“Universal” is the highly anticipated album from one of the most sophisticated Colombian artists in the electronic field. Producers Mauricio García (Latin Grammy award winner), Camilo Sánchez and visual artist Giancarlo Orsi want to show a new era in Monitor Collective’s career. Set to drop in August, this album was recorded between Los Angeles and Bogotá, and it reflects the artistic collective’s maturity and growth with a proposal that’s sure to light up dance floors all over the world.
“Maguaré,” the first single from “Universal,” is coming up on all digital platforms on April 26th. The track features an infectious electronic beat and a constant bass throughout the song, along with processed vocals. This first taste of the album highlights the collective’s intention to explore different textures and rhythms, connecting with the dancefloor and incorporating more electronic and global beats to appeal to a wider audience.
Tell us about how you came up with ‘Universal’ as a concept for the record
CS: Prior to starting the production of this record, we engaged in a conversation regarding the concept and audience expansion of our music. Our aim was to create music that would prompt people to dance to our tunes, while incorporating a more globally-oriented and pop sound. Furthermore, our inspiration for this album was drawn from nature and colors it possesses. We sought to embrace this overarching theme by blending a variety of textures, genres, electronic and Latin roots, as well as other elements, allowing us to delve deeper into the creative process.
MG: We had a curiosity about upbeat music since the beginning of the project, we finally found the opportunity to start experimenting with different genres and rhythms and that is probably the core of the concept, the possibility of mixing different types of upbeat music within a record.
What’s the song you think best represents the record and why
CS: We will soon release a song entitled “Chagra,” featuring an incredible special guest whose identity we cannot yet disclose. This song has enabled us to collaborate with more artists and embodies who we are in this new phase of the project, showcasing what we can achieve as a collective. The name “Chagra” carries a significant meaning as it refers to a space cultivated by indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon as a source of food.
MG: I think it’s Chagra, that song carries all the elements we talked about before starting the record, an upbeat instrumental with the crazy talent of a special guest and singer of one of the most iconic bands (which is a surprise), acoustic guitars, synths, samples, and a little spice of traditional southamerican music.
What kind of role does visual art play in your act?
GO: Since its inception, Monitor has always intended to explore the synergy between music and visual art, especially for live performances. Although there has always been a relationship between music and visual content, the evolution of technology in the last two decades has allowed this relationship to become increasingly important, complementary, and direct in live settings. This generates a special interaction on-site, allowing for the exploration of the stage, lighting, and visual elements to become an additional musical instrument on stage.
Inspired by projects like Coldcut, D-fuse, Amon Tobin, or the early rave scene of VHS vj’s, Giancarlo, who works on the project’s visual aspects, has developed a custom tool that allows him to create a visual universe blending animated content, code base live-generated visuals, and audio-reactive pieces that come to life on stage.
What are some musical influences in this record?
CS: I enjoy listening to new music every day, and I believe that my contribution to this new album could lie in the broad spectrum of sounds that are heard but not necessarily named. Nonetheless, names such as Chemical Brothers, Depeche Mode, and Massive Attack will always be an inspiration for me when creating sounds particularly.
MC: We are deeply into British upbeat electronic music such as Four Tet, Ross From Friends, Burial and Bonobo, but also inspired by guys like Kaytranada, Channel Tres, Nu, Caribou, Steffi, The Blaze.