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9th October 2023

Interview: Elijah Kang

Photographer: William Spooner

Embracing vulnerability and transforming it into strength is a power that not many artists are brave enough to unlock. But, with only his first single out named ‘PANIC!’, montyKeates does not shy away from depicting his entire self as being equally vital aspects of his identity. This rising talent has not gone unnoticed, as montyKeates has already been recognised by Instagram as one of their ‘Next Gen Artists’, as well as Music Week commending him. With the fresh new artist already touring around the UK alongside South Arcade and garnering a substantial audience on social media, we can only anticipate what lies ahead for montyKeates.

Hi montykeates! Thank you for talking with ReVamp. How are you feeling after releasing your first ever single?

Thank you for having me! The day of the release felt like my birthday, the final day on the South Arcade tour lining up with the release day was surreal, I really felt all the hard work come to fruition which is always so rewarding. The support so far has been incredible, and I am so grateful that everyone’s showing the track their love and streaming it! I just want to keep pushing it, find some new ears to invade, haha! There is a sort of post release/tour blues, I am completely independent with no music manager, and as things get more serious part of me worries that I wont be able to handle it… I know its not true, I can handle anything, and above all that I am just excited for whats next to come…

Your debut single is said to be about embracing vulnerability and all of the emotions that come with it. Why do you believe it is important to be vulnerable as an artist?

Embracing vulnerability in any case is so important, in everything that scares us there is something to learn. As an artist, the vulnerability helps me to connect with anyone who’s listening, and help them embrace their vulnerability too. It takes courage to be vulnerable, it’s hard to shed off all those walls you put up. But once you truly let people see who you were put on this planet to be, I know you will find so much strength within that. I want people to be able to hear what I’m saying, and be able to take that and relate to their own situations.

Has your motivation to create music always been the same, or has it shifted over time?

Music has been a part of my life forever, I grew up putting on shows with my little sister, trying to teach myself any instrument I could find and singing my heart out at school talent shows. I always felt the magnetism of the freedom within that expression but I think I started to push the idea to the back of my head, scared of what people may think. It’s always there, but for me, to create music means to feel, and there were times in my life where I wasn’t ready to feel into those things.The fire caught during the start if 2022, I had just been through some major changes and I was directionless with no real drive for anything. I had moved In with my brother and he had a piano in his living room that collected dust most days as he was at work.That was where I sat and played, on my own, working everything out in my head, and realised “I can do this.”

As someone who is redefining conventional music genres, and with you coining the term, “hyper-rock”, who were your biggest musical influences growing up and what are they currently?

I was obsessed with EDM when I was a teenager, I loved skrillex, i remember the first time I listened, I had never heard anything like it. Then I found bands like bring me the horizon and nothing but thieves, a friend showed me the prodigy and I was obsessed, All the early 2000s rock, Pierce The Veil, there are so many I could sit and name for hours haha, I just loved anything that sounded like there was one sound too many and still worked so perfectly. Currently, I still feel that way, I really enjoy trying to incorporate things like drum and bass and hyperpop sounds into the rock music I make, I enjoy the sort of digital softness in the hyper side and experimenting different ways I can mix that with rock music and all those sub genres from it that I love so much.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Metaphysical, Inquisitive and Enamoured.

As this is your first single, what can we expect from you next?

More singles to come, I hope to break some boundaries with these and explore further into this new sound I’m playing with. Sam Ellwood is the genius producer behind PANIC! And he sees the vision, together we have been reimagining the ways we look at the music we love and create a new yet familiar taste. One day, I hope to inspire other people to just play around with all these pre existing sounds and create something completely new and entirely puzzling, and push the boat out even further into the crazy possibilities that music can bring.

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