There’s been a strong feeling of rejuvenation and refreshed attitude at Circus this year. Sonically, energetically, philosophically; the team, the ever-growing range of artists and everyone involved seems to have worked hard to develop their already strong signature this year. And the message has been transmitted from the top down as Flux Pavilion and Doctor P continue to forge ahead unblinkered, giving absolute zero fucks.
Cookie Monsta clocks a cool zilch in that department too. This has been obvious since his 2010 debut Ginger Pubes and remains clear ever since. Key examples of this in recent times were 2015’s Darkside 666 D&B track (and complementary Halloween rick roll) and this year’s Wobble EP… A release that positioned the Nottingham artist at the very forefront of a movement to bring back that rougher, distorted 140 vibe many of us fell in love with in the mid to late 2000s.
Listen to tracks like Death Wobl, Soundboy and his brilliantly swear-tastic remix of Modestep & Funtcase’s Damien for the fullest, most furious retro flexback tracks that paved the way for the likes of Bare Noize to return and Myro to establish his equally heritage-heavy sound.
But let’s not get too dewy eyed and nostalgic. Cookie is still very much tuned into the future… Tracks like Ruff and High As Hell kick with a fresh funk while his recent Beast Mode and Eliminate Target fire with all the cinematic drama and pit-speering dynamics we know and love him for.
We caught up with Cookie fresh from one of his many US tours. Currently spending 95% of his time in America, it’s a rare moment of downtime for Circus’s most forthright characters…
2016 According To Cookie Monsta
“2016 has been mental. I don’t think I’ve stopped mixing the studio and travel time but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Especially because it’s the year a lot of us have gone back to the original mindset that really inspired us in the first place: that original feeling when we first heard dubstep and went ‘shiiiiit this is fucking amazing!’
2015 was actually the year that change happened for me. Towards the end of the year I started to think ‘Why am I feeling scared to make some fun, tongue-in-cheek wobbly stuff? Fuck this! I’m doing to do it.’ I got to work and obviously the Wobble EP was the result. The whole EP was my fastest ever EP to make. It all felt so natural and the reception to it was fucking amazing.
I know a lot of people have been talking about dubstep speeding up, which it definitely has – my set is all around 150 now. You can’t help it. Everyone’s been pushing it. It started at 140, as we all know. Then suddenly it crept up to 145. Before you know it, it’s 148 then bang – everyone’s banging away at 150. I’ve heard people start talking about 160 now. Erhghghg!!! Will I get involved in the race? I don’t know – if it sounds good and natural at that speed then I’d try it. But for now I’d like to stay around 145/150 because that feels natural.
I could bring the more wobbly tracks on my Wobble EP down a bit in tempo because it was referencing that era. But I have to say it wasn’t exactly what I would have made back in the day – it was a throwback to the mindset. The fun of it. The happiness. It’s going back to not giving a fuck. When I used to make tunes years ago it would ‘don’t give a toss, go in the studio, make a banger, send it out’. Now I spend weeks or months and not finishing it. I need to keep working on not being that type of guy.
Actually Beast Mode is an example of how long it can take for me to finish a tune sometimes… It was two years in the making! Total nightmare – it’s changed so many times. But that time does pay off. When I play it out live everyone is cheering and shouting like mad… That intro blasting in your face with a big fuck off drone? It makes people scream, go WTF?! and mosh the shit out of the place.
Of course the mosh hasn’t gone anywhere in 2016 – I have never seen any moshpit that’s malicious, out to cause harm and have any negativity. Every young kid has got anger and stress. It’s a fun way to jump around, dick around and have fun with mates and people on the same level as you. I still remember seeing my fist ever dubstep moshpit way back in 2010. Dropping Ginger Pubes in Belgium for the first time and somehow they’d organised their own wall of death. It was before the time DJs got on the mic, I had no MC or any shit like that. I just thought ‘shit! This is great!’
Talent-wise I think 2016 has been a really strong year for dubstep too. Phiso has absolutely smashed it this year. What he did was an accident but it’s fucking amazing one. He’s so young, too – he’s got such a strong future ahead of him I’m jealous.
Ponicz has been smashing it too. He’s been making those club bangers that you can’t put your finger on… They’re not out-and-out dancefloor smashers, they’ve got something else to them. They’re heavy, I love playing them but they’re darker and more sinister. Doctor P is playing them, too, which is amazing. He usually plays more of a vocal tip but when he plays a Ponicz tune it’s like ‘go on lad, get in.’
So yeah that’s the year really… Let’s hope 2017 brings more of the same on an even bigger level. Personally I’ve got a few ideas locked on the Dropbox – we’ll see where I take them….”