Forging an impressive path in both Australia and Europe, Monika Ross has a stellar reputation in the game. We spoke to the highly sought-after DJ and producer before Sunday’s landmark 500th party at S.A.S.H...
RR: Hey Monika! You'll be playing at S.A.S.H by Night on Sunday, part of their 500th event celebrations - what can we expect from your set?
Monika: Whoa! 500th anniversary of the best party in Australia - built by such an amazing crew of people. Inspired from the explosion of resident sets at Sash by day, I will be bringing a lot of new collaborations and productions to the table on Sunday. I am also very excited this week by new material from much loved artists and friends - Maik Yells, Ma.to, David Delgado, Sun Archive, Ed Herbst, 2Vilas, Nick Beringer and Smoud Beats to name a few. Plus some unique wax sourced from Black Round Twelve records in Berlin.
RR: Sounds good to us! Your last appearance at S.A.S.H saw you team up with your friend Danni B to play as Dannika Boss. How did that come about and what was it like performing together?
Monika: Danni B is an amazing friend and beautiful human with the same love for mixing beats - so it was inevitable we would play together. Dannika Boss formed out of our friendship and an initial spontaneous b2b in Berlin where our tracks flowed effortlessly together. She has been the real pusher of Dannika Boss so thanks to her this project came together.
RR: In your own words, how would you describe the Monika Ross sound?
Monika: Describing myself musically is always difficult as I think everyone’s perspective of genre description is different. I would say a mix of micro, tech, garage and deep house music, but I’m an avid fan of hip hop and jazz which has definitely influenced my ideas and choices in dance music.
RR: Now going back a bit - you were once a host on FBI radio. What sort of insights did that give you into the music industry?
Monika: Wow that’s going back 11 years now! I walked in every Friday night with stars in my eyes for that job. It was one of the best experiences of my young Sydney life - people could call in which really gave the human connection to listener interaction and my first interview was with Trentemoller, so it really gave me a push professionally at 19 years old. My love for radio has lasted for years thanks to FBI.
RR: You also lived in London and spent a lot of time in Europe. Tell us about that period in your life and how it influenced your development as an artist.
Monika: Those 10 years in Europe made me the person I am today both musically and individually. The opportunity to fully understand very different people and cultures was a major factor in my feelings toward humanity as well as the vast music industry over there. The ease of connecting with other artists, the way people socialise, the way parties are run and the ease of access to music is what I love most about Europe. It is currently driving the dance music industry.
RR: You've played all over the world including institutions like Watergate and Fabric. If you had to pick one gig that really stands out in your memory, which would it be?
Monika: Tough one. I have had so many ecstatic experiences playing over the past 3 years and am truly grateful for being able to travel like a DJ does. I don’t think anyone gets to experience the world quite like a DJ. Mexico was incredible, Fabric never gets old to play at, same as Sash and Watergate. Pratersauna with Livio and Roby was a standout for me last year, I could go on forever!
RR: Given your extensive vinyl collection, what do you think the differences are when spinning vinyl?
Monika: Personally I think vinyl has more of a reputable, distinguished identity to it. Tracks are longer and well constructed, they tell a better story and are less disposable. When I pick up (what I think are) dancefloor bombs now, I feel like there is futurism in the production, and the crowd reaction speaks for itself. Vinyl is what I learnt with... it’s more fun and harder to mix so I think the challenge repays in pleasure.
RR: Now you must be excited to be featured on the next season of Pure Foun's radio-show. What do you have planned?
Monika: These guys are building a fantastic ideology around their brand. The idea is to come back to basic human nature and retain relationships without the distractions of technology and the falseness that comes with it. I’m very excited to have been invited on for a guest mix this season.
RR: We’ll be sure to check it out. You also recently signed a track on underground label, Detroit Side. Can you reveal a bit more about the collaboration?
Monika: Detroit Side are having me remix for them and I am honoured they have approached me. A label that shows patience and professionalism with a good mix of underground and established artists on their releases. 10 out of 10 for Detroit side.
RR: Finally... what else is in store for Monika Ross this year?
Monika: I am doing another European tour this year starting in Berlin this April and I’m over the moon to be getting to experience Tel Aviv in Israel for the first time this year. Personally this year is about progression, living large and summer to summer rollin’ baby! See you next Australian summer.
RR: Haha see you then!