As we start rolling through 2018, already we are being flooded with fresh music from across the genre. One particular EP that has stood out from the rest is the latest from DJ Trace’s DSCI4 imprint – PRTCL’s ‘Your City’ EP.
The 6 track release takes us on a journey through the deeper, more technical side of drum & bass. Featuring 4 solo tracks and 2 collabs, one with Survey and the other with Fuj, this EP is overflowing with crisp and hard hitting production which is a hallmark of everything PRTCL puts his name too. There’s no easy introductions here, from the off we’re straight in at the deep end with no life jacket. Take a breath, you’re gonna need it!
Seeing as ‘Your City’ dropped yesterday at all the usual outlets, we couldn’t think of a better time to catch up with PRTCL. We sat down to get a bit more insight into these tracks he has made for this stellar EP, chat about his influences and see what else he’s got planned for 2018.
Easy! Thanks for taking some time to speak to us today. For those reading who may be unfamiliar to your alias PRTCL, could you give us a bit of background on who you are and what you’re about?
Hi everyone, my name’s Joe London, from London and currently living in Berlin. I’ve been making music for almost 10 years now and playing out for around 5. I have released on Flexout Audio and was even label manager for a bit. I have just released a 6 track EP of deep rolling drum and bass on Trace’s DSCI4 label. I have also worked in studios for the past 6 or 7 years, recording bands and music for videos. Recording and production is my thing, I just love getting involved in the art of making music, it’s what drives me.
Taking things right back, where did your passion for the drum & bass genre originally stem from and who are your idols?
My first encounter with drum and bass was at a Playaz night at Fabric in 2006, I started getting into clubs and club music around the time, going to Turnmills which used to be next to Fabric, but drum and bass was the thing that really caught my attention in the club word. The person who inspired me the most in the early days was Break, he really moved my attention to the rawer sound of drum and bass. I think ‘Surroundings’ by Break was the turning point, it just stood out to be as something completely different from the drum and bass I was introduced to, very stripped back but a hugely effective tune in the dance.
Famed for it’s forward thinking stance towards nourishing the dance music culture, I can see why a move to Germany would have been appealing. What made you up sticks and move over to Berlin? Have you always wanted to live there?
I came on a holiday to Berlin a few years ago and I just fell in love with the place. I never thought I could leave London but two years ago I just decided to take the dive with my partner, and just go for it. I feel like in life you just have to try things and see where they go, if you don’t like it, you can always reverse your decision. I actually moved on the 10 year anniversary of living in London, it just felt like a good time to open up a new chapter. Berlin is an interesting place to live, contrary to the German stereotype, it’s not a very efficient place, nothing works properly and everything is really old, but it’s one of the things I like about it, it’s imperfect as a city and doesn’t try to be.
What’s the drum & bass scene like? We know techno is massive in Germany but how does 176 go down?
Drum and bass in Berlin is a lot more sparse then it is in London. At some weekends in London you can have 10 of the biggest names in the scene at three different venues…that doesn’t happen here, you’ll maybe have two big names a weekend if you’re lucky. But there are enough nights to satisfy me and there are some really good people on the scene. Also, nights don’t open until midnight and can go on until 10 in the morning, so it definitely follows in Techno’s footsteps and when you go out you have to commit. But everywhere you look there is Techno, it’s massive here and, It’s definitely not to everyones taste but I have indulged in a few nights and it’s been a lot of fun. The music is really raw and pretty relentless.
We have been loving your latest EP ‘Your City’ forthcoming on the long standing DSCI4 label, for me it is some of your best work to date. Tell us, how did the EP come to fruition? Have you been sitting on these tracks for a while or are they hand crafted for label?
The first track that was made on this EP was the collaboration with Survey, those guys stayed with me when I was in London for a DSCI4 party in early 2016 and we made the track the day after the party, so I couldn’t be happier that it’s coming out on DSCI4 because the session was definitely inspired by the night. That track is almost two years old now. The Fuj collaboration was made shortly after and there was quite a big gap between those tracks being made, and the other 4 tracks that were made in Berlin. I had to re mix the tracks a couple of times because my production method changed so much over that time. None of the tracks are made specifically for the release, I just make tracks that I like and hope they get signed up, that’s my angle. I feel it was good timing with Trace looking for a release from me and having the right tunes for him. In fact, I even forgot about the collaborations I made in London because it had been so long, I went back into my folders to see what was there and only then did I rediscover them.
You have collaborated a fair few times with Survey who are also based in Berlin, however Fuj is a bit further a field! Hailing from Australia, Fuj (aptly nicknamed ‘Fudge’ – although who gets a nickname longer than their actual name?!) how did you come about working with him?
I have been a fan of Fudge’s style for a while now, so I think collaborating with him is something I have wanted to do and we just managed to make it happen. Physical distance is not even an issue with working together now, that’s one of the most magical things things about the net you can make music with anyone, anywhere.
With this being your debut release on Trace’s legendary imprint, was there any self imposed pressure to make sure everything was sounding just right before sending it over?
Absolutely, there always is with any release, most producers are there own biggest critics though and I’m trying to care a lot less about the small details of the mix and and the arrangement of my tunes these days. Mostly because I’ve wasted so much time over details that nobody’s going to notice apart from me. Both ‘Gutter Funk’ and ‘One Day’ were written and a first mix completed in one day, and that’s the angle I’m taking with production now, getting them finished as soon as you can, and riding off of that flow you can get on when writing a tune. The rest of the time should be focused on getting the final mix right and ready for mastering.
Is this any particular track that you are especially proud of from this next EP? If so please tell us more…
That is a tough question because I’m actually happy with all of them, but I’m especially proud of ‘Gutter Funk’ because I’ve always wanted to get a “minimal” track to be a club tune. I’ve made more “minimal” tunes in the past but they’ve never been club worthy and this one definitely is.
The ‘Your City’ EP firmly backs up an ever growing back catalogue of top quality music from yourself. What would you say was the key to not only getting to that level, but sustaining an output of quality releases?
I think that it’s best to write music as freely as you can, and as much as you can and then choose the best tracks from there, or even better, let a label choose them. There are always going to be ideas that you’ve finished that just aren’t good enough, It’s important to not get hung up on them because the next idea could be a big one and if you get hung up then you miss the big idea. I think with time you can tell whether your track will be a big one or not, send it around your network and get a feel for how it is received, then from there you can make a better judgement.
As we look ahead to 2018, can you tell us about any other forthcoming projects you are working on and any sets you are particularly looking forward to?
This year I’m going to work on my own label, Notion Audio, a bit more. I’m looking to do a collaboration release and signing some music from other artists Next month I’ll be in Poland for the night ‘Hectic’ in Wrocław. It’s my first time in Poland so I’m really excited about that event. Also, there is another DSCI4 party in Berlin, it’s a great opportunity to take a flight out to Berlin if you havn’t already been, plus the last party was vibes.
Once again, big ups for taking some time to chat to us! Have you got any shoutouts, last words?
Yeah, buy my release please.
Couldn’t have put it better myself, go cop that!