Monty Hancock, better known as Miro, is composer, pianist, and producer out of the United Kingdom. His secondary project, Xeuphoria, was awarded for having the top track of 2018 by our friends over at EDM Reviewer for his remix of Porter Robinson's, "Language." This interview was conducted by Allax's Observatory.
Let's start off by asking what is the difference between a track from Xeuphoria and one from Miro? More broadly, what differs between the two personas and how do you keep them separated?
Miro and Xeuphoria are both actually still a bit of a complicated split for me, but it goes a little something like this: For those who don't know, 'Xeuphoria' was the first alias I made in 2012, and I decided to create 'Miro' in early 2015. Initially, my intention in moving alias was to discontinue Xeuphoria, however, one of my favourite pastimes is to improvise on the piano, so I figured - why not upload my improvisations to SoundCloud, and keep Xeuphoria? I still play and improvise on the piano, and as a result, Xeuphoria is still going strong with some lofi beats, some dubstep, ambient, a bit of everything really!
Your sound design is absolutely incredible and the vibe you want to conceive in a song is clear and immersive. I recall listening to 'Vision' and 'The Garden of Escapism' for the first time and awing at how unique the drop plucks sounded. What is the process that goes in the architecture of sound - because that's the only way I can describe it as - for your songs?
I try to stretch myself with each track, so for those examples you gave, 'Vision' was trying to use the electric piano chords as a 'drop'. Combining the electric piano with glitches and crushed sounds worked really well and so I just ran with the stripped down drop for that song. With 'The Garden of Escapism,' I probably thought through it a little bit too much! I wanted to metaphorically juxtapose the piano and ambience with the roughness of the neuro basses and crushed percussion. 'Escapism' was the first occasion where I felt I had grounded myself with a style for Miro. Miro songs I spend months on, but Xeuphoria tracks I tend not to spend more than one or two days on before I publish them.
You hail from the United Kingdom, one of the greatest hotspots of influential music acts. Examples among our contemporaries are Adele, Ed Sheeran, electronic legend Fatboy Slim, and your fellow chillstep musician Blackmill. How did growing up in the UK affect your musical path?
I can see anime characters on the majority of your SoundCloud tracks' covers. How much and in what ways does Japanese culture inspire you?
I'm so quiet about anime around my friends in real life as none of them really engage with anime, so I like to channel all of my weeaboo energy into my music on Xeuphoria! (laughs) There's a certain emotional flair to anime music which I feel western music doesn't always nail. In particular, soundtracks composed by Yuki Kajiura have really influenced me, for example, I did a version of one of her compositions from the anime 'Erased'. My obsession for anime has gotten a bit less than it was during my teenage years. I still do love watching it from time to time. Netflix has put up some incredible shows recently so props to them!
To this day, the 'Gardens' EP holds its ground as a stunning piece of melodic music. More recently, you effortlessly touched multiple musical worlds - from techno, to electro house, to much more cinematic approaches - in the sole three tracks out of 'Self' EP. Is it in your plans to release a full-length project either in a soundtrack or album?
Your project comes across as a pretty unique case of a musical act. You radiate passion for music of all kinds, coming as far as releasing a piano booklet, pursuing a major in Music at the Newcastle University, and taking part in a niche and passionate project - the New Dawn Collective. What are your plans to expand the reach of your music and growing your brand in the upcoming future?
As long as I personally have a DAW, and a MIDI piano, I'm going to be at my happiest. My plans to expand at the moment aren't anything grandiose - my main focus is making sure that once I graduate I can settle into a career that will keep me happy, and I'm keeping my music as a side project at the moment. There's a saying that goes, 'Do what you love and you won't have to work a day in your life', and I don't agree with that. I feel like there should be a separation between work and play, and music is my play time, I never want to sully that. In the event that Miro or Xeuphoria managed to take me to a place where I can just write and perform my music as a proper career - I'd take that option.
What's your opinion on the current state of the electronic music industry? Who would you recommend to check out among both the more established artists and the newcomers that could best align with your music?
You've been known to play piano at people's weddings so... Will you play at mine?
I've only done one wedding so far. The client gave me a list of pieces to learn and I just had to do the task of sitting down and learning some new repertoire but it was a fun experience! And of course I'll play at your wedding!
Thank you so much to Monty Hancock for taking the time to answer our questions! Please go and check out his social media pages to get all of the latest updates and music. Thank you as well to Alex for writing these fantastic questions! You can read more of his work by clicking the links in his writing credits below.
Alex Augusto Coccoluto
High 'n' Rich
Luane de Lima
DJ Natalia Moon