Jaden Monto, who goes by Monto, is a 20 year old music artist living in Las Vegas. In the closing half of 2021, he put out singles BAD APPLES and soon after DREAMS to finish the year off strong after taking a 9 month hiatus. The pair of singles beautifully combine pop and rock with Monto’s killer and catchy vocals. Now, we talk to Monto about his past, 2021, and what to look forward to in 2022.

Teddy: Who is Monto? Describe yourself to the people that don’t know you.

Monto: I'm an artist, a music producer, songwriter, manager, photographer, video editor. Um, what else? Graphic designer, animator, I kind of do it all. I'm from Washington originally, but I moved to Las Vegas when I was 15. I started working as an audio engineer at my church in 2017 and then from there I found my passion for producing music and have just been creating stuff.

Teddy: Audio engineering at your church, what did that entail?

Monto: I did live mixing, as well as set up and tear down. We were coiling XLRs, plugging indirect boxes, and we’d have a live band that would come by every Sunday and Wednesday that’d we would mix for. That's where I got my start with EQ, compression and basically all of the essentials when it comes to mixing.

Teddy: Did you want to make music before this job? Or is this what started it?

Monto: I actually had zero interest in music prior to this. I listened to a couple songs at the time, but, um, I didn't even listen to music for fun. It was really starting there that got me into it. My family has always been very musical. but not myself personally. It was really from working there that I'd found my passion and a little bit of skill. I started to realize like, oh, I'm kinda good at this, you know? And then I just took it from there.

Teddy: Once you started to get into music, what did you listen to? What inspired you?

Monto: So I actually hated it when I moved here and I hated it for a long time. When I was going through a lot and kind of just felt almost against the world, I listened to a lot of Joji and Jon Bellion. Those were the first two artists that I would actually listen to regularly. I guess in middle school, I did a little bit of monster cat and EDM, and I got into Minecraft videos back in the day. But yeah, it was really listening to Jon Bellion and Joji. I really liked how they just kind of pushed boundaries of what normal music is, you know what I mean? Both of them kind of had their own styles and lanes and didn't really care about modern trends. They just did what they thought was sick. I thought it was cool to listen to music that I felt like I haven't heard before. I didn't know music could be as creative as these guys made it. I remember I would just throw on Joji’s Chloe Burbank on YouTube, and I would just listen to that as I'd eat lunch.

Teddy: What pushed you to go from just being a casual listener to producing and creating your own music?

Monto: Um, I think I was going to go get a long board for my birthday and I had the money for it but I just didn't end up doing it. So I had like a hundred bucks just kind of sitting around and one day, sporadically, I was like, well, I like the mixing I do at my job, maybe I should just go get like one of those small MIDI keyboards. I had a couple of moments in my life where it's like, I downloaded FL Studio and I didn't know what to do, so I just deleted it, you know? But I finally decided to just go out and get a MIDI. I brought it home and I made just a couple of low-fi beats and stuff. At that point, I liked doing music, but it was just kind of a hobby for me. Just something I would do, like once a week, whatever. It was super, super casual, um, really chill. I wasn't very confident. I had never really done much singing or anything like that. It was when I found Aries actually in 2018, I want to say it was February. And it just rocked my world. I had never heard music that was such a great blend of being experimental and catchy. In my brain, I was like, I've never heard music like this, and yet it is just as catchy as something you would hear on the radio. That to me was just like addicting. It was literally like the day that I found Aries’ music through CAROUSEL on SoundCloud, that I realized right then and there that I wanted to do this as my living.

And from that moment on, I've just taken it seriously. The entire time.

Teddy: How would you describe your music to someone that has never listened?

Monto: Right now I would say it's a blend between modern sounds. I would say that there's kind of something in it for everyone. Primarily it's pop, but there's definitely some indie influence, some rock influence, and definitely hip hop in my vocal cadence and just the way I go about the rhythms of my music. It's just kind of meant as a platform to tie a bunch of different sounds together. That's really how I look at it.

Teddy: Which song would you recommend to someone that has never listened?

Monto: I think the song that's most accurate to who I am is BAD APPLES. It's not the most popular song on my discography, but I just feel like it's something that really hit the mark of who I am and who I want to be. The message of the song was just something that was really important to me when I was writing it. It's a song that took me a long time to create, and I'm extremely proud of what I was able to say on it.

Teddy: As we close out the year, you obviously had a pretty successful 2021. I know you took a break through the beginning of the year but you finished strong with BAD APPLES and DREAMS. So, looking forward to the next year, what should we be on the lookout for?

Monto: Lots and lots of music. I really took my sweet time in 2021 to figure out who I wanted to be, and I feel like within the last couple of months, I've really figured out who that is and where I'm going. So I just want to tell everybody that I'm here.