10 Years of Monstercat: The Sounds That Shaped Us
Words by Megan Venzin
The sound of fresh chords is like therapy to insatiable eardrums. Those who enjoy catching sets from their favorite DJs IRL know the unique thrill that accompanies the “unknown track ID”. In the middle of a mix, an unfamiliar cut hits hard, and just like that, it’s gone. Surely it will show up on the next LP… right? RIGHT?
So satisfying. So fleeting. So UNFAIR!
Mystery bangers offer instant gratification, but at the same time launch an impossible quest -- one that sends music fans on an epic search for tracks they’re unlikely to locate. Or, has our luck finally changed?
On July 1st, Monstercat will celebrate its 10 Year Anniversary, and if you are one of those diehards who spent the better half of the past decade meticulously clipping unreleased cuts from bootlegged festival footage and grainy online videos, well, your day has finally come.
'Monstercat - 10 Year Anniversary' LP Artwork
A DECADE OF ARTIST DISCOVERY
To commemorate this milestone, we present the ‘Monstercat - 10 Year Anniversary’ LP -- a face-melting collection that’s chock full of earworms from trailblazing producers that got you hooked, and then left you hanging... until this very moment. (Well, almost! We promise, the reward is worth the wait.)
Before you scratch that nagging itch, let’s reminisce upon Monstercat’s humble beginnings and how two students’ daring dreams became a beat-pumping powerhouse celebrated by music lovers around the globe. Mike Darlington and Ari Paunonen launched Monstercat on YouTube from their college dorm room back in 2011. In just a few years, the label would become a fixture of the international dance music scene. Home to more than 1,000 artists and three distinct brands -- Uncaged for the bass chasers, Instinct for the emerging electro-pop stars and Silk for the progressive house audiophiles -- Monstercat’s reach has transcended airwaves and continental borders. With offices in Vancouver, Los Angeles and Singapore, Monstercat has become a global launch pad for electronic music’s rising stars as well as a home for Platinum-accredited producers.
Artist: Nitro Fun, Uncaged India show, 2019
A DECADE OF BANGERS REVEALED
Now, let’s move on to the loud stuff. ‘Monstercat - 10 Year Anniversary’ LP will send listeners back to EDM’s fist-pumping golden era with unreleased grooves that encapsulate the relentless energy and spirit of the scene. Fittingly, these tracks also come from artists who helped shape Monstercat’s now legendary sound and style.
The 16-track LP features an all-star lineup of house and bass pioneers, many of whom have been with the label since the very beginning. Such is the case with Stephen Walking, who appeared on Monstercat’s very first compilation album, and now returns to deliver the upbeat synth-laced electro tune, “JC-08” first produced in 2018. The iconic Pegboard Nerds make their splash with “Shaku,” a twisted dubstep cut from 2012 that embodies the OG Monstercat soundprint with its slick sound design, adrenaline pumping builds and funky rhythm.
Another act that had a dramatic impact on Monstercat’s early aesthetic are Case & Point, who reunited to finish their gnarly 2015 banger “Descender.” When this track first materialized, the Boston-based duo was experimenting with the metallic bass sounds that dominated festival mainstages at the time. However, the intricate sound design made it a difficult production to mix, and therefore it never saw a formal drop until now.
“This is a very special release for us,” Case & Point share. “It is the last track we wrote together before taking a break to focus on our personal lives. We struggled quite a bit with the writing of it, but are very happy to be finally releasing it as part of Monstercat’s 10 Year Anniversary.”
Nitro Fun’s “Easter Egg” is another crisp production that calls to mind the heyday of bass heavy electro-house. This 2014 unreleased track was teased around the same time he dropped the fan favourite, “New Game,” and fans will likely agree it’s just as filthy!
This project also brought together some names that haven’t collaborated in ages. Take Subtact, for example, who reconnected with singer Noctilucent to finally make their groovy electro-pop track “What It’s Like” an official release.
“I am so grateful to finally have this song see the light of day after five years! I was quite proud of the technical side of the tune when I made it, and I still think it includes some of my favorite melodies of mine to date,” Subtact says. “Much thanks to Noctilucent for being willing to re-record the lovely vocals years after we initially worked on it, and to Monstercat for showing it to such a great audience!”
Artist: Stonebank - Photographed by Mikki Young
And those are just a few of the names on this long-awaited LP which also includes remastered contributions from names like Rogue, Stonebank, Shingo Nakamura, Varien and many more. To the fans longing to hear these tracks again (and a few new ones too!), the wait is over! And to these Monstercat artists whose boundless creativity and fearless production skills kept us dancing through the decade, we thank you from the bottom of our wub-loving hearts!
Here’s to 10 years! Now, what are you waiting for? Press play and turn the volume up… way up.
Listen to the Monstercat - 10 Year Anniversary album here!