'Surreal': Montell2099 on making history as first Kiwi DJ to perform at Tomorrowland

Right Here Right Now 19/07/2022

By Fiona Connor
Montell2099 has staked his claim as the first New Zealand music artist to play Tomorrowland. 

The DJ jumped on the Crystal Garden stage at the iconic festie - and by the looks of the absolute scenes in the footage above, the massive crowd couldn't get enough of our homegrown talent. 

Yarning to George FM ahead of his set, he said: "It doesn't feel real. I think it's going to take a few more days for it to settle in that we came here and did our thing, but it's an amazing thing to be here. It's pretty surreal.

"Tomorrowland is just one of those things. At times, it hasn't ever felt feasible that you can come all the way from New Zealand and get to play at a world-renowned festival like Tomorrowland.

For me personally, it's the pinnacle of my career so far.

No genre was safe during Montell's set as he swung effortlessly between drum and bass, trap and house. 

He was selected by Netsky to play on the waterfront stage along with the likes of Siren, Sub Focus, What So Not, Koven, Bou and Flava D.

He jumped up again later in the night to perform 'Mixed Emotions' during Netsky’s slot to an overwhelming response from the hyped-up audience. 

On being included in this year's event, he said the hard work has become a lifestyle driven by wanting to create music people love. 

Montell said: "There's no plan B. You've got to put your all into it and hope that people believe in your stuff just as much as you do, and they want to support you too.

"It all starts within yourself, you have to push yourself and hopefully, others catch on and believe in it too."

Looking ahead, Montell revealed he's putting together his biggest tour yet for New Zealand audiences later in the year. 

"We're putting so much effort and energy into that, so that'll be huge," he said. 

As well as perfecting the production, he's working on a series of new tracks featuring collaborations he's fizzing to announce. 

"I'm really proud of where it's all at, looking at the list and seeing who is on there still blows my mind. I never thought in a million years I'd get to make music with these artists, I'm honoured." 

The drum and bass scene continues to explode across the country, with some of our biggest local events nabbing huge headliners. 

Montell says it's incredible to see the culture around the genre growing. 

He said: "Drum and bass has kind of become mainstream in New Zealand, people live and breathe it, which is great."