This was an interview with Joe Montaro (known publicly as broey) from Scranton, Pennsylvania (in the US), the town known famously from the American television sitcom “The Office.” He is currently 23 years old and consider himself to be unique. Here below was my interview with him.
W.: What makes you start your music career?
Joe Montaro: I’ve always had a passion for music and have a lineage of musicians in my family. I’m a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and have been playing music for about 13 years. I started messing around with garage band on mac when I was in my teens, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to get more serious about production. After listening to pop music and hip hop for so long, I grew tired of hearing the same chord progressions and themes within the music, so I decided to take my own path and do something that hasn’t been done yet. I try to remember that often times the best songs are the ones that haven’t been made yet… so why not make them? There’s something so powerful about creating in my mind. Creation is the work of the gods. So, in a sense, being an artist is similar to being a god.
W.: Are there singers/bands that influenced your music career, and how have they influenced you (in any way)?
Montaro: There are a lot of bands/artists that have influenced me. Kanye West is a major influence in my music. He helped show me that there are literally endless possibilities when it comes to making music. From sample flipping in his music, to being just downright outrageous with grabbing people’s attention, he showed me that the best way to make great art is with no barriers. The way that he is able to pull emotions out of people is what I admire most about his art. I try to mimic that for myself. I’m also influenced by Tame Impala and Kevin’s groovy and experimental sound. Tame Impala is another artist that taught me that when it comes to making great music, there’s literally no rules. Do whatever you want to do. That helps you develop your true style. There are many other artists that inspire me. Too many to name, but I am always listening to new music in order to find inspiration and new ways to expand my sound.
W.: What made you want to use that vinyl-type sound in your music?
Montaro: Man, there’s just something about vinyl that really gets me going. The initial drop of that needle onto the record gives me such pleasure. Those who have listened to vinyl know that it’s such a pleasant listening experience. Who knew that so much as a scratch from a needle could give such a raw and distinct tone? Some of the vinyl actually comes from vinyl samples, but I LOVE vinyl and think most music sounds better on it so I try to emulate that sound as best as I could. Also, fun fact, if you listen to my songs with a crossfade of a few seconds it sounds like you’re listening to a continuous vinyl record. I thought that was something cool I could do to kind of set myself apart from other artists. In the future I hope to release my work on vinyl and cassette because that’s what I was essentially raised on. It’s cool to see they haven’t gone out of style.
W.: What are some of the well-known vinyl tracks that you have sampled?
Montaro: You’ll be able to hear one on my track “Paradise”. It uses an Erik Satie sample, but with a twist. That’s my most popular track currently and it’s been featured on thebootlegboy’s YouTube mix “Raining in O S A K A”. It fits in very well with the setting for the mix. That’s really the only song I have published so far that uses a vinyl sample, but stay tuned there will be more. I have a playlist of song I intend to flip when I get the opportunity.
W.: Your music sounds very retro (in my own opinion) and jazzy (with the combination of hip-hop beats), and I really liked it! What made you want to produce music in this type?
Montaro: The type of music I produce is often referred to as “Lofi” or “Chillhop”. These genres are primarily jazz with hip hop beats like you stated. I’m a big fan of these types because I grew up listening to old school hip hop, which I feel is very prevalent within those genres in regard to the beat, and soul type music, which is where the rhythm parts come in. My guitar playing style in my opinion is soulful, bluesy, and jazzy and having an up-beat boom bap type of beat really is something that makes me groove. I don’t use vocals on my tracks because I want people to hear my music and go to a place that makes them feel just right, instead of hearing me tell them what is going on. It’s more fun to see what other people get out of it rather than me telling you what to get out of it. Words often get in the way. We should talk less and feel more.
W.: I saw you produced your first album, “A Walk in the Park.” Tell us about the album and the story that you want to express through this album.
Montaro: A Walk in the Park is essentially a concept piece. I’ve always had a great deal of admiration for artists who can conceptualize their work into something deeper than how it appears on the surface. When I first started producing this album, I wanted to accomplish just that: conceptualize and tell a story. Well, with a great circle of support and inspiration, this was my attempt at both. “A Walk in the Park” is an album that uses children’s book type illustrations along with synonymous track titles to help tell a story. It was super cool working with my friend Geori Vázquez, the artist who did the illustrations, to help bring this story to life. She really nailed what I was going for and I am super grateful for what she did. I encourage those who listen to create their own backstory and find a deeper meaning to the project other than what it appears to be! Art is a wonderful way to express ourselves and get a deeper understanding of each other. You can find the illustrations both on my Instagram and on my Bandcamp page (if you click on each individual track it will show you the piece for that track!)
W.: Tell us the process of producing your beats.
Montaro: My production process is really rather simple (to me at least). I always begin with a melody because that is what helps draw attention and catch the listener’s ear. Then I’ll either add a bass line then drum beat or vice versa to help figure out the groove. From there I just try to find complimentary sounds and melodies to help support the main melody. I have a general structure that I try to stick with, but of course when it comes down to it, it may not always be applicable. You have to be willing to break the rules and use everything at your disposal to make something truly unique and truly you. It’s never about equipment or lack thereof, it’s about the sounds you have and what you decide to do with them. I usually am able to hear one sound and know immediately where I want to go with it, but sometimes it’s not always that easy. Creatives often encounter roadblocks. My advice is to just keep pushing through because consistency is the only way to excel at anything in this life.
W.: Please tell us one of the favorite tracks you produced right now and why you liked it/why it was so special.
Montaro: I think “Reverie” is one of my favorite tracks that I’ve made so far. I remember during production having the melody and drum pattern on repeat for HOURS just admiring and vibing to it. I pictured this as being a song you’d listen to during the summer, cruising with the windows down or at your summer cookouts. I struggled with this track originally because I knew that it had potential and I wanted it to be perfect. It took me a few days to figure out how all the pieces would go, but once I heard the finished piece I didn’t even wait and immediately uploaded the two track EP “Daydreams, Vol. 1”. I couldn’t wait to share it because the sound was so dreamy and airy and took me to this place where everything was just right. I wanted everyone to experience that.
W.: What are your goals for the future?
Montaro: My goals for the future right now are a little all over the place. I am currently enrolling in graduate programs to receive an MSW and I hope to one day be a school social worker. Music for me at this moment is my outlet and something I enjoy doing for fun. It allows me to meet new people and have some awesome experiences too. With the right series of events I could see it being a full time job for me, but right now I want to make sure that I am able to provide for myself and a family down the line. So right now, I am taking steps that are beneficial towards both my music career as well as my professional career.
W.: Are there any final thoughts you want to share with our readers?
Montaro: My final thoughts are that I want to note how incredibly grateful I am for all the opportunities I’ve had so far in my life in regard to music and life in general. I think is very important for all of us to recognize what we have when others may not be as fortunate. I hope that one day I could give back as much as I’ve been given in this life.
I want to thank W. for allowing me this opportunity to be interviewed and I hope that you guys were able to learn a little more about me. Hopefully, you’ll be seeing and hearing more about me in the near future! Follow me on my socials and on your preferred streaming services so you can be notified when I release new music. Also, make sure if you like my songs to add them to your playlists! There are some exciting things in the works and I’m sure you guys won’t want to miss out! (:
Thank you for the kind words, and we thank Joe Montaro for responding to these questions and to accept this interview with us. Follow him on twitter: @broeybeats and on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/broeybeats/
Checkout his bandcamp page with all his music here: https://broey.bandcamp.com/
His music is also on Spotify. The music was absolutely a delight to listen to, and I have added a lot of his music to my playlist (shows how much I enjoyed listening to the music!).
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