Monstercat proves their longevity with 20th artist compilation
“Treat people well and don’t be afraid to take risks;” it’s the Monstercat philosophy according to CEO Mike Darlington and if the last three years are anything to go by, it’s certainly served the brand well. Founded back in July of 2011, Monstercat began as an artist-based initiative to promote the music of Darlington and co-founder Ari Paunonen’s friends. Since then, the Vancouver-based label has grown exponentially, now sitting at 2.5 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 600,000 Facebook fans.
What separates Monstecat from the pack is not only their unique brand of bass-oriented electronic music, but their entire approach to the industry. With an artist-driven ethos, the label preaches non-exclusivity, allowing their artists to freely release on the imprint of their choice. What is more, Monstercat goes the extra mile to cultivate a sense of community. From weekly podcasts on Twitch, to a well-maintained subreddit, the team behind the label is highly responsive to the needs of their fans. Darlington said of the community: “We’ve always seen them as family to us. Their never-ending energy and involvement has always been a driving force for our own self-improvement. It’s tough to not strive to be the best when you have this type of rabid audience always contributing their feedback, advice and ideas!”
Such a passionate fan base doesn’t arrive overnight. It takes a mixture of innovation and consistency to build the kind of community Darlington and crew have in the span of three years. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Monstercat’s growing roster is one of the most promising in the business. They may not all have landed on your radar yet, but rest assured, every artist on the list is quality. Jon Winter, Head of Music for the label, put it best: “One day I can receive the heaviest neurofunk tune and the next I’ll be listening to a chill out track. The evolution of each artist’s production over time has been astounding.” It’s this kind of versatility that elevates Monstercat’s roster to a level above the average cut.
On Monday, the imprint hit a huge milestone, releasing their twentieth artist compilation to date: Monstercat 020 – Altitude. Featuring 30 tracks (including 10 exclusives) from 31 different producers, it’s the perfect display of the label’s breadth of talent. From Muzzy’s cosmic drum ‘n’ bass number “Lost Metropolis,” to Au5’s trancier original, “Crossroad,” the compilation boasts some of the biggest Monstercat singles of the past few months. Darlington said of the release: “We’ve worked hard to showcase some of the best music and artists on the label in one album.”
The quality in the selection is clear, but perhaps most impressive is the diversity of the productions. Aside from Monstercat’s usual brand of delectable drumstep, drum ‘n’ bass and electro, you’ve got future bass tracks like Grant Bowtie’s “Clockwork” as well as the heavy trap styling of Aero Chord’s “Break Them.” Jon Winter reiterated the trend: “We’re open to all electronic music, but there are some genres we’ve recently been releasing more of and that is trap and future bass. As time progresses the assortment of genres we release will only expand.”
With Monstercat 020 – Altitude, Darlington and the rest of his Vancouver crew have demonstrated their longevity. With the adaptability to pick up on emerging styles and the roster to consistently present top-notch material, it’s safe to say Monstercat is in good hands for the foreseeable future.