, Mondre Man’s latest release is dope. I like the R&B that’s dropping now too with Jeremih and Miguel, I definitely dig that.”
We did some research on you and it looks like you’re putting out tape cassettes now? “Yeah, I’m putting out tapes but I don’t want to call it a label. The only thing I wanted to do with that was take projects from my friends and put out some tangible music in the format I like; I’m a huge tape-head. I just want it to be tapes dispersed throughout the world. I do the dubbing and I put everything together myself, mail it myself. I want to put out physical music, you know? Everything’s a bandcamp or a mixtape and online.” We see you have releases by Tommy Kruise and Malky, how’d that come about? “Malky and Tommy are roommates a few blocks down the street from me; we’re in the same neighborhood. So I see these dudes nearly every day and am into the stuff they’re making. I thought it’d sound great on tape so I asked if they just want to put ‘em out and hope people like it as much as I do.”
So what kind of labels are you into now? “I like Night Slugs… Friends of Friends, anything they put out I look forward to.” You’re connected to Friends of Friends through Evenings, right? “Yeah he’s a homie. He’s from Virginia, the neighboring state to Maryland.” Did you guys ever meet up and do any collaborations or was all your correspondence over the internet? “Mostly over the internet. We met once at a Shlohmo show in D.C., and since then we’ve been talking back and forth. That remix I did for him is pretty old and I didn’t know what he was gonna do with it. That whole Friends of Friends thing came along and he wanted to put it on there and I was totally stoked on that. A lot of people have found my stuff through him and linking me on Facebook and what not.”
Stream: Evenings – Friend (munno remix)
And Ryan Hemsworth featured you in his Truancy Volume last year with your “I’m God” remix. “That was cool, we met and kicked it before some show he did and a few days later he hit me up to send him the “I’m God” remix, and that was the only remix I had done for the Based Remixes at the time. I had all these [Lil B] a capellas and started making beats to them.” Hemsworth’s live sets are a lot of fun. Are you performing any of your music live? “Yeah, I’m doing a monthly here in Montreal and I’m playing 2 shows this month but they’re just gonna be parties…I won’t be playing much munno stuff. Stuff that isn’t really centered around me making music but more centered on the party. I feel like I need to put more stuff out at this point, I mean it’s been a year since I put out “Early Idle”. Can we expect a new release here soon? I’d like to get an EP done this summer…a 5-7 track type thing and put it up on Bandcamp. And then maybe do a tape for it if people dig the release. I think that’s the plan.”
You’re with The Villa collective, right? Can you tell us more about that? “I met Toboggan who co-started it, and we were just chopping it up. Later last summer, I went to go kick it with them and some more dudes from The Villa came up to Montreal. I didn’t really know what it was but we all hung out that night and later on they asked me if I wanted to join. We got off on the same vibes and it’s been awesome. Everyone’s sort of working on their own thing. We all talk but we all got our own projects and sounds so everyone is working on their stuff. We share [our music] every now and then but I think everyone’s focused on their own stuff at this point.” We really like your mix you did for them. “With mixes, I haven’t done a lot of them since I mostly produce. So my mixing game is like, whatever. But I’m glad you dug it.”
When was the last time you danced? “Let me think, umm, I want to give an accurate answer…I was dancing in my studio room yesterday. I dance like every day, I swear to god.” Great answer. We look forward to hearing more from you. “Thanks for the interview, thanks for reaching out. I’m stoked on Truants.”
munno’s “Early Idle” EP and “Based Remixes” are both available now.