Vocalist, rhythm guitarist and founding member of the band 'Jonas Monteiro Collective', Jonas C. Monteiro is a well renowned DJ, Producer, Musician, Karaoke Host, Singer- Songwriter and Emcee from Goa. He started his career in the entertainment industry in August 2016, at the age of 23 and by now his magic spell is cast all over India and some parts of Asia too.
Jack of All Trades
I grew up listening to a variety of genres, and being from Goa I was exposed to good music since childhood. I still remember having a radio and cassette player. I used to play those cassettes every day and tune into the radio as well to listen to new music. Listening to these various genres since then, I have been able to learn which one compliments which. And this is the same habit I still follow while choosing songs for my sets, be it a Dj set or a live performance. When it comes to which genres specifically, I say I love all. Each one is beautiful in its own way but I play only those that I feel a connection to like Hip-Hop, R&B, Retro, Trap, House, Afro & Groove House, Funkin’ Groove and the likes of these.
So from start to end my sets are filled with tracks which have lyrics in them. So this is how I manage all the genres that I am known for playing. It also depends on what time I am playing the set. For the main set I start off with Hip-Hop and R&B and eventually move to Trap and Bass and end with Big Room. However, if I am playing a sundowner set I would incline more towards Deep and Tropical House. When playing the supporting set for International DJs I play Groove House, Afro House and Funkin’ Groove to get the mood going for the event.
Jonas Monteiro Collective
I always had a dream since my school days to have my own band and be the lead singer but being from an Indian family, studies was always given a higher priority. Finally in February, 2018 when I formed my first ever full rock band for a gig at Hard Rock Cafe, Bangalore, it came down to deciding what to name it. Everyone suggested calling it Jonas Monteiro Collective because towards the end of 2017 I had gained some popularity among the live music audience and it would be easier to promote the gigs with the name.
Puddles and Hurdles
This was always challenging, balancing between gigs and practice. As a band, each member has to contribute an equal amount of time to jam and perfect each song, especially the arrangements of and jamming of the originals as these are new and we haven't heard them before. And I was just getting into the peak of my career then, so I had gigs from Tuesday to Sunday. We somehow pulled through with late hours of practice. Band members who were free would jam even though others were busy. This was mainly the Jonas Monteiro Collective rock band. This took a toll on my health but I had to do it because I was growing. I had to push myself to my limit to make it.
When I just started I used to complain a lot and often think about giving up. But I am glad I didn't. That is the beauty of doing something that you love, you always somehow pull yourself together to fight the obstacles. Today, I am glad I stuck to both music and psychology, because along with music, psychology also helped me deal with all the stress and disappointments at the start of my career. It’s exactly been 3 and a half years that I have been in the music industry, not many know this, it’s not been long and I am seeing the benefits now. I have successfully done over 1000 + gigs. I lost count after 1000. I wouldn't change the career path I chose. It has made me more confident, stronger and built my self-esteem to a whole new level. I achieved things which people took sometimes even 10 years to.
Being independent, I learned the art of taking chances and just growing and learning from my past mistakes. Being independent fueled me to become an entrepreneur and today along with Artiste Domain, I run a record label called Domain Records with my friends and partners, Harsh and Sankarsh and I started my own food business in my hometown Goa where we make home cooked goan style pickles and masalas. I know the road ahead will not be easy and then challenges will come, like this pandemic for example, killing a lot of my career plans. But the plan is not give up and stay determined.
Music by Choice
I feel I was destined to do this. I have always had the urge to help others, bring a smile on a person's face and just selflessly give. Music and psychology has both helped me do this. There was also this dark phase in my life where I felt I was not good enough. I felt I did not fit in that cliched category of good looks and vibrant personality. What helped me get through this phase was music and psychology. I began reading about how music is used in psychology and how it can be therapeutic and implemented those techniques on myself. I can say that it successfully helped me and motivated me to pursue my Masters in Clinical Psychology. I was part of my school choir and acted in a few musicals and operas when I was doing my schooling in Goa. I wanted to one day perform for thousands of people and do the same just by myself. I was always fascinated by how a DJ could move a dance floor, make the people dance to his/ her tunes but I was always sceptical because I wanted to grow first as a live musician. One day I decided to try my hand at DJing just for the fun of it, and it turned out that it really gave me a kick and made me move. I was a guy who used to attend parties but never dance.
It’s tough to choose one, but if I have to, an indie pop genre is what I would produce the song in. I am currently working on a lot of projects and collaborations with other artists. The genres I am working on are multiple, a different genre with a different artist. But eventually, most of my independent releases will be falling towards the genre of indie pop. I am a fan of acoustic arrangements, so even if I do release songs with heavy production to please the masses, I will also release an acoustic arrangement of my tracks.
After about 4 years I am getting to spend quality time with my family, I have been exercising and writing music to keep me going. I have always been spiritual but I lost myself spiritually when I moved to Bangalore. Being back has helped me be much closer to God and my prayers are helping me get through these tough times. Starting La Festa, my food business with my family has been the most rewarding feeling. Working on growing the Record label, Domain Records has helped me connect and interact with a lot of like minded artists and it’s keeping me busy. I realised that the times have been tough on everybody, so to keep the spirit of my friends and everyone who follows me alive I started my Podcast called ‘Coffee Sessions with Jonas Monteiro’ on my Instagram.
I go live and interview a lot of professionals and ask them to share their journey in their respective fields and hopefully inspire and motivate the viewers. In another segment, I support novel entrepreneurs and small businesses by going live with them and helping them promote their services with my viewers. I have received a lot of positive feedback from this and it keeps me going. It will be a platform where we will be featuring stories of Goan artists, entrepreneurs, businesses, dancers etc. to give them a platform to share their story and career with the world. I have also offered to give free counseling sessions to any artist who may need it. I know these times are very tough for artists, and many of them do not have the mental capacity to get through this. I am trying my best to spread love and just go with the flow. That is the best one can do during this unexpected scenario.
Covid hit the industry really hard. I was to travel to L.A. in May for a gig and my company Artiste Domain had booked Hozho and Black Hertz, two big names in the international techno scene to play in India. Numerous gigs of mine and many other plans had to get cancelled. The pandemic has made it hard for me to work on music and delayed the release of my tracks because I had to start working to make ends meet. Also, I had to leave all my equipment in Bangalore and come back to Goa due to the growing cases.
What is helping me get through these times is my family, prayers and ofcourse music. After about 4 years I am getting to spend quality time with my family, I have been exercising and writing music to keep me going. I have always been spiritual but I lost myself spiritually when I moved to Bangalore. Being back has helped me be much closer to God and my prayers are helping me get through these tough times. Starting La Festa, my food business with my family has been the most rewarding feeling.
Working on growing the Record label, Domain Records has helped me connect and interact with a lot of like minded artists and it’s keeping me busy. I realised that the times have been tough on everybody, so to keep the spirit of my friends and everyone who follows me alive I started my Podcast called ‘Coffee Sessions with Jonas Monteiro’ on my Instagram. I go live and interview a lot of professionals and ask them to share their journey in their respective fields and hopefully inspire and motivate the viewers. In another segment, I support novel entrepreneurs and small businesses by going live with them and helping them promote their services with my viewers. I have received a lot of positive feedback from this and it keeps me going.
On the Anvil
A whole lot of music releases and a well grounded record label. These are my two main goals right now. Just hoping that my songs do make the charts one day. Of course not to forget La Festa. Hopefully that grows post the pandemic. The music which I will be releasing will hold a special place in my heart because the lyrics will talk about my life experiences with regards to love, friendship, my battle with mental health, my travel stories and family. Also hoping to grow the Coffee Sessions into a worldwide recognised podcast. I am hoping to connect and interact with more people around the world, especially from the industry, learn from them and even collaborate with them.
I believe everyone has a story worth being told and I would love to hear them and maybe get inspired by their stories to make music. Networking is something which is very crucial for any artist or person to grow. Going to work hard on expanding my networks and also improving my social media game. Also, filtering by keeping only positivity around me is my number one goal as of today. I have these dreams and goals but they can’t be achieved overnight. I need to have the right mindset, right support system and most importantly work harder than I did yesterday to achieve my goals and live out my dreams. With all this, I also hope to grow stronger mentally and spiritually.
I want to thank Melody Insider for having me for this interview. The questions really made me relieve some good moments from my career in my mind. I enjoyed doing this interview.