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Interview and Photos by: Sean Thomson
Cookie Monsta is one of the key artists that helped push dubstep from the UK underground to the festival masses in America. Himself along with his good friends at Circus Records have provided the scene with some of the heaviest and most prolific dance music tracks to date. This winter, Cookie has kept himself busy by joining Excision on his 2017 Paradox tour. With support from other notable bass music DJs Barely Alive and Dion Timmer, this prolific team has proven to be an unstoppable force. I was fortunate to catch up with Cookie Monsta while the tour made its stop at the McDonald Theatre in Eugene. He speaks about his history, influence and creative process.
First off, how did you come up with the name Cookie Monsta?
[Laughs] It’s never a fun story. It’s actually quite boring. My last name is Cook. So, when I was in college for music, I would save my music files in a folder called Cookie Monsta and it just kind of evolved and took off from there.
Have you ever received any testy emails from the Sesame Street legal team?
No not yet. I think I’m in the clear because instead of spelling “Cookie Monster” I spelled it like a dumbass with an A at the end. So thank God for being a dumbass I guess…?
Are you supporting every show on the Paradox tour?
Yep. I’m on the entire tour until the end of forever. I believe there is like 14 years left of this tour or something [Laughs]. But so far everything is going really well. So many sold out shows that they’ve had to add extra dates. Like in LA at the Palladium we’re doing 3 sold out nights in a row.
How did growing up in the UK influence your style and sound as an artist?
I was always interested in music. Always had a passion for it. Luckily in Europe we have an amazing underground scene. It’s cool because I feel like anyone can access it and listen to it anywhere. Even on the radio in the UK you would hear Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Grime or anything else you wouldn’t normally hear. Being exposed to it frequently at a young age helped me develop a passion to want to pursue music as a career.
When did you first come to America for music and what differences did you notice in the scene here?
I first came to America about 7 or 8 years ago. It was strange at first because I was so used to the underground type scene in Europe. Whereas the dance music scene in America is all about festivals. Playing shows in the US everyone is always wearing Kandi and furry boots and stuff. Which is a bit different from what I was used to.
What are some of your favorite spots/festivals to play in America?
My favorite is always EDC. It’s so sick because it’s one of the biggest festivals that all DJs play at. When I first started DJing I was playing for about 30 people in a tiny ass venue, then years later I’m playing in Vegas for a sea of thousands of people. The first time I played EDC was in 2012, and I was on a tour bus with Flux Pavilion. Everyone on the bus was pretty tired and hung-over but luckily the adrenaline on stage kind of wiped that feeling so I didn’t think about it. That show was such a surreal and cool experience.
Tell me about your relationship with Flux and the Circus records team.
It all started when I was putting out mixes on the dubstep forum. At the time I didn’t really care about releases or labels. By the time I had established myself on the forum, Flux and Doctor P had begun to establish Circus Records. I somehow got talking to Flux and P, and we started passing music to each other. I finally met Flux for the first time years ago at a small venue in Preston, England. He spoke really well to me about his idea of the label. I liked the idea because we were all the same age and we were all making similar music. So, we decided why not just release it together. As the label grew we established ourselves and sort of became the great four with me Flux, Doctor P and Funtcase.
With each release, your tracks cross so many different dance music subgenres. What sounds do you prefer to make and what does the process look like?
I just love any sort of bass music, and I really love making bass music. A lot more on the dubstep side. If I make something at like 130 bpm I don’t really care. I just do it. If it sounds good then it will get a release. But yeah majority of the time I just get in the studio and make whatever sounds cool in the moment.
New music coming soon? What’s in store for the rest of the year?
I’m always just making new tunes. I’ve got a few 90% tracks that are almost done. Nothing confirmed yet. I suck at making music while on tour. Hopefully with a few days off in LA I can get some studio time and finish this new stuff. As far as working with others, there are always folders of collabs that will never go anywhere. Just because they’re ideas that kind of don’t work or aren’t very good or someone else just takes forever. Like Funtcase for example is the longest guy in the whole wide world to do any work with [Laughs}. There are quite a few but I don’t really like to say just incase they don’t get realized. Don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.