Afro Monk Perpetuates The Local Scene With Record Label Exposing Up-and-Coming Talents

Musicians are undoubtedly influenced by the music they listen to. An artist's musical selections can sometimes even foretell what a next album might sound like. So if you've ever wondered what the artists who grace your stereo are getting funky to, here's your chance to find out. Every week, I'll ask traveling musicians -- as well as a few locals -- the fated question: What are you listening to right now?

afromonk.jpg
An artistic representation of Afro Monk for his web site's logo. This is not a photograph. People aren't this adorable.
John Michael Del Valle, also known as Afro Monk, moved his grooves from home base of Miami to Dallas just one year ago, and with the move came tons of opportunities. Lately, Del Valle has been booking friends and idols in the glitch/dubstep community to play shows in Dallas, while moving away from DJing to producing and living the dream with performances at Colorado's Sonic Bloom festival, San Francisco's Emissions Festival 2011 and a scheduled set at Austin's Art Outside in October.

Needless to say, Afro Monk and his acclaimed afro 'do have been taking the electro scene by storm. So it's no surprise that Del Valle's latest endeavor is geared toward helping up-and-coming artists whose rises and ambitions resemble his own.

I mean, he's got the national recognition to run a successful record label, so why not?

Before that all gets fully started, though, we asked him straight up: Who've you been jamming out to? And who might we hear on his label?

Currently jamming: Slidecamp's self-titled release

"I've been completely floored by the production quality of this release. I've been a long time fan of both Boreta and Comma so it's great to hear such a beautiful piece of music put together. It's very relaxing, organic and melodic, with a concentration in IDM (intelligent dance music) and glitch. It's in my stereo because it's the perfect music to listen to while at work. This album is extremely influential to me already on the first couple of listens. It's already left such a mark on me because a lot of electronic music right now is very dance floor heavy. This masterpiece goes against the norms right now. It bleeds emotion and serenity. It gives me faith that there are producers still out there who are willing to express themselves in more experimental sound."

Inspired by: getting to know other artists in his national network of awesome

"The biggest influences on me musically right now have to be Of Porcelain, Shigeto, NastyNasty, J Dilla, Gladkill, and +verb. The way they express themselves in the music speaks volumes to me. Every song by any of them has such a raw vibe to them versus the aggressive, hard-hitting and party music that has flooded the market and clubs. The next biggest influence in my production is the community of artist I've become part of. The collective of artist I follow have become more of a family to me. All the music I play is influenced by people I know and communicate with on the regular."

Where the two roads meet: the soon-to-be Afro Monk Records label

"I decided to start a record label because I see so many artists who need an outlet for their music. There are a lot of labels for those who produce club dance music but not so much for those who are experimenting and have less of a party theme. The first few releases on Afro Monk Records will consist of local Texas producers and will eventually evolve into something different. The goal is to give these artists somewhere to start and begin their career. Once the first releases are out, I'll be moving to more of an experimental catalogue where musicians can find a home for their wonky downtempo IDM work."
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