Montoya, who grew up in Colombia and now resides in Italy, entered music as a classically trained violinist. He’s keen to stress his gratitude for this adolescent education, not only in how it exposed revealed whole new worlds of music, but permitted him travel places and sample different cultures from a young age, including playing at such renowned orchestra theaters as Gran Teatro de La Habana in Cuba and the Musikverein in Vienna. This classical upbringing naturally informed his inclusive, and methodically exacting, attitude to songwriting and production.
He eventually joined Fabrica, a “cultural subversion center” based in Treviso, Italy, which he explains as providing the creative framework for him to experiment with art, photography, film and design; evidently apprising the cinematic qualities of his music.
The pan-international musicality of his Montoya project is rooted in the musical diaspora of his native Colombia. This diaspora is vast; indigenous folk music hailing from Amazonian and Andean tribes; the cosmopolitan synthesis of modern reggaeton and traditional salsa taking place in Bogota and Medellin, and the Afro-Caribbean stylings of Cumbia and Champeta. Fusing the multi-layered precision of his classical education, his innate curiosity for Latin and “world” music, and affection for melodic electronica; his discography is at once ambitious and comfortingly familiar, as desirous of a catchy harmony as conceptual melding of Latin folk and modern electronics.
He himself described his attitude to songwriting as indebted to his love of cooking: “I love how certain chefs make combinations that make you think ‘are you crazy?’, I like to imagine myself as a chef who chooses his ingredients - in my case, indigenous voices, techno, and IDM - and try to combine them, creating a process that allows me to arrive at the final result represented by what comes out of this.”
So far, under the moniker Montoya, he’s produced the stirring 2015 album Iwa and 2016 Ep Lux, where you can detect him refining his cooking skills of the indigenous and the electronic. He’s also remixed the gifted Ecuadorian Nicola Cruz’s pleasantly plodding “Cumbia del Olvido”, adding another layer of melody with a soothing string arrangement. Moreover he’s played Sonar Bogota and Musicbox Lisbon, and various European venues, but his latest album Otun looks set to both break him properly on the continent, and produce his best work so far; a fiery and flavourful gourmet dish, with British expat producer Richard Blair providing refinement as a proverbial sous chef.