I linked up with the masterminds behind the PROPE electronic music project. We chat the origins and all about their first EP of 2018, entitled ‘Excite’. You’ve got to read this interview if you’re a fan of underground vibes!
1 – Is it true that you met each other in a recording studio?
Yes, Thierry had some demo to produce and mix. He asked for a quote at the Jet Studios in Brussels where he met Pierre who was recording/mixing engineer and producer there. At the time, Pierre was developing a solo project, and as the friendship grew quite fast, and the attitude and taste regarding music were common, it seemed obvious to start a project together.
2 – Whose idea was it to name this project as PROPE?
It was a shared idea, and like a lot of bands, it was a coincidence. We found a few other good names first but of course, there were already taken. We didn’t want to use our names, and then after a few beers, we came up with PROPE.
3 – Does the sound of PROPE is 100% Techno?
No, it’s more complex than that. Our influences are wide and PROPE is a mix of them. We like Acid, House, Techno, Electronica, Ambient, DnB… It means we are eclectic but also very selective. We are not bound to one particular genre. We love heavy sounds, pumping drums mixed with some epic and deep melodic lines. So, Techno is a big influence but not only.
4 – How was it possible to create a hypnotic beat on your latest track “Excite”?
The first version we made was the Deep Mix. We were lucky that Mark Radford from London Audio Rehab loved the track and started to play it on Rinse FM, at Ministry London, and in Ibiza last summer. We knew through the crowd’s reaction that it was working well. We worked the sound design and arrangements, to get this kind of trance effect on the track.
5 – I’m really enjoying the remixes. In your opinion, how much variety does this EP offer?
We have chosen the remixers with care, and we knew the producers we selected would provide a range of different vibes. Dusty Kid is a genius and is pretty rare in the scene, he came up with a totally new interpretation of the original track. The chords he added gives some kind of epic almost baroque atmosphere. With Matchy, we wanted to have the German touch without going into the cliche of the genre. The way he worked on the hi-hats is awesome. Seb Legrand is Brussels-based, he produces mainly Minimal Techno, he provided a hard version of the track, with minimal influences.
6 – Do you think the original mix carries a dark sound?
Yes, we like that kind of darky heavy trippy sounds and we are also a bit like that ourselves, something like a dark happy positivism. In most of our productions, you can feel this fusion; this dark sound merging with other feelings induced by melodies, pads, drones…
7 – What’s your visual interpretation of the EP artwork? Who designed it?
The EP artwork was made by Aline Bouvy, a visual artist based in Brussels. We have been collaborating with her since the beginning of PROPE, she also conceived our visual identity. She always comes up with unexpected images that have a singular feel, maybe because she isn’t a graphic designer nor involved in music as such. We guess that in the artwork for the Excite EP, there’s something that deals with the idea of open flow and ecstatic feel of wholeness that blurs the boundaries of the body and its surrounding space.
Good question! Probably the spirit. Today, we feel that sometimes, Techno orients itself and follows the codes of the mainstream industry, like a new EDM wave. Appearance is becoming slowly more important than the culture and the music.
On one side, the genre wants to keep some old-fashioned purist underground codes but at the same time, develops the genre almost with the same codes and attitudes as Pop. It’s a bit like ‘look people, I’m cool, important and famous ; I’m a Techno DJ, my life is fantastic, I’m a healthy yogi vegan but actually, I’m dark and underground you know’.
As we are working on our future live set, we use many MIDI controllers and synths. The MIDI offers many possibilities. About DJ MIDI controllers, some propose handy and nice features (as some digital turntables), that you could not handle with classical analog vinyl turntables and mixers. On the other hand, with DJ controllers, it’s generally digital EQ and effects, so the sound can be pretty crap. We are not into that digital vs analog war. Anyway, it’s always concessions in one way or the other, depending on what you want to do. And for us, overall, the point of DJing is to select and play nice music for the listeners, whatever the used technology.
10 – Finally, What’s your best advice for newcomer producers?
Do your thing but at the same time know the reality of the industry. Find your own style, get involved, be patient but keep persisting. Work hard to become hard to avoid.