The thing with Munchi is that everybody wants to own him or possess him or wants a piece of him.
We, at Generation Bass feels like he’s ours as we were one of the first to introduce him to the world. The first to break some of his finest sounds on our blog. We’ve also had the honour of him being one of our team, blogging with us since 2010. We’ve stayed loyal to him throughout the years, during the high and low points. Plus, I, UMB, feel like he’s my Son the DJ (lol) as he is the one producer who continually excites me the most in this scene!
T&A would claim him as one of theirs as they were the first label to officially release an EP by him. They also set up the fund to assist his return to the Netherlands and pay for some of his hospital bills after he suffered with a brain aneurysm in Hawaii.
Diplo & Mad Decent tried to claim him as theirs too when they caught on to him, much later I might add, and released his first official Moombahton EP containing the classics. They had him over to wreak havoc at their block parties and his moments at those block parties still stand as some of the best things that ever happened at those parties. Diplo also had him geared up to be introduced to and to possibly work with a bunch of superstars but Munchi is Munchi and Munchi had other plans.
Many others would claim him as theirs, a brain aneurysm tried to claim him, the Moombahton community see him as their property, his wife loved and lost him, Azealia Banks tried and failed to buy him and the Latino kids swear he is their God. Even Higha Level thinks Munchi is his, carving out special attention for him in his often funny but sometimes offensive, online critiques!
However, the truth is that nobody owns or possesses Munchi.
Munchi belongs to Munchi!!!
He owns himself but he tries to give a piece of himself to everybody. He is truly in charge and in complete control of his own brand and destiny but is also willing to share himself. We admire that in him.
I get a lot of stick for talking about Munchi, bigging him up and so forth and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s down to jealousy and a lot of other producers get pissed that people don’t give them the same kind of attention that a lot of us lovingly give to Munchi from the bottom of our deep hearts.
Munchi is not without fault either, he is no saint or messiah, he is a mere human who makes mistakes like everybody else. People tell me stories and I hear complaints, I don’t know why they tell me? Maybe they think I’ll love him less. Yes, I’ve heard stories that he sometimes doesn’t turn up for gigs (often for good reason or on grounds of ill-health) or stories about his high charges for gigs, which has pissed some people off (what do you expect him to do, play for peanuts? when he gives all his music for free and he’s totally unique!!!) and a lot of other stories and criticisms, which I can’t and don’t want to mention.
Munchi might also be considered crazy for passing up great opportunities and other struggling producers can’t stomach that. He might also sometimes just be very aloof. At times he is his own worst enemy but most geniuses usually carry peculiar self-destructive habits. He doesn’t play the game or maybe he doesn’t know how to play the game. But he is only a young dude and has so much to learn but at the same time he has a very, very wise head on his shoulders, years beyond his actual age. He’s clearly very intelligent too, I wish I could have been as wise as he is, at his age!
For me, he is the single most important underground producer that I’ve ever had the fortune to know. After almost 5 years of knowing him and seeing him rise and fall, I still 1000% (yes, a thousand per cent) believe that this kid, with the Big Hair, is gonna make it and he is gonna make it BIG but he will do it on his own terms and at his own pace.
Munchi is biding his time and you would be a total fool for trying to write him off. He is gonna rise to become one of the most important producers we’ve ever known, mark my words.
One day, we will simply call a genre of music after this genius called MUNCHI or maybe after his hair, if all else fails!
THE INTERVIEW – MUNCHI GOES DEEP!!!!
GB: How’s the “HAIR” Munchi, you taking good care of it?
MUNCHI: Yeah man, they are having a holiday rn being tied up in a knot while enjoying the Turkish sun. They don’t seem to miss the cigarette smoke up in the clubs at all.
GB: So can you believe it, this is the First Munchi interview on Generation Bass even though we’ve known you since 2010 and you’ve been posting some great shit on our blog since 2010. Kinda took you for granted didn’t we..ahahaha
MUNCHI: That’s true. It actually is the first interview yo, I never even realized that! Ever since hitting you guys up in 2010, that’s like 4 years already. It’s crazy!
I really appreciate all the support you have been giving over the years. It took a while, but I always wanted to do something of a release with you guys!
GB: So, you been around in the scene for a while now, and whilst you’re making great progress in the accumulation of a cult grass-roots fan base, your profile is not hitting the radar on the commercial front. We know that is self-imposed to a degree. How do you feel about this and what are the reasons for you holding back from mass fame and superstardom?
MUNCHI: First you have to understand how I got this bias towards the commercialization of music. Starting from the point of view as a bedroom producer, I saw a lot of unnecessary shit happening to all these talented friends around me, till the point that they just gave up. Then you have the subject of all these amazing artists that I really looked up to, switching from being extremely creative to some watered down bullshit that was being recycled over and over again. I probably took it way too personal, but I felt offended and disrespected by it as a fan. Once at that bigger level, innovation and creativity took a hit. It happened over and over again.
That was one of the reasons that I wanted to do this. I wanted to find out why this was happening and I wanted to see if I could contribute in changing that.
The only thing was that I didn’t know what to do. Matter of fact, I didn’t even know what blogs were or even the term “Tropical Bass”. It was in ’09/’10 that I chose to go for the music 100%. That meant staying at home for about 7 months and since I didn’t have internet, I had to go to the library almost every day for those crucial 30 minutes!
After DJ-ing for a while, I had the privilege to kinda imagine it from “their” perspective.
When at that high, risks aren’t easily taken anymore. Now I understand that the recycling behavior is to build on your status and have the crowd recognize your shit. Still, it feels like underestimation towards the fans and it will build on crowds that quit with genuinely listening to the music. The initial inspiration that triggered things is gone, people change and a lot of shit needs to be taken care of all of sudden that have nothing to do with music at all.
This has made me think.
GB: Do you feel any differently about the whole Azealia Banks situation now, a few years down the line or do you feel the same way about it? Considering you could have been all over the UK pop charts as “Esta Noche” was Radio 1 play listed. Maybe you could have even become a household name in the UK and other countries by now if you had gone ahead and released it. You’d possibly be far richer in the pocket too.
MUNCHI: Nope, I would do it all over again.
They just wanted to cash in on a hype and they chose the worst person to try to do that with. Besides, she seems to put more effort towards lingering for beef and shock value, instead of actually putting some decent music out there for her fans.
There are a lot of artists I want to work with though and I had the privilege to work with most of them. Some were really amazing with a shitload of creativity and some were based on nothing at all, being ghost produced. That definitely was an eyeopener and a reality check.
GB: You created “Moombahcore” in addition to the first truly original “Moombahton” tracks and also “Moombahsoul” with Heartbreak. I think Moombahcore was the driving force behind the success of Moombahton in 2011 and at that time I’d say you were probably the world’s most influential underground producer. Your sound was everywhere in the underground. But you never made any $$$ from that and also you were not always given the credit.
When Moombahton took off, a lot of the credit was going to peeps like Diplo and Dillon Francis, through no fault of their own. Isn’t all of that a little painful and annoying at times?
MUNCHI: It’s the choices that I made and the things that happened that made me miss out on a lot. Health issues, constant drama and between all of the support, you have to understand that I am still getting boycotted.
Almost all the artists nowadays have a specialized team behind them and when you get a buzz, there is this road that you “should” take. Everything is carefully dosed in small amounts and monitored till the slightest detail, it’s so fucking artificial. Besides all the fakeness and indifference out there – where did the passion go? I could not agree with the perspectives, so just did my own thing, wanting to learn about everything first hand.
Unfortunately politics affected Moombahton too. In the early days I used to do a shitload in the background, just because I didn’t want to see it end up like all of these other genres. Looking to the Moombahton Wikipedia for example, is just disrespectful.
Nibootoo’s (see Munchi’s post on Nibootoo HERE) initial writeup got deleted and every slight edit after it too. It seemed that short term goals were chosen instead of the more important long term ones and when I tried to tell people about it, it was seen as a rant. It could’ve and should’ve been more worthwhile for everybody. In the end, me thinking in terms of the team, not doing the proper work to get my own shit out there and a blurred view on what I wanted to do, makes it understandable. It got the life sucked out of it yo.
It’s all good though, because the people that have to know – know. Today I was listening to a Moombahton song and I smiled. The footprints are undeniable and it’s amazing that my music made such an impact. Back then, there wasn’t a template of what an original Moombahton track should sound like. Now I was that person being studied and it’s a honor to see all these producers getting to know what inspired me to make this, just like how I did with others.
GB: Same thing with H&M that never truly got the kind of global recognition that it truly deserved either within the Moombahton scene or outside of it and once again other names were pushed to the forefront. How does one deal with that? What are the coping mechanisms for such unfairness or is that just part and parcel of this “Industry” that one has to learn to deal with?
MUNCHI: When I told Heartbreak about Moombahton, he invited me to Charlotte and wanted to learn everything. From all the people I hit up, I can count on 1 hand who got back at me and out of those he was the only person that was genuinely excited about it. That experience, being the very first of all those US trips to come, was life changing.
The thing is, we did all of this by ourselves. Who were we? He was a ex-rapper/Top 40 DJ in Charlotte and I was the definition of a fuckup/wannabe producer. We didn’t know shit about how to approach this and just went with each step. We used to say ‘let’s Lil Wayne the game’ haha!
It’s quite obvious that there is inequality though. Talent is not the biggest factor in the making of an artist. It’s who you know and who thinks you should be up there. You can either complain, or do something about it.
GB: Will there ever be another H&M. Do you both realize the potential in that as an International powerhouse that could even sell out places like Red Rocks in time to come?
MUNCHI: After a while there seemed to get bad blood in the whole thing – quite disappointing. Matter of fact I haven’t really spoken to him in years, but the H&M thing was good for both of us in the end. We both have very different goals and seeing him doing his thing over at OWSLA really puts a smile on my face. I know he was struggling for a while and finally got out of that situation, getting to a point where he could be starting to achieve his goals.
We never toured together, even though we were planning that out for a long ass time. It got postponed for different reasons, so I don’t know man, who knows?
GB: Your own label Selegna has finally birthed and has started to develop now with a clutch of releases recently, what are your future plans for it and where do you hope to find yourself with it, says 5 years down the line?
MUNCHI: I’m really excited about the work that is being delivered. It’s quite the honor to have them showing their most valued work. Shit that they would never even show people. These are really talented dudes and since I have been so outspoken, they know what to expect.
There are so many artists that are just being overlooked somehow and I just want them to have a spot that they can do their thing. No worries, without the bullshit.
It’s just a simple goal. Quality music, have it on point and skip the all the irrelevant shit. If the foundation is solid from the ground up, with transparency from the start, who knows what this thing will grow to!
GB: Your most recent release, the Rasterinha EP, is imho, your finest work since the Rotterdam Juke EP, it’s great to see you return to such inspiring form. Can you tell us a bit about it? You said you were listening to a lot of Lo Fi and Psychedelic stuff: -Please elaborate as I’m interested to know what kind of stuff you were listening to.
MUNCHI: After Reggeton took a turn to commercialization, I got interested in all these genres that were nothing like it. Sharing similar elements though, that ended up attracting me to them. These two genres were also part of that and it seemed like now was the appropriate time to involve them. This meaning my favorite tracks of these genres and their production methods.
Hearing Rasterinha gave a sense of familiarity too and excitement since it was Baile Funk on Reggeton’s BPM. I got obsessed with it. Now instead of being inspired and making a rhythm on a 108 Moombahton format, I could actually make Baile Funk on 96 BPM. Mind blowing.
Other than that, this was about a theme that I wanted to talk about for a long time. I had to leave out 2 tracks, one of them being my favorite of the EP. So it will definitely get a sequel.
GB: Inspiration for the tracks came from your lil’ notebook that you kept in ‘09/’10, your favorite poem and your favorite painting- can you elaborate on this:
MUNCHI: I kept a notebook during that time and I stopped when I decided to dedicate my time to making music:
‘As Ruivas’ had to be a sexy and seductive atmosphere without losing any confidence or self respect, with just a pinch of obsession to it. It’s a cheap shot to get something to sound slutty and unengaging but I tried to make the track as if the track were to seduce the listener. The theme it deals with, is a couple of redheads I used to know. I couldn’t have made this without the help of Frikitona though. She understood completely what I was going for by leaving all insecurities behind when she recorded those vocals.
‘Amargurado’ is about sorrow, bitterness and saudade. Jose Jose is saying ‘go and wander’, Luis Segura expressing his reasons of bitterness, until in the end where it gets stuck out of the overwhelming intensity of the feeling and one of my best friends mentions “It doesn’t matter, they have always been there for me”. Probably one of my favorite tracks I have ever made.
‘Insegurancas Dela‘ contains a sample that was the theme of this period. It’s about them letting go all of these lame insecurities and giving your all by trusting someone to the fullest.
‘Pika Na Boca’ is really over the top, with some trolling at the end of course. N0 fucks given, but without taking itself too serious. To quote Omulu though, since it’s fucking hilarious – “It’s a bit porn”. S/o to Pikachu, Magikarp and Koffing.
GB: I mean was the notebook like a journal of your experiences?
GB: What is your favorite Poem and Painting?
They are definitely among the favorites in general and were a big influence on the project:
(Poem) – ‘The Wanderer’ – Anonymous (Above)
(Painting) – ‘Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer’ – Caspar David Friedrich (Below)
GB: What actually does inspire you to make music most of the time. Is it a mood or when you hear something new that excites you, what is the trigger for your creativity?
MUNCHI: It’s like an urge. If I feel that I have to make it, I’ll do so. The time frame varies from minutes to years, which can be frustrating. It’s me sharing something I would love to hear out there or just because I need to let that out. You could see it as making little dedications and shout out’s to inspirations, as a thank you. I’m still finding it quite weird though that people actually listen to it, haha!
GB: You see other producers, some of your contemporaries, aligning themselves with big names and labels that have the infra-structure and the money that can help them manoeuvre to success with greater ease in this god-forsaken industry. Don’t you ever feel like doing the same and fully aligning yourself with a big shot instead of struggling with your own label and vision?
MUNCHI: Don’t get me wrong, I’m down to collaborate – as long as the priorities are always kept straight.
I haven’t really started yet though. So to answer this question would be too soon. ‘Struggling’ would not describe my label or vision either. I feel like ‘balanced’ would be more in tune, since I feel like this is the case for the very first time in years. To me it’s more important to have everything transparent, instead of a big-shot with bags of money and an infra-structure.
Overdone branding, PR tactics and just being too fucking thirsty – just chill the fuck out yo. I don’t want Selegna to be anything like that. I want Selegna to feel real and not calculated or artificial, keeping music on the first place.
GB: I mean I have no doubt that one day you will be up there with some of these big shots standing by their side and even rising above many of them (in terms of International exposure) but that is probably going to take some time with your own label. Don’t you sometimes just feel, “f**k this, show me the money” to make life easier?
MUNCHI : I’m not making a shitload of money, but I’m happy with the amount that I’m getting. Why does it always have to be more and more?
Also on some other shit, I’d like to experience day to day stuff, without being stared at or people getting weird. Also the weirdness of getting free stuff and the inequality when having some kind of status, while ignoring these racist door policies? Fuck that.
I just like to do what I enjoy most, on my own pace. It really doesn’t have to be complicated. Money is always problematic and it shouldn’t be the main focus.
GB: What are your plans for the immediate future in terms of releases and moving your label forward?
MUNCHI : So far we have had ‘Moombahton Is Dead’, ‘Alegria/Isa Te Dijo’, ‘Boom Bap Back’ and now ‘Vol. II: Rasterinha – Contos Do Caderninho Verde’.
I can’t wait to introduce the new projects!
GB: I always wanted to ask you, “why” you always take so long to release stuff. I mean you’re sitting on a ton of stuff, why not just get it out there. Same thing happened with your Moombahton EP for Mad Decent, I remember you talking to me about this back in 2010 but it didn’t actually get out there until late 2012, 2 years later.
Same thing with your Trap EP that came out months after the Trap explosion occured. But I first heard you speaking about the “Damn son, where do you find that” catchphrase and mentioning Trap months before anybody knew what Trap was. However, it seems you got your ass in gear and got the Rasterinha EP timing right tho’
MUNCHI : It shouldn’t be about being the fastest. It’s more important to understand the music and have it right. Releases have to make sense overall and having the right people involved takes time. Being extremely picky doesn’t help either. Combine that with all of the difficulties that were mentioned earlier on in the interview and you have got yourself a shitload of delay.
Actually ‘Moombahtonista’ was called off several times. I knew exactly how that EP needed to be and I think that they were not used to that. The EP cover was made by Brian Life, who created the exact detailed picture I described. Then you had Franklin El Medico, the one and only Reggeton engineer. Wayne & Wax did the writeup, knowing all about Reggeton and my music. The features of Angel Doze and DJ Blass (both in my Top 3 of favorite Reggeton artists and being huge inspirations of mine). Unfortunately the video ended up to be a terrible execution of the original concept. Still though, even though it was mad late – I GOT ANGEL DOZE ON THE MOTHERFUCKING TRACK + VIDEO!
GB: Do you have “trust issues” generally about the music industry?
MUNCHI: I wouldn’t label it “trust issues”. Being cautious, mindful and just interested would properly define it. It wouldn’t be a smart choice to be gullible in an industry which generally is built on profiting on an artist’s creativity.
GB: Do you ever feel isolated in the Netherlands from the scene as it seems it’s all happening in the USA for you?
MUNCHI: I’m good here. The USA is fun, but the place kinda weirds me out after a while. Being here gives me time to cool off and reflect on shit, instead of being in the middle of everything.
GB: You know the blog terrain is a bit of bitch to manoeuvre through as so many blogs are around all vying for the artists attention and wanting exclusives or wanting to be the first to post stuff (guilty as charged lol) and so you have to be very sensitive on how you approach this with your PR. How do you deal with this added and maybe unnecessary burden?
MUNCHI: Well, it’s their job. Most of the time, the bloggers are really passionate about what they post and they should be. Positive or negative, it’s a really valuable comment on the work of a musician. I understand the exclusivity argument and I have no problem with that. It’s awesome to nerd out with bloggers about music and since that is something I enjoy, it definitely wouldn’t classify as a burden.
Sometimes I like to surprise with my own EP’s though and I just put them out unannounced to keep shit fun!
GB: Here are some questions from my fellow GB team:
* What direction do you expect music to develop in the near future?
MUNCHI: I hoped for a Baile Funk comeback and guess what – Rasterinha. I’m hearing a lot of Bubbling references popping up again and I’m really happy to hear that Club music is making a comeback. The vibes of people like Mr. Carmack and Sango are really amazing too and what to think of the constantly growing movement of the genreless approach. Just mixing all these different styles together in one track. The last one is probably the one I’m betting on!
* Who are the current Artists that really grab your attention
MUNCHI: Well I really just have been listening to Angel Olsen. It was because of that Incubate event a couple of years ago that I got to know her music. That’s literally the only thing on my MP3 right now.
* Do you ever regret your decision NOT to sell your soul
MUNCHI: I’m pretty happy with keeping my soul Umb! Let’s keep it that way, haha! (But I didn’t ask that ahahahha I think Victor Evink did lol)
GB: How do you feel about a new genre called “Munchi”?
MUNCHI: Oh shit, that sounds like a challenge! I’ll get back on that later on! Dunno about the name though.
GB: How is your Mom? Give her our love 🙂
MUNCHI: You know, listening to that Jose Jose while cooking some awesome Dominican food haha! Definitely!
GB: Anything else you wish to add.
MUNCHI: Thanks everyone for listening to my music, feeling inspired by it to actually make something, commenting positively or negatively on the music and keeping up with it. For more than 1 1/2 year I slowed everything down, barely doing any gigs. Health is obviously a very important thing and I have been taking it for granted a very long time.
I hope you guys are going to digg the new works! It was a lot of fun making it, involving people who are very dear to me. I never want to have the feeling of getting used to or taking for granted having the opportunity of making music and playing it out. I hope to see you guys soon and remember, I do not care if you torrent, rip or download my music. Thanks for the support! <3
FOLLOW MUNCHI’S LABEL SELEGNA: