After the release of “See The Light Again” with Meredith Bull, Protohype gave us some insight on the new single and so much more.
Few artists in the bass scene possess the same amount of creative genius as Protohype. The renowned producer has spent the last decade building his catalog and putting out some of the scene’s heaviest tracks including collaborations with artists like Excision and Dirt Monkey as well as solo features on labels including Spinnin’ Records and Deadbeats. Further, he’s transitioned to helping new artists hone their chops in the studio by teaching at ICON Collective and is helping push the next generation of the scene.
But he wasn’t content with just releasing on other imprints and had his sights set on creating a new home for himself and others with Underdog Records. Since starting the label in 2019, Protohype has made the pivot from your standard bass artist to label boss and bass connoisseur, curating some of the most fantastic tracks that have graced the bass music community.
While Protohype is best known for being one of the most established producers out there, his charitable endeavors are what earn him the most reverence in the scene. In 2016, he gave his EP Puppy Crew away for free to anyone who donated to his favorite animal rescue organization, and he has previously played charity shows where money from each ticket sold went toward a no-kill animal shelter. Since pursuing this animal rescue movement, the Protohype #puppycrew has grown exponentially and united animal lovers and bass fans alike to come together for a common cause.
Protohype’s accomplishments and creative pursuits don’t stop there – there’s so much more this producer has got under his belt, and we were fortunate enough to get the full inside scoop. Read on for a chat with the man himself and check out his new single “See the Light Again” featuring Meredith Bull on Spotify or your favorite platform.
Stream Protohype – See the Light Again (feat. Meredith Bull) on Spotify:
Hey Protohype, thanks for stopping by to chat with us! Your latest single, “See the Light Again” with Meredith Bull, is a haunting track that combines gorgeous piano melodies with hard-hitting drops that are headbang worthy. What was the production process like on this tune when working with Meredith?
This one was really special and unique. I am a teacher at ICON Collective, and each week I have an office hour where all the students can come in and watch me make music and ask questions…during an office hour about a year ago, I was writing a chord progression, and Meredith was in the room (she was attending ICON at the time). Little did I know she was writing and recording along with me! By the end of the office hours she had sent me a clip, and I loved it. It was a lock from there! Talk about seizing the moment.
This new track arrived after you kicked off the year with “Dippin’” a collaboration with Shanghai Doom. How did that collaboration come about and do you approach the workflow differently when working with other artists?
This one specifically branched off an idea I had started a few months prior. It was just the melodic section of the drop and a few random bass fills at first. Once I locked in the EP with the Shanghai Doom guys, I mentioned that I had this tune floating around that would work great for them if they were interested in adding a collaboration with me to their EP. I try to offer that to all of the artists who sign a record to Underdog. We went back two or three times, and the tune was a wrap!
Both releases landed on your label, Underdog Records, which you launched back in 2019. Could you tell us a little bit about what gave you the idea to start your own imprint and how it all came to fruition?
The concept of running a label has always been a dream of mine, but I’ve always lacked the knowledge and budget to fund the operation. After saving for a while, and a lot of sage advice from my manager Nate, I was able to take the project off of the ground. My good friend Paper Diamond designed the logo with me and helped me create the “knuckle paw” which is now our signature logo. After that, it was just about getting enough of my own releases on the label to gain traction before I reached out to others about bringing their music to Underdog.
You’ve featured some renowned artists on Underdog Records, including singles from names including Matt Doe and Elderbass as well as a stacked compilation featuring artists like blurrd vzn and Jinx. Can you walk us through how you curate the releases on the label? What stands out to you when you’re diving into demos?
It’s a mixture of using my social media platforms and just organic growth. We have our submissions open to whoever would like to send tunes in, and I always respond and listen to each one, no matter what the result is. I reached out to Matt about doing the first EP on Underdog after a conversation we had a while ago before the label even launched. He’s one of my good friends and in my opinion one of the most talented producers in the game. Elderbass just kind of fell into our lap, and was a blessing. We weren’t signing singles at the time but when I heard “Change Your Mind”, I needed it!
What stands out most for me when Nick and I are listening to demos are ethereal/euphoric vocals, melody, and high energy drops. If it would go into my DJ set, it could go on Underdog.
What’s the most challenging part about running your own label, and on the flipside, what’s the most rewarding part?
The most challenging part is the risk and the slow burn of the label. It took me over a year of putting out music before I even saw any sort of money. And all that money just goes right back into the label. You put a lot of money into PR, art, and marketing campaigns as well. It was just a money pit for me for the first few years. But now that we’re seeing success and growth, it’s so rewarding and enjoyable, and worth every single penny. I also love giving artists a platform that they may not have otherwise.
Beyond your own music and label, you’ve also hosted discussions with other artists on your show The Producer’s Corner including SubDocta, Jiqui, and Modestep. What has that experience been like and is there an artist you’ve been hoping will join you on an upcoming episode?
The Producer’s Corner has been my own side project ever since I did it at Lost Lands 2 years ago. I just love teaching, and learning. TPC is the best way for me to help others learn, as well as learn myself!! I’d love to have some of my idols come in, like Liquid Stranger or Skrillex. We’ll see about that. However, the main thing I’m excited about is bringing TPC to festivals across the country. Look out!
During the quarantine, you also took up candle making! What led to you picking up this hobby and can you share some of your favorite scents you’ve made?
I’ve always been a Hobby Lobby nerd. Any sort of arts and crafts thing is one of my favorite ways to pass the time. If I thought people would buy my “color in the numbers” I would sell them. I was surprised people bought the candles, I just really enjoyed learning the process…it’s actually much more challenging than you might think to make a perfect candle. I’d say my favorite is either Coconut+Mango or Black Sea.
After a long period of no live shows or festivals, vaccines are starting to roll out and things are starting to look up for the dance music scene. What are you most looking forward to about getting to play live shows again?
Honestly, hanging out with fans and expressing my gratitude. Also, nothing matches the joy of playing a new tune out for the first time for a crowd of willing ears. This is my life, and I can’t wait to get it back.
Finally, looking forward into the future, what can we expect from Protohype and Underdog Records?