“When people come to see my show, its not just a dubstep show. It’s a Prototype show.”
We recently had the chance to talk with the talented dubstep producer, Protohype who opened for Excision’s Executioner tour this past week in Boston. Unlike his music would suggest, Protohype proved to be very friendly and down to earth, in addition to being extremely modest about his music and career. He revealed interesting stories about how he originally started producing hip hop beats, donated over 1000$ to the SPCA and where he finds his musical inspiration.
Read the interview below to discover more about this humble producer of “Dubhop” and what makes him a successful producer and DJ.
How did you begin producing?
• I started playing guitar at 12 with some friends, then got into drums. In 9th grade, my friends had a rap group and I learned to create beats for them on fl studio. 9 months later I was discovered and signed onto a local hip hop label in Nashville. When I was in college, I first listened to artists like Caspa and Rusko and found my love for dubstep, then Protohype was born. I then dropped out of Arizona state and moved to study at a music school in LA, where I mentored students and taught Ableton.
How did you find your style?
• I started with hip hop, and always loved hip hop. Everything I create has a hip hop influence. I love blending dubstep with hip hop, which led me to call it Dubhop; hip hop influenced dubstep.
What song are you most proud of?
• I’d have to say Fly. I made it a long time ago, originally as collab with CRNKN until he bailed on it. I then revisited song, got vocals and made music video which was featured on MTV and virgin airlines. I allowed me to be exposed to wider audience than just the dubstep world.
How do you feel about using vocals in your songs?
• I love vocals, if I could I would have them on every tune. Most of my tunes are melodic and fit well with vocals, they make a song more memorable.
What genre would you label your music?
• Dubhop when I first started, now it depends on tunes. I am leaning more towards pure dubstep. When people come to my show, its not just a dub step show, its a prototype show.
How’s touring with Excision?
•Pretty low key, Excision is a production genius. He’s an introvert at heart, but extroverted when he performs. His brand is everything….in terms of visuals, auditory experience and of course that bass.
What music do you listen to on your own time?
• When driving I usually listen to oldies or something very different because it refreshes your ears. When you get back to studio, it’s nice to have a new fresh perspective on music.
What is the #puppycrew?
• I have always loved animals and one day I started a tweet where every retweet it got I promised to donate a dollar to ASPCA which is an animal shelter. When I woke up the next morning, I found out that Bassnectar had retweeted it and it had gotten like 1000 retweets. Definitely a lot more than I anticipated, but I ended it and gave over 1000$ to ASPCA. I found out that 12$ saves about 5 animals, so I saved an animal a day for a whole year which felt like a great thing to do. I am currently working on making a non profit organization of my own.
Why do you represent the west coast? (Even though you’re not from there.)
•Because thats where everyone thinks I’m from. I was born and raised in Nashville and left at 18. When people here that they are like; “but you don’t look like a redneck!” I’ve been in cali for about 4.5 yrs, and the southern boy in me has pretty much disappeared. Still comes out when I get angry though.
Whats hardest part of being on tour?
• This is my third bus tour. There are several stages to a bus tour, in beginning its getting to know the squad. Then two weeks in everything gets dialed in, and a month in people start to get a little edgy because you know how long you have left. 11 shows in, I asked my manager how many shows we had done, expecting like 25. You lose track of time and live in a coffin. Staying focused and continuing to work on music is crucial. I make a promise to myself to keep making music every night of the tour. I also have to miss Ultra this year which sucks.
Do you prefer producing or performing in general?
• I love producing, depends on how good song comes out though. When everything comes fast and easy, they are fun and inspiring moments. But when there is an amazing crowd, it feels amazing as well. I never really wanted to be a DJ, I always just loved creating music, and then it became a thing where I had to learn how to DJ.
Do you change your sets at every concert?
I work hard on keeping my sets fresh . It’s tough to switch is up completely because I play mostly my own stuff. I spend like 3 hrs every day finding new songs to add into the set. The first 40mins are pretty pre planned though.
What made you ditch Ableton for DJing?
• I used to use Ableton then it got boring. I started using CDJ then eventually added 3 more. I also felt stupid opening up a computer and plugging it in, just doesn’t feel right. I’d rather come on stage with a couple USBs and headphones in hand and start DJing.
When did you first use CDJs?
• First on the Minnesota tour. I also used them at 12th planets place, and I collab with Datsik a lot. Datsik’s a good friend of mine, he lives a couple blocks away. Love that dude!
What are your goals for the next year?
I want to do something unique, production-wise that I can afford while being super original. I also want to continue keep going up, even at a snail pace.
Do you ever plan to headline your own tour?
I dream about headlining a tour all the time but i’m not ready or big enough yet, and still need to save up. When i tour, I want to do it right. I want people to be like “protohype’s first tour was fucking dope!”
Who are some people who have influenced your career?
• Paper Diamond was the first guy to really support me. He’s also one of my best friends. He’s been a big inspiration to me since day one, both music and business wise. Datsik is also another homie, and my first big release was on Rottun (Excision’s label).
What major festival to you hope to play at?
• Tomorrow World, although I don’t see that ever happening but it would be dope!I played at Electric Forest last year which was awesome.
What’s your favorite synth/plugin?
• Massive and Serum
What inspired the song Downfall?
• I wanted to make something different. I spent a lot of time with the UFK guys and Trolley Snatcha. I spent a random day screwing around and it came out really cool. I enjoyed trying a new side of production. I also made a couple other ones and they weren’t as good.
What is your spirit animal?
• A Penguin. I love penguins. I’ve always loved penguins.
What is a dubtep?
• I don’t know, sounds like a dance or more of a head bob maybe?
What is a Malaysian Safari?
• I think of some Zoolander shit.