We had the chance to sit down this week and talk to Ben, Monstercat’s Head of Events, about his path in the industry and the Monstercat Compound, their free upcoming festival. Ben has been with the company for a while now, and it’s clear that he’s energized by his work and particularly excited for some major upcoming announcements from the Vancouver-based label.
Throughout our conversation, I was amazed by his drive to share all of the special things happening at Monstercat headquarters with the larger Vancouver community. It’s clear that all of this energy been funneled into their third annual Compound festival coming up on Saturday, August 24th. If you’re looking for some wisdom from a music industry veteran or you’re hoping for more information on what to expect from Compound, read on.
Could you tell me a little about yourself, what your background is, and what drew you to Monstercat?
Ben: I’ve been in the music industry for about 11 years, and I’ve been in Vancouver that entire time. I started my own events company at a university and did that for a couple years before I went off and worked with a few events companies around Vancouver for a few years. Eventually I was the events director for another company and I actually wanted to leave the music industry. At that time I was already friends with the guys at Monstercat; they came to my shows and I would go to their shows. And I was looking for something else besides the music industry, but Monstercat offered so many opportunities that I couldn’t say no. I could do music, but they also work with games, apparel, there are just so many different facets. Monstercat has really given me the chance to create something unique.
Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started in the music industry?
I’m still figuring it out as I go, to be honest. I’m still figuring out what I want to do when I grow up, or what I want to do in the industry. It is a grind, but just do it if you love it. I never thought it was a career path, but what ended up making it happen was passion. My plans were to be a robotics engineer and not talk to people or be social. I was brought to my first rave in 2007 and I just immediately fell in love. I was like, “how do I do more of this?” Within six months I was planning my own shows. I decided to just make the events that I wanted to go to. It really wasn’t ever a plan to go into the industry, I just found something I was passionate about.
What do you think is the driving force behind Monstercat?
We’re all nerds at heart, I guess. We’re stuck up here in Vancouver and separated from the music industry, so I guess it just happened that way. It was never really started with the intention of being a record label, it was just “how can we share this music”. No one really planned on being in the music industry, it’s just people who found their passion from a bunch of different backgrounds.
Compound, Monstercat’s annual free festival, is going on its third year. Is there anything that makes this festival, and especially this iteration, particularly special?
I think every year it’s evolving, because we’re evolving as a company and there’s just so much here. There’s so many different departments in the company between apparel, events, gaming, and everything else. I try to give every department a chance to showcase their work at Compound. The gaming department gets to bring all their partners into one place, the art department gets to display their own art beyond album covers. Going into its third year we’re trying to bring in other people too. This year Groundwork, a local techno collective, is curating the second stage. Monstercat was completely removed from the curation process. We’re also having an educational panel right before the event from 12-2 pm at Monstercat headquarters for anyone who’s interested in getting into the industry.
I’m glad you brought up the educational panel. Could you tell me a little more about that? What will be covered?
B: We’re trying to make it, like, the ABCs of the music industry. This is our first time doing it, so we’re expecting a lot of the people coming in to be figuring out what they want to do with the rest of our lives. The panel will be fairly representative of different paths in the industry. We have an artist, someone from a label called The District, someone from the school of recording. It will all be fairly introductory questions answered in turn. We’re hoping to expand it in future years. Some of the vendors on-site, such as Roland and Ableton, will also be providing educational services at their booth.
Aside from Compound, are there any other upcoming Monstercat events we should know about?
I’m really excited for our little Europe run that we’re doing. We have our Amsterdam show; it’s the largest European show we’ve booked so far and it’s also an incredible lineup. That show is coming on October 17th, followed by shows in London and Ghent on the 18th and 19th. We also have a few other big announcements in the works, but I can’t say anything else about those.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I just want everyone to come up to Vancouver and experience the city we love, soak in the creativity, and hang out with the Monstercat family. We just really want to see as many people as possible.
Are you coming to Compound? Will we see you at the educational panel? Let us know on social media!
Get all the latest Pacific Northwest nightlife news, directly to your inbox.