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The Prototypes

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Chris Garvey, half of lengendary DnB duo The Prototypes, has just arrived in Australia after a brief spin through the college towns, major cities and ski slopes of New Zealand. He and musical partner Nick White have been here before are gearing up for Viper Recordings’ tenth anniversary tour, hititng Metro City this Friday, July 25. ZOE KILBOURN reports. 

Chris Garvey, half of lengendary DnB duo The Prototypes, hasjust arrived in Australia after a brief spin through the college towns, major cities and ski slopes of New Zealand. He and musical partner Nick White have been here before are gearing up for Viper Recordings’ tenth anniversary tour, hititng Metro City this Friday, July 25. ZOE KILBOURN reports.

“In terms of playing with Matrix and Futurebound, Brookes Brothers, Rockwell – we all know each other quite well, so it’s gonna be really cool. Being with Viper all up’s really cool – they love what we like.”

What do The Prototypes like? It seems like they’ve covered so much ground – as have the other Viper artists, from Brookes Brothers’ sunny disco synths to Matrix and Futurebound’s . If there’s an archetypal Prototype track out in the ether, how would it sound?

“Loud,” laughs Chris. “Loud. Bassy. We like big breakdowns, classic moments, and when it drops, it just has to drop, you know.”

That summary isn’t really doing these guys justice. The Prototypes indulge in  the heavy-hitting breakneck bangers DnB is most widely recognised for, but they’ve messed around with all its limits. From the club classic Blackout (a post-Prodigy bad trip featuring a vocodered out MC ID) to their soulful, commercial EDM-influenced Don’t Let Me Go, they’re constantly riffing on their strongly established (but multifaceted) sound.

“I think with tunes like the Aluna George remix, and Just Bounce – we were sort of bored,” says Chris. “Exploring syncopation, and rhythm, and rhythms intertwining with the beat, using the bass and hihats to play off that, that really excites us. We try to keep it fresh.

“I would love to know where we’re going – I would love to know what genre of drum n bass we sit in, all I know is that looking back on it I just feel that Prototypes have an energy about them, and that’s what people like about us. You can never really know what other people peceive you as. All you can know is what all the tunes have in common.”

For now, that common thread has been big noise – what Chris calls his “festival tunes”. After five years in the game, they’re finally working on an album, which gives them a chance to indulge their chill side.

“City Of Gold should be out next year. Lights will be the first single off that, and the next single is Don’t Let Me Go with Humanoids, which is just sort of making an appearance on radio. One of the things that excites us about doing an album is that we can really explore things we haven’t been able to do before. We’re known for making big drum n bass tunes, the bangers. Over fourteen straight album tracks, piling them up just doesn’t work.”

They’ve also had recent club successes with spoken-word samples on conceptual cyberpunk tracks like Abyss and Pale Blue Dot. The latter came from a COSMOS-style documentary break in the studio.

“Sometimes you’ll have a little musical idea that pops into your head and you’ve got to get it down quick. My phone’s actually just full of little random things that I record when I’m on the go so forget them,” says Chris. “A little while ago, we were quite bored of the whole vocal thing, it was getting quite rigid, so with the spoken samples and big synths in Lights and Pale Blue Dot – we felt that it I don’t really worked, and when it really works, you’ve just gotta go with it. We were really happy to do vocal tunes again.”

“All of our tunes, as far as we’re concerned, are the cornerstones of our set, so we try and play of our own tunes as we can,” he says, about his upcoming Metro City show. “We’re quite playing an hour and a half, two hours of our own music, going back a year. When you’ve got an hour set, you’ve really got to structure it tightly – it can get tough sometimes.”

Chris is constantly on tour –  he’s unfamiliar with the Viper Tour venues “except Metro City, that’ll be sick” – and it’s the DnB atmosphere that keeps him coming back. “It was really cool growing up in Brighton – I think the first I heard of drum n bass was listening to the Sound of Motion album, and I got that on a minidisk back in the day.There was a club night called Music Feed, and I was back every night – it was sort of like a religion.

“One of our best shows was Kiev – I’ve played twice there, and it’s just absolutely crazy. The last time, there were fifteen thousand people in this student square. There’s fireworks going off in the middle of our set, all sorts of things. And as soon as you put your hand up, literally fifteen thousand people stick their hands up, just copy what you’re doing.”

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