As ambassador of the relentless and grimier side of dubstep, Nottingham’s Cookie Monsta has risen through the ranks of the global dubstep circuit with the aid of his signature face-slapping snares, barbaric basslines, and mystifyingly dirty synths. Since entering the world of dubstep with his first Circus Records release in 2010, Cookie Monsta has consistently gone from strength to strength, pushing the boundaries of dubstep and even moving into many other tempos of electronic music.
With releases on an impressive roster of iconic bass music labels like UFK, Disciple, Rottun Recordings, Never Say Die, and, of course, Circus Records, Cookie continues to master his craft by tirelessly creating some of the heaviest sounds in the scene whilst constantly seeking to reinvent and improve his unique style. After recently embarking on a hefty, three-month journey as opening support for Excision on his Paradox tour, we were lucky enough to catch up with Cookie Monsta before the tour touches down at the Hollywood Palladium this weekend for a three-night fling with Bassrush.
The original intro on 'Ginger Pubes' was eight bars with hardly any sub. If I did that today I'd have no career!
As you’ve had a strong presence within the scene from the initial stages of the global dubstep “boom” to the present day, how have the genre and the sound changed over time?
The main thing about dubstep when I discovered it was that it was free to all no matter what sound or style. Other genres were full of elitists and snobs and if you weren’t already known then they wouldn’t acknowledge you. The differences now are kind of the same but you have to have a well-engineered track for anyone to take notice. “Back in the day” it’d be the sounds and energy that drove the track rather than the mixdown quality that we have today. The original intro on “Ginger Pubes” was eight bars with hardly any sub. If I did that today I’d have no career!
With that said, who do you find yourself deriving inspiration from these days seeing as the personality of the dubstep genre has changed quite a bit since then?
I listen to a lot of orchestral pieces/movie scores like Hans Zimmer’s stuff. I’ve always been fascinated by violins especially; I’ve always had touches of orchestral in my music, not always but most of the time. My release “Eliminate Target” was an intro that I worked on for months, as well as “Forever.” These have huge movie score influences. I love that stuff!
You began your musical journey on your brother’s Playstation by creating sounds on Music 2000, followed by studying music more seriously in college in 2007. Can you recount the evolution of your success starting from when you first began learning to produce up until your first big release with Circus?
I made “Ginger Pubes” and “Blurgh!” in 2008/2009 and I didn’t really want any releases at the time. Then came Circus Records in its infancy and it was appealing so I signed and had a release. The success came pretty quickly after that. I’d have been DJing around the UK constantly for a year or so and then we were starting to release CDs that were at the shops, which was crazy. I also remember doing the Taio Cruz + Ke$ha “Dirty Picture” remix and I heard someone drive by where I was living blasting it out their car. That was crazy. I got my passport and played around Europe, then thrown around the rest of the world.
Do you have any forthcoming releases that we should get excited for?
I’ve been working on a few bits that are going to destroy clubs and festivals. They’re nearly finished so I’m going to test them out [this] Friday! There’s no set release date since they still need polishing off.
Speaking of this weekend, you’re joining Excision for a few months as a supporting act on his Paradox tour. How do you prepare for a lengthy stretch like this in terms of curating your sets to make sure that you’re staying interested and excited while DJing and touring?
It’s always hard when doing a tour bus tour where shows are packed together, but you just have to treat it like normal [and] continue to put as much energy as you can at every show. If you do that then it’ll fly by!
For fans who’ve never witnessed your live sets, what should they expect during your three-night stint of Bassrush shows at LA’s Hollywood Palladium this coming weekend?
If I had a dollar for every time I nearly fainted on stage through going HAM I’d be a rich man! If I had to give three words I’d say: Energy! Hype! Sweat!
Tickets for Excision’s Paradox tour, featuring Cookie Monsta, are available here.