Name: Luciano Valério aka MNTH
Occupation: musician/label owner/promoter
Current release: Iminente on Mais Um
Recommendations: Palliative Society: Today's Pain by Byung-Chul Han / the paintings by the plastic artist Lobot (BR).
If you enjoyed this interview with MNTH you can find him on Instagram and bandcamp
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started playing music around the age of 14. I had my first contact with a musical instrument during my adolescence when I was immersed in influences that came from punk and hardcore, reggae, rap.... I consider this phase as my introduction to music, not only for the sound and aesthetics that those influences brought at the time but also as an initiation into a creative process and expression. Punk gave me this pleasure of being able to reach different places and situations provided by this sense of limitation, young age and the feeling of belonging. These were the pillars that helped me build and think about my world according to what I had around me. It was the tool I had to achieve dreams and unusual situations. Often this path back can be seen as a formula, it can become a more winding path but it's only through it that I can guide myself.
My clearest musical memory, on the other hand, comes from much earlier. My first contact and passion for hearing was a cassette tape of the Jackson Five, a gift from my father. It was an intense phase that didn't last long until I discovered more extreme sounds like punk and metal and later the music from skateboard videos like pop, rap, etc....Skateboard videos are a huge part of my universe of discovery, influence and musical training.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
Since I was a child, I have always listened to music in the dark until I fall asleep. Even as extreme a particular song could be, it helped me relax and when I closed my eyes, it took me to a different place each time. It was a daily exercise of imagination and it allowed me to reach places I had never visited or scenarios I had never seen. It was a journey to a playful universe, created by me... there I saw how that music worked without ever having seen even a photo or images of those bands performing... I created them, I imagined myself in different positions within it, I could be the lead singer of a band or a drummer, depending on the greater interest in what I was listening to... some songs got me for the vocal melodies, others for a bass line, etc... it helped me get inside all of the different positions of a band.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I try to get to a place where I feel comfortable. This way isn't always easy...it's a formula but it doesn't always work like a cake recipe, for example. It can go very wrong....because of these risks I always end up looking for something beyond, trying new sounds, equipment, different connections between them...this has helped me to look for a unique voice. a voice that is recognized by me but that can transform without losing the way I thought at the beginning...
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I think my identity is very much tied to my comfort zone; a place that I feel free to create....This safe haven gives me a little more confidence, helps to improve my search without fear of taking risks in new ways. This trust is a sum of qualities transmuting into a creative unity within my artistic universe. If all this puts me in a place of emotion, a place that brings me sensations or questions, then that excites me. It shows me a sense of identity and individuality that we all carry to some degree.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
As critical as I am to the world around me, I try to be as light and transparent as possible and let something take me, but I don't want to try too hard to understand or absorb everything that's out there.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I'm not the most attuned person to the exact moment and am not the most interested in what is happening right now or what will happen in future... My references have always come from the past... Obviously new things come to me and amaze me and make me curious, but I always want to make a bridge between innovation and the root.