Artist Spotlight – Monoverse
You remember that kid next door growing up that you knew was capable of achieving their dreams?
Do you remember thinking, there was something special about this one? Santos Torres, better known as Monoverse, was that kid. When you meet him, you almost forget he is an international DJ. He is just your friend. Someone you can easily connect with, go have Starbucks together and laugh at really stupid stuff, but when talking about trance and progressive, his light goes off and you just knew he was going to make it.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Monoverse over the years and shared some fun and unique experiences with him as he’s truly becoming a rare US trance superstar.
Thank you for taking the time to sit with me. First of all, you are having a monster year so far! Playing some big gigs in the USA and Canada. What has been your favorite event so far and what are you looking forward to still?
Thanks for the opportunity to chat! I really appreciate the kind words, I’ve had such a blast playing shows this year. Dreamstate Canada comes to mind for one of my favorites as it was the first edition. Proud to have played a part as the crowd was fantastic.
There’s a bunch of shows that have been under wraps still to be announced and I’m proud to say they include debuts in new cities and returns to some rather amazing stages. Since I don’t exactly know when they’ll be announced yet, I’ll have to tell you to keep an eye on my socials in the near future for those!
FSOE Parallels is a progressive trance sub-label of Future Sound of Egypt. How did you and Aly & Fila come up with this idea How does it feel to be at the head of such a big brand?
It happened very organically as I was releasing with FSOE consistently before they were in need of the new imprint. I reached out to Fadi from Aly & Fila with a pitch for the name, branding and styles; and we were very much on the same page.
It’s an honor to work with this team and be at the reigns of Parallels. I really feel at home with them and it’s been an amazing experience. As we move forward and the picture comes closer and closer into vision, I find myself even more excited for what’s to come.
Your radio show Parallels has been very consistent, some great guest mixes, and stand-outs amongst other radio shows. What is your secret?
Honestly I thought doing a weekly show would be more difficult than it has been, but there’s been such a constantly impressive influx of releases across the spectrum that I want to share with the world.
Along with everything else an artist has to do, it is a bit taxing, but it’s well worth it as I’ve seen the fan base continues to grow and receive such positive feedback from the regular listeners. Coupled with having a few good men (like Pablo Artigas, Dave Neven, Emerge for example) when I’m in need of some downtime, it’s been a breeze.
The New York progressive scene is very strong especially since it also encompasses both techno and trance. What is more impressive to me, there appears to be a lot of comradery amongst artists in that area. Is that a fair assessment? Why or why not?
Definitely a fair assessment and I think a lot of that stems from the extremely high level of talent centralized to the area. It creates healthy competition and raises the standard while inspiring creativity as there’s so many different offshoots of the electronic genre thriving in the area.
There is certainly comradery and I think that stems from an earlier generation of NYC area artists who led by example, teaching us how to navigate the music industry and how to support one another. It’s an experience not many local scenes can offer and I’ll always be grateful for their mentorship.
Breaking into Europe when you are from the US is not easy. You have been able to break into that market. What advice would you give to someone trying to do the same?
It’s certainly difficult to break into new markets as an artist, but there’s no specific way to do so. In the end, it all boils down to releasing quality music and making the right decisions with both the short and long term in mind. If you’re doing that you eventually see things fall into place.
My advice is to find a label or outlet that both coincides with your vision as an artist and provides you a platform to reach the right audience. From there, continue to release quality music with them and continue to look for the right people to surround yourself with. Don’t rush into anything and make sure you’ve found the right fit, it’s well worth the wait to do so!
Would you say breaking through in the music scene is more about talent or connections? Why or why not? With so many DJs and producers these days, how do you stand out?
Most important I would say is having a strong work ethic, and neither pure talent nor having connections can guarantee anything for you as an artist. With that in mind, talent, strong work ethic, and a level head would be a perfect combination for any artist.
Standing out as an artist is a relatively simple concept, but difficult (read: scary and not necessarily a recipe for success in the short term). It comes down to following your inner voice and creating an artistic vision for your music and brand. Your abilities, inspirations and musical preferences are unique to you and can be your guide to standing out against the crowd.
So your first name is Santos, and some people have a hard time getting that right so I heard. What have been some of your favorite attempts of both your real name and your DJ name?
I’ll just have to recall the stories so our readers aren’t entirely lost here!
This nonsense started when I visited Santa Monica pier in California with a few other guys like Dan Stone, Allen Watts and Mike Squillo. Naturally, we needed ice cream so we ordered some and they took our names – realizing our names were butchered when we got our orders.
Allen Watts was reduced to Wotsie, while I was branded simply ‘Santers’. Hilarity ensued, and of course that one really stuck.
Fast forward to Dreamstate SF, a bunch of us ordered Starbucks to help us rally before the second day. This time my coffee returned to me under the name Taters.
Since my full name is Santos Torres, I’m strongly considering legally changing it to Santers Taters.
Other stories I’m sure I’ll regret sharing….Aly & Fila’s manager Stuart Roberts once asked if ‘Moonverse’ was available to play a show, we’re still waiting to find out his availability.
Maybe my personal favorite though is my aunt who told many people (and sincerely believed until I had heard and corrected her) that my artist name is ‘Monogoose’.
Finally, if you could only live by one motto, what would it be?
Do what you want, as best you can. Always strive for improvement, not perfection. Bring others up around you. Be kind.
Apparently I can’t live by one motto, I hope four is acceptable.