As they gear up to releasing their highly anticipated debut LP, ‘City of Gold’, Kmag checks in with the seemingly unstoppable duo known as The Prototypes to discuss everything from how it felt to hear Roni Size and Andy C dropping their beats for the first time on through to addressing rumours of a Prototypes relick of Bad Company’s ‘The Pulse’ that’s supposedly in the works!
First of all, flashback to your youth and tell us what made you want to make your own music in the first place?
Chris: Well it all started with wanting to play in bands when I was about 14. I used to play guitar or bass and sing a bit, then my teacher introduced me to Reason 1.0 when I was about 16 and that was it for me from then on. I had just gotten really into drum and bass at that point as well so the two went really well together.
Where were you brought up, and who and what influenced you, especially in terms of drum & bass?
Chris: I’ve lived in Brighton since I was 5 and my earliest inspirations musically were my brothers who were both in bands at the time; one’s a drummer the other a guitarist plus both my parents are classical musicians so from day dot i was immersed in a world of music really. When I found drum and bass though I knew I had found something that I got along with and was hooked on it ever since then. My biggest dnb inspirations (producer-wise) have to be Roni Size, Origin Unknown, Early Pendulum (like ‘Spiral’) Concord Dawn, Ed Rush & Optical, Raiden, Mampi Swift, there are many more but those are the artists that really stick out for me.
How did you hook up with Futurebound and the Viper family initially?
It was a bit crazy around that time, it was late 2010 and me and Nick had been in the studio and made a bunch of tunes together. We had been trying to get heard for a while, then all of a sudden we were talking to so many drum and bass / jungle legends that we had so much respect for it was hard to say no to people sometimes! That first batch of tunes we made (including some that have never been released) were getting rinsed by Andy C and Roni Size.
We had a brief encounter with Futurebound because we had recorded a vocal for one of the guys on the label. A month later we got a call from him asking, “What’s going on with ‘Evolution’?” We were like, “Not sure” and he said, “I would love to release it.” We said, ‘Sounds fucking great! Lets do it!’ and the rest is history.
Since that time you went on a massive tear with anthem after anthem on Infrared, Formation, Shogun, etc. … it’s hard to believe this has all taken place in the past four years! Have you guys had time to let it all sink in? What are some of the most memorable moments that stand out for you?
Man, looking back it has been crazy. There are so many moments and all of them are great because most were dreams we never thought were ever going to come true. Getting our tunes played for the first time by Roni Size was the main really good memory for us as he was the first massive name to really support our music.
I remember catching Andy C outside a nightclub in Brighton and we were going to give him a CD and he sees the name on it and says “I know you guys, you sent me these though on AIM; I’ve been playing them….” (our jaws drop to the floor) … “Yeah look, I’ve got a dub of them in my bag.” Then he went rummaging through his bag to find it and we we’re just like ‘No fucking way, how has that even just happened?’ It was an epic moment.
Another was chilling and playing loads of music to J Majik and Wickaman up at Wikka’s dads house. Then there was a meeting with Adam F and Fresh up in Adam’s studio and I remember them playing one of our tunes that has never been released and Fresh just turning his head round to look at us with a smile on his face and say, “Don’t bring that kind of filth in here.” That was a real power statement for us from the guy that made ‘The Nine’ – that still blows our mind to this day.
Of course signing with Shogun was a massive thing for us to do, Friction has massively supported us and got behind us early in our careers, whenever he was going to play a new tune out I would go up to the gigs with him and go a watch and record it on my phone, just watching any other DJ decide they’re going to play your tune is an amazing experience let alone when it’s Friction or Andy C, etc… More recently El Hornet saying ‘Pale Blue Dot’ was the ‘tune of the funking century’ was just sick and then Chase and Status and Teebee and Rob Swire’s response to us bootlegging LRAD was amazing. It felt great to get love from him on that one as really it could of gone either way and to get the stamp of approval ‘production wise’ from him is another massive thing for us.
We could go on and on … it’s obvious we love what we do.
2014 has you bringing it full circle and back to Viper – talk a bit about this decision and why Viper is a good place to call home for your forthcoming LP.
We knew our next label choice would make or break us. Since we signed to Viper we have just been swimming with the current and its just all about whatever we love writing musically, there’s nothing more to it and its great.
Speaking of which, you’ve just unleashed another single after Pale Blue Dot / Lights absolutely blew the lid off dancefloors worldwide. If we look at the two singles together, we can start to get a sense of how the album is shaping up. “Humanoid” is another spiraling floor-killer while “Don’t Let Me Go” brings on the summertime vibes. How do you guys see the tunes fitting in to the larger framework of the album?
“Pale Blue Dot,” “Humanoid” and “Lights” bring an insight to the electronic side to the album while “Don’t Let Me Go” is just the start of the more musical edge. We’ve done some different tempo stuff as well as big epic landscapes as well so hopefully it all fits together nicely!
The working title for the LP is ‘City of Gold’ – what’s the story and meaning behind it and how do you see it relating to the project as a whole?
We wanted to have a name for the album that we could play about with a bit. In terms of painting a picture the title has helped us on a few of the tracks, and also one more personal track on recent events in my life.
We can’t ignore the fact that there’s these wicked non-d&b remixes on this single as well – a ‘hard’ and a ‘piano’ version from Jade Blue and a ‘big top’ re-fix from you yourselves! Talk a bit about these remixes and genre-crossing in general. For those who may not know how to classify these remixes what sort of style are they?
Jade Blue has great feeling to her tracks and we really wanted a current deep house version of “Don’t Let me Go,” both remixes are included from her because we loved both of them!
What’s the “big top” reference to?
Our ‘Big Top’ mix……. its called big top because its just festival tent vibes to us, and we loved the energy of that particular mix.
Are there other vocal collaborations we should be expecting on the LP?
YES! top secret at the moment though 😉
The sound of each and every production you guys release is superb – give us one juicy exclusive piece of advice that can help all the budding bedroom producers out there to get that big, clean sound that your name has become synonymous with.
Good Monitors really make a big difference, it can be confusing buying a pair of monitors as there’s so many brands and models to choose from, we have Adam A7’s but will hopefully be upgrading soon! Get yourself a powerful computer! Its worth spending the extra and saving all the headaches of an under-performing, flow and creativity disturbing piece of crap! (PC or Mac, we’re on PC using Cubase 6.5 currently)
Production TIP: Frequency Ducking / Multi-Band Sidechaining, look it up!
I’ve noticed you guys have stepped into the promotion game again – you guys originally started out as promoters yeah? Talk a bit about your plans for “Prototypes Presents …” and how throwing parties now is different from back in the day.
Yeah, it’s great to be throwing nights again and it has been amazing seeing the night take off without that much of a push. We had our third Brighton show last month with ourselves, Culture Shock and Sub Zero, the Thames Boat party was an insane night with loads of great memories to take away from it, also seeing the Drum & Bass Arena review of it was really special. Next up ‘Prototypes Presents….” goes to Plymouth on the 17th October with the big dog Friction and ourselves, can’t wait!
You’ve also been kind enough to drop a fat mix on us – before we get into that, give us a sense of when the full LP is due and what else we should be looking out for.
It should be coming very early next year with one more single to drop from the album this year along with a few remixes, the first being ‘Flux Pavilion featuring Steve Aoki – Steve French’ which should be released soon. We’ve got another for Zomboy and we also have our fingers crossed that our Bootleg of LRAD will be seeing a release (still TBC on that one though), and a very special one for us to do which is ‘Bad Company – The Pulse’ – release date to be confirmed!