Monki AKA Lucy Monkman may still be in her teens, but she’s already established herself to be a key asset of Rinse FM‘s operations, having landed her own weekly show every Thursday of every week, 11am – 1pm. She’s also played at many of London’s most reputable establishments, including Fabric, Plastic People and XOYO.
In the build up to her performance at Eastern Electrics August bank holiday party on Saturday 28th August we caught up with Monki to discover how she developed herself to become part of the Rinse FM crew and to be such a bad ass DJ at such a young age. Monki’s mix features tracks from Instra:mental, L-Vis 1990, Girl Unit, J Kenzo, Rod Lee, Geeneus, Boddika and SBTRKT.
For those who know little about you, could you please tell our readers a little about where you are from and what music you were into as a kid?
Yo, my name is Monki, my real name is Lucy. I’m from South West London. When I was six I had a cassette tape of Sting and The Police, which I was like obsessed with, weird child. I listened to a lot of hip-hop growing up, my first vinyl record was Eric B For President. But I listened to everything from techno to classical to soul.
What did you aspire to be when you were in your teens?
Haha I’m still in my teens! When I was really young I wanted to be a vet ha, but everyone thought I would end up doing sports. As I grew older I wasn’t sure, I was a bit lost to be honest! DJing came as a bit of an epiphany when I was 17.
Your decision to get into music was quite a recent development. What we’re the first steps you took down this road?
Get to know people and get some experience! I started off at my local radio station and just grafted for about a year and a half, at one point I was doing 3 internships in one week, plus my weekend job and work in the evening. But, it was such a breathe of fresh air, I really enjoyed it.
Your persistence and professionalism have found you performing at Annie Mac’s AMP Parties, hosting the Bestival Radio show and finally landing a full-time slot on Rinse FM. How did you go about hooking up all these events and contacts?
Every person I met along the way was either from talking to them at a rave or from internships, or just being at the right place at the right time. I recorded a mix and sent it to Annie after meeting her on the set of a TV program she was presenting and luckily she liked it, that’s how the AMP parties came about.
Since hosting a weekly show on Rinse FM, have you invited any of your favorite producers and DJ’s to come and spin records with you?
Yes, I’ve had a few! First person I had was Martelo and then I had Moxie in as well. Recently I had Mele in, who came in and took over for 45min. I’d like to do more, maybe back to backs could be fun.
Since Rinse FM got granted awarded an official FM license… how has this changed the structure, management and ethos of the station, for better or worse… and how?
For better for sure, you don’t have to hide when your not pirate. Although the station is still quite secretive, we like to keep peoples imaginations open. Plus with artists such as Katy B, Magnetic Man and P Money on the label I can’t see it going anywhere else but forward. The ethos is still the same, same people same jokes.
What is the creative vision for your show?
I just play stuff that I enjoy, which seems a bit selfish, but luckily other people seem to be enjoying it too. I like to play music I’ve been sent from just random producers, there are so many people making music now.
Are there any particular sounds and styles you’re particularly fond of and enjoy representing?
Not really, I like a bit of everything. I’ll play House, Funky, Techno, Garage, Grime…if I like the tune I’ll play it. I think there are some great producers at the moment, French guys are doing a lot…like French Fries, Bambonou, Manare and the Club Cheval lot. Producers seem to be getting younger; I think that’s great.
What’s the story behind the name ‘Monki’?
It comes from my surname, it sounds like half of it. It was just a nickname at school, which stuck. There were three other Lucy’s in the year so it got to the point where people would use it to call me it to avoid confusion. Monki would get put on the register and I would be refereed to Monki in assemblies by the teachers and stuff, was quite funny.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what 3 essential objects in your life would you take to pass the time?
I know they’re probably boring but I’d be lying if I said anything else, my Mac, my iPhone and football. So as long as there are power sockets and an Internet connection on this desert island.
With technology more readily available to people, such as Traktor, Serato, CD-J’s and Vinyl. Where do you sit amongst this and where do you see the future of live mixing?
I know some great DJs that have moved to Traktor, some people kind of turn their noses up at the idea. But it gives them the freedom to do more with effects, looping and playing with accapellas. I know Zinc uses Traktor and he smashes it, so what can you say. I use Serato CDjs, I enjoy live mixing so that’s what I use. It’s a lot easier to get into DJing now; some people get really worked up about the idea of technology moving forward. If you’re great at live mixing people are still gonna come and watch you play. People should stop getting wound up about it, stop being dinosaurs!
It looks like you have a few more years to enjoy in the limelight. Have you set yourself any long-term goals? What do you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
Wow there’s a lot to think about, I always set myself goals and recently I’ve kind of hit a fork road. So I need to be making decisions, at the beginning I was very clear about where I wanted to end up and what I wanted to be doing, now I’m not so sure, you’ll have to wait and see.
What’s at the top of your playlist (iTunes/pod) at the moment?
Listening to a lot of house and techno at the moment, I think I’ve got Ibiza brain, even though I’m not going to Ibiza this year haha just imagining. Think I’ve had Amy Winehouse‘s first album on repeat this week, forgot how amazing it was.
Have you experimented with producing music, and if so what sounds are you experimenting with? (Can we expect to see any Monki tracks hit wax in years to come)
Yes I’ve had a go now and again. In my time out I’m going to experiment with Logic and see what I can do. There are definitely no promises of a summer banger just yet haha but it’s something I want to try and get into so, maybe in the near future you may hear something from me.
Could you tell our readers who your top 5 music producers are at the moment? Anyone pushing through you think is worth a mention?
Wow hard question, guys like French Fries, Boddika, Addison Groove, Mele which some feature on my mix, those guys are killing it. There are so many people! Then you’ve got people you may or may not heard of but I like to play, like Zulu, Checan, Squarehead. There’s a lot.
Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Get a case for your iPhone, mine looks sad and mashed up.
1. Instra:mental – Pyramid
2. Karizma – God Made Me Phunky
3. Ossie – Tarantula
4. Manaré – Silk (Premaster)
5. Girl Unit – Wut (Claude Vonstroke Remix)
6. L-Vis 1990 – Lost In Love (Neon Dreams Club Mix)
7. The 2 Bears – Bear Hug
8. N.E.R.D. – Lapdance (Bingo Players Bootleg)
9. J Kenzo – Let It Move
10. Bambounou – Alpha
11. DHS – The House Of God (Melé Re-Edit)
12. Zulu – Kwaito
13. Discreet – Constant Drumming
14. Mescal Kid – Magic
15. Geeneus – Crackish
16. Riton – A_C_P
17. Rodd Lee – Deep Inside (Pearson Sound Remix)
18. French Fries – What To Do 2011
19. Amy Winehouse – Fuck Me Pumps (MJ Cole Mix Edit)
20. Boddika – When I Dip
21. Agent X – Decoy
22. Sticky – Triplets 2
23. SBTRKT – Wildfire ft Drake
24. Dub War – The Funky Deal