Cheap Monk

Málaga, Spain

Mares Sin Ley


Behind the Music

When making instrumental music, the main goal I try to accomplish is weaving a narrative and making a statement without any lyrics or words. It’s important to create a musical landscape that leads someone to an idea, person or specific story I want to tell. From there, the listener can do what they will. When it comes to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project, there’s an even bigger responsibility felt as an artist to communicate these stories about real people. I wanted my creations to share these people’s experiences in a way that gives them a voice and takes the audience along with them on their journey.

With prose, there is often one definitive interpretation. But with instrumental music there can be many interpretations and take-aways, given that each person might experience a song in different ways. This is one of the most powerful parts of instrumental music, to me. 

The combination of music and journalism in this way is such an innovative idea. I’ve never heard of a project like this and with such a reach. What Ian’s done is combine two mediums that achieve similar goals of storytelling through different means in order to elevate the overall message of his book to be even more evocative and reach a wider audience. Tying music and audio to these stories triggers people’s curiosity, compelling them to investigate more to better understand the world that has inspired what they’re listening to — a bridge between imagination and reality.

Cheap Monk
About Cheap Monk

Cheap Monk is the alias of Malaga's producer Miguel Martín. His catalog is an eclectic mix of genres and emotions, ranging from electronic to 90s hip-hop - some calmer and more meditative songs - and others on the happier and more rhythmic side. From compositions like “Annapurna,” which sits close to Downtempo, to his recent single “Mirador,” based on boom-bap and lo-fi hip-hop, Cheap Monk draws inspiration for his compositions from artists like Nujabes, Flying Lotus, Madlib, Porter Robinson and others. He started making electronic music at age 15, releasing music under different aliases, but it wasn't until September of 2018 that he decided to release music under the Cheap Monk alias and take it more seriously. 

Since his arrival to the scene, Cheap Monk already has some hits — “Tao” and “Saturno” being the ones that stand out, both independently released and surpassing 4 and 5 million streams each. His single “Alborada” was released under the French label, Hip Dozer, who have released projects by artists like Cookin Soul, Saib, Oatmello, Juan Rios, j'san and other main acts of the genre. He's also received support from blogs like Stereofox, Le Visiteur and Get Some Magazine. During the process he's collaborated internationally with artists like Mike Casey, Shibui Nigai and more.

He is the curator of the playlists Happy Beats & Groovy Vibes, and Transcend to serve as a discovery platform for up-and-coming artists as well as a listening experience for both new and seasoned listeners.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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