“We do music in the sense of beats, film scores, anything you would need music wise. We engineer, we mix, we record, all of that stuff,” introduces Mike Montes. Mike is ½ of a production duo called M.A.D. Smooth, the other half is Darryl Fernandez (@realizesuccess).
The recording aspect takes place in New Jersey, where Darryl lives, while the production takes place both in the southern and northern states along the east coast, highlighted in Tampa with Mike Montes.
Let’s take a flash into past as it all started in the teenage exploration stage of high school. One of Mike’s buddies Cory Bold was dabbling in producing. Cory would frequently fly out to LA often as he was signed to (T.U.G.) along with Marcus Houston. Mike refers to Marcus Houston’s remix of the song ‘Naked’ with Mike Jones radio play, stating this was an example of his young entrepreneur brother’s work. Watching his fellow friend’s progress Mike’s interest was piqued and his own career with music was inspired as he began to explore his own talent in this field.
Enjoying this part time hobby Mike took his producing to the next level as he entered into his early twenties in late ‘09. In 2013, M.A.D. Smooth was formed when Mike heard his business partner, which is one of his childhood best friend’s little brother’s production. Their bond simply clicked when they saw how their combined talents could accomplish soul pumping music.
Mike says personally he is aware most artists would say their ideal life would be making more music or spending all their time doing their passion. For him though, happiness would be spending more time with his family. His wife and his two children at home and traveling, seeing the world and experiencing new experiences with them as much as possible. His disposition in reflection of his family and friends shows due to his solid childhood, with his parents’ marriage intact and happily in love, with barely an argument in sight. Goes to show the impact of a strong family base on the powerful men of the future. Mike highlights his wife as a key role player of his M.A.D. Smooth team, educating on the vitality of her input and ideas. Mike’s happy family picture is heftily damaged by the loss of his father in 2010. This was an experience he would not wish upon anyone, and internal battle he is struggling with currently to this day. “I persevered though, because there’s only 2 ways you can get out of something like that, you can wallow out and succumb to the negativity, or persevere and try to make that person proud. I was down and out for at least a year. There were times it was really hard.” Mine admits to more failures while experiencing this painful transformation period but his view on failure are truly words of advice worth chewing over, he states, “Failure is actually something I look forward to. It’s part of the game. You need to try different experiences, like if you try something ten times and you fail nine of them, you found out 9 ways it didn’t work, you didn’t necessarily fail 9 times. Failure, I welcome, because it’s the only way you’re going to get better at whatever you’re doing”.
With so many different sound engineers and producers available in the market, Mike recommends M.A.D. Smooth, representing the incorporation of live sounds and samples into his production. “ I feel like if you have the opportunity to incorporate a live musician you might as well just to do it because it will bring out an extra element in your sound, and in the sense of sampling that really is my niche. Anything could get sampled. But not in the traditional Boom Bap, Loop type of way, I really get in there and dissect it, do a bunch of sounds so you can’t even tell it’s a sample some times.”
Mike also highlights a lot of orchestrated instruments into his mixes, like violins, choirs, bassoons, clarinets, and so much more. This can only be contributed to his previous dance with the saxophone and clarinet which he admits to having picked back up in his adulthood, finding the skills tremendously helpful. Mike eases out a producing recommendation, enforcing the importance of learning music theory.
One of M.A.D. Smooth productions he is most proud of was a jingle they created for a startup clothing company in NYC called “ Chula”, which was super unorthodox due to the client’s wish for a “unique vibe”. He emphasizes, “This really tested us to come outside of our comfort zone”. A favorite song he shares is a project he worked on with rising Virginia born, Tampa run rapper L-Quote “Toast Up” featuring singer Michael Joe Mae. “That record came together very nicely, mostly because of the backstory. I flipped this record almost 4 years ago and I was just trying to shop it around. Nobody was interested, I played it for Quote once and he loved it. After that the song came together quickly, it has a really nice vibe, we shot a video to it, it was just really dope! It’s just a really good, feel good, grown and sexy type vibe,” Mike recalls with zeal, hard work and accomplishment punctuating his every word. This was released January 2019 and can be found on YouTube via searching title and artist L-Quote.
Currently M.A.D. Smooth is working vigorously at flooding the market with music both in the United States, and in other countries, including overseas. “You gotta travel, go to as many cities as you can. Just network and meet as many creatives as you can,” Mike recommends, before reiterating the importance of social media presence in addition to physical experiences. A consistent way for artists to check out M.A.D Smooth’s continuous creativity and hear what’s new is instagram’s weekly Sample Sunday, where M.A.D. Smooth takes a vinyl record, due to a large collection, and mixes, as a sample of an example of what he can do. M.A.D. Smooth has samples from every Sunday since April 2018, consistency is key!
“Happiness is living as carefree as possible. It’s doing what you like to do in life without worrying too much about what others think, what others may feel, just whatever makes you happy. Don’t let the stresses of life affect you like that,” Mike adds with his own obviously carefree laugh.
Follow @madsmoothmusic to contact via email or DM for your next beats, stay tuned for Sunday posts, tastes of varying samples meant for your creative pallet to be wet. Come back for more, and get brilliant beats galore, keep your clients coming back to soar.
Written By: Writerreyes