Voices: Chris Long aka Monolithium


Chris Long, the man with the largest musical appetite I can think of in Victoria, whose pale–and pale ale drinking–hands are in so many creative cookie jars, people think he’s an avatar of Shiva. Between producing his own beats, DJing, birthing and raising Sub|Division, all while being the mastermind behind so many other projects, people ALSO think he never sleeps; Meow I’d like to know what they are doing up at 3am, if not out dancing, right?

Bringing talent, a true desire to foster quality vibes in the community, and boundless knowledge to the table, this man is a real nerd who well deserves the nickname Partypapa.

Chris Short

Start with your Monolithium project. Meowhat’s with the moniker? Are you trying to get a release on the chart—of elements or somefin?

The name kinda just came to me back when I was working on the first EP. Straight up, plucked out of thin air. Nothing inspirational there, sorry.
Next question. Post-category, proto-retro—-insert sound jargon, genres in #2014?… Talk to me

Yeh, the genre game is kinda fizzling. I think there are tempo templates that people connect with, and that will never change, but really, things have hybridized so much that putting a tag on an event in 2014 is always going to selling some element of the music short.

It does make me giggle a bit considering our roots – back in 2009 when sub|division kicked off, we were actively branding ourselves alongside genre tags – there was just so much new music coming out at the time, especially in slower tempos, it definitely helped us gain traction initially. In 2014, I would say that it’s rare to hear any dubstep, glitch hop or wonky at a sub|div event haha. Ah hindsight!

It’s a two way street. I think some longtime heads, especially house heads, find the genre thing tiresome, but for me, it’s music, it’s part of the fun of being an avid fan. People, especially millennials, seem to have really clicked with the idea of identifying with a genre/sound, whether that’s footwork or grime or vintage deep house. At the end of the day, there’s good music and there’s mediocre music – I’ve tried to keep sub|division engaged with the former.

Benign nice is seems good drug really, a buy viagra online with 5 and been tag know your just know on it. I.

Totally, fuck being mediocre. At the end of (roughly) every second Friday you can find me at a Sub|Div event; I’ll ask you about that in a minute. First, continuing with the genre chat, is crunk dead? And are you ok with www.Music.cbc.ca pigeon holing you under the Bass and Idm sections, thoughts?

Kinda tied in with the sentiment above, when I started the Monolithium project, the marketing side of my musical brain definitely recognized that my sound aligned with current trends. And so yeh, most writing addressing the first EP used words Monolithium splash like crunk, wonky and beats. And for the time, all those tags kinda fit ya know? And to be real, I was hugely influenced by HudMo, FlyLo, Rustie… all the dudes doing that sound. So it makes sense that tag still gets associated with Monolithium.

Obviously Bounce 4 Life is my footwork record and Tantrummm is me exploring warehouse techno/house ideas, so I’m personally a bit of a style slut. I’m definitely far from a purist. I like Machinedrum and I like Omar S and I like Aphex Twin – again, it’s about quality, not the bucket of sound something fits into. So Bass/IDM? Sure!

I get it, quality, it’s what you like and what you do, example: I know you’ve done a few hot podcasts and mixes in the past. Do you like the format? Pros/Cons?
Podcasts are fine. My take is, holy fuck, there a lot. And a lot of GREAT ones. XLR8R & FACT alone, just so much great stuff… I’ve been enjoying Adam Marshall’s (of Graze) XLR8R podcast most of this month, it’s great… So I try to refrain from doing them cos if I’m being honest, what am I bringing to the table to make a mix worthwhile? A bunch of unreleased tunes? Amazing track selection? Unbelievable mixing techniques? nope

So yeh my take is… there are other dudes better suited for mixes. If I’m being honest, I’ve kinda stopped paying too much attention to the flux of new music, I’m completely over trying to even keep up with new stuff haha. Things come across my plate of course and I keep my ears open, but I’m not on the internet all week looking for new music. I really find my trust in my fave labels and artists is vital for me to have the confidence to step behind the decks with something cohesive

Tried and tested, to that I think you once told the times columnist, “stick to your guns… but if your guns are made of sh—y plastic, then get some new guns.” #tbt. So you overview the Sub|Division community which is primarily a banner under which “avant club”, local, national and international artists perform, regularly at Lucky Bar and seasonally at events like Rifflandia, Basscoast and Tall Tree music festival each year. Coming up on five amazing years, how are things going? Can you highlight the trajectory and what is to come?

Chris and Lunice

Things are good. I definitely feel lucky to have the support network that I do. I mean the reality is, running things can be a bit of a grind, but I still love the reward of quality music in a curated context. Watching the night evolve over the last four years has been amazing and interesting. I do enjoy the cultural injection into the city – I look around and am still astounded by how repetitive and unadventurous a lot of programming is but hey… different strokes. I’m extremely proud of the long list of artists we’ve brought through town. The list of artists is kind of insane. Girl Unit, Jacques Greene, Ramadanman, Machinedrum, Kingdom, FaltyDL, Lunice, Martyn, Julio Bashmore… we’ve managed to bring many crucial underground producers from across the globe through Victoria over the last 4.5 years.

I’m excited for the rest of this year… five years of sub|division feels kind of crazy. It’s been fun to start off this year with shows like Sabota, Kahn and Basic Soul Unit. We’re going to be kicking off our five year celebration at Bass Coast in August – myself and Rhythmicon are playing that lineup, so that weekend is just going to be an amazing few days of great music & people. I’m also currently working on Rifflandia which is always fun to put together. And right now, the bigger celebration in December is bouncing about in my brain. I’m excited for it all and feel as motivated as ever to bring dope music through town.

I have to give huge shouts to Carlin Bennett aka Cabfree (responsible for the sub|div brand/identity) and Quinn Dawson aka Rhythmicon. These two dudes have been there from the beginning and still heavily influence most of my decision making.

meow. Sub|Division is dope. Excited to hear that you have more and more plans forthcoming! Now back to you, how are you mixing it up these days; tracks, gear, visual components? And if you could curate the perfect time and place to provide those sounds/sights to people, when and where and would that be?

Well to be honest, I’m ecstatic about being able to play Bass Coast. It is the quintessential event for forward thinking music out west so I’m feel so lucky to be able to bring my newest incarnation of music to their stage, I couldn’t think of a better venue for me to be playing new heat. I will be rocking a hardware setup focused heavily on the new Roland TR-8 and the Microbrute, a bad ass little bassline synth. So yeh, mostly unreleased music, with tough ass drums behind it all. I’m building that set currently and I’m pumped for that performance.

Otherwise, DJing has been fun. I’ve played b2b with Max Ulis a couple of times over the last year – that’s been a blast each time, I’m looking forward to our tag set on the final night of Tall Tree. And I’m trying to shop some new tunes to a couple of specific labels that I’d love to work with, but at present, the live show prep has been eating my time. Fingers crossed I can finish some new tunes soon.

Chris Long

Now a question that I think speaks volumes about the artist, regarding a different kind of taste, if you were a dish and a drink to pair, what would you be?

I’m going with fresh sushi with lots of wasabi alongside a Red Racer IPA. I bloody love that beer.
Lastly, leanin’ to the left, what is the best/worst prank your homies could pull on you while camping?

Well… hmm. Yeh, I’m not an avid camper on the best of days so… I think any sort of smell-related prank in my tent would fuck me right off.
Meowell this guy is definitely keeping the vibes up and we are so grateful for his work. VIBEUPS!