It's safe to say music is an essential part of my every day life. From the moment I wake up to the second I fall asleep I'm surrounded by sound. There's something about music for me that makes it as important as remembering to eat breakfast or brush my teeth... it's just necessary. Music has the profound ability to bring people together, influence emotions and sometimes can even inspire someone to create their own unique sound for others to listen to.
One unique sound that has been standing out from others on my daily playlist is from producer Max Pote aka Protohype. After exchanging some emails and getting to talk with Max, I saw he also lived and breathed music. Inspired by the music of other artists, Max decided to give producing a try and make his own sound. A sound that, which might come across a bit cliché, has caused quite some hype as of late. He is currently finishing up his tour with Minnesota and recently released his first EP "See No Evil" via Firepower Records. Not only is this producer extremely talented and driven, but in the simplest word, lovable. From his music to his funny, charismatic personality I couldn't help but love what the Protohype sound was all about...perhaps you will too.
...once I heard those two, I caught the bug and immediately wanted to produce nothing but electronic music.
Where does the name Protohype come from?
I wish there was a story, but there really isn’t. I wanted to come up with a name that would be easy to brand in the way I wanted; something hip-hop ish, but also futuristic and mechanical…just kind of thought of the word.
Where are you from? Do you think this has any influence on your musical style/taste?
I’m originally from Nashville, TN. I now reside in Los Angeles. Being from Nashville has definitely influenced my style of music. I grew up listening to southern rap, and made hip-hop beats for about five years before I even got into electronic music. So I’m always influenced by hip-hop, and that definitely comes from where I grew up and the music I was brought up listening to.
What got you into electronic music?
Rusko and Caspa. I had always been a hip-hop head and produced hip-hop since the beginning of my musical career, but once I heard those two, I caught the bug and immediately wanted to produce nothing but electronic music. Those guys continue to be an inspiration for me every day.
You recently released your "See No Evil" EP on Firepower Records. It is the first of a three EP collection you plan to release. If "See No Evil" is the heavier of all three, what can we expect from "Hear No Evil"and "Speak No Evil."
“See No Evil” is definitely the heavier themed EP. “Hear No Evil” will be all melodic, vocal, smoother tunes. I’m working on new styles right now, and I’m using these three EPs to showcase that. “Speak No Evil” will be a collection of collaborations with all of my favorite artists to work with.
How do you choose what songs to remix? Is there a song out there you would love to see a remix done to?
I usually only remix songs that resonate with me personally. I don’t base my choices off of what is hot at that moment in time…I usually just remix tunes that I love listening to. I’m always hyped on remixes of classic southern rap tunes. I always keep an ear out for them...basically any tune that has somewhat died off and someone has breathed new life into.
If the vibe is hype, I always try to imagine how the tune is going to sound when I play it live.
Any current remixes in the works you can tell us about?
Right now, no. I just wrapped up this Rihanna remix and put it out for free. Other than that I'm just working on original tunes for my upcoming EPs.
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
Kind of depends on the track. If the vibe is hype, I always try to imagine how the tune is going to sound when I play it live. For me, if a track doesn’t fit in a show environment, it’s tough for me to really get into the vibe of it. If it’s a chill tune though, I just take that vibe as far as I can and drive it out that way.
How has the sound of Protohype grown from when you were attending ASU to living in Los Angeles and going to The Icon Collective.
My sound has changed so much since I started Protohype at ASU. Honestly the biggest factor in the changing of my sound has been just learning more about production. I’ve always wanted to make the sounds that I’m making now, but my lack of knowledge hindered me from doing so. After attending Icon, I was able to step my game up and create the style I’ve always wanted to put out.
I played so many free shows, so many crappy shows, so many weird raves but thats just what you have to do.
Name one thing you learned that has helped you as a producer that you learned while at ASU and one thing you've learned while living in LA.
The main thing I learned at ASU was probably the importance of the hustle. I played so many free shows, so many crappy shows, so many weird raves but that's just what you have to do. You have to put in work in the beginning and take a bunch of hits before you can get anywhere legitimate.
As far as LA, probably just being completely immersed in the DJ/producer culture. It's amazing to be able to go in the studio with any of these great LA producers, and learn as much as possible. Not to mention how crucial networking is in the scene today. There's really nowhere else I'd rather be right now.
Do you discuss or exchange ideas with other producers?
Most definitely. Pretty much all of my best friends are producers. I’ve learned from all of the experiences I’ve had growing closer on a friendship level with other producers that this scene is all about the family aspect. I’ve never been one to keep many secrets as far as production techniques go. I’m all about having that one certain thing that you keep to yourself, but I also think that someone else knowing your one secret isn’t going to negatively effect your career or music. It’s not a competition, it’s about family and the love of music. I always share ideas with my producer friends, and they share back. I think that’s the way that music production has always been intended to be like.
You're on tour with Minnesota right now, what were three things you made sure to pack and why? What do you guys do on the road in your down time?
I made sure to pack lots of socks, but for some reason I guess you can just never have enough clean socks. So, I’ve bought new socks like four times already on the tour. My headphones have been crucial; they’ve helped me be able to produce while I’m on the bus. Also, all of my toiletries. Gotta stay fresh.
During our down time (which there isn’t much of), we usually sleep. I room with DCarls, and we’re pretty much on the exact same sleep schedule. Sleep not so much at night, wake up and drive forever, hit the hotel and crash. Then straight to the venue for the show.
What has been the best venue you've played at so far this tour?
I'd have to say the Exit/In in Nashville, TN. Mostly because it's a legendary venue, and it's also my hometown. The show sold out, and it was just an amazing night overall with all of my old and new friends.
Which do you prefer, a smoky, low-lit club or a big stage with bright lights and colored gels?
I think that answer depends completely on the crowd. I’ve learned from all of the shows that I’ve played that you can play at a huge, nice club with a big stage and all of the lights and still not have an amazing show if the crowd isn’t into it. It’s always really great to play somewhere dark and small to a tight, packed house that’s really into the music. So I’d have to say it doesn’t matter the stage size or club atmosphere, as long as the crowd is going hard, I’m happy. Don’t care about the size.
No matter what genre of music the tune is, there is always a common theme of creepy awesomeness and I’m all about that...
What does your family think of your music? Do they attend shows?
I’m lucky enough to have the complete support of my whole family. On this tour I’ve been lucky enough to have both of my parents come to two different shows, which is really an honor for me. I’ve always had my family’s support through and through since day one. So it’s really rewarding for me to be able to show them what I’ve been up to, and how my hard work for so long is starting to pay off.
Can you walk us through your various musical phases? From early interest to actual creative output, how did they tie into your waking life? Alter your taste in fashion, art, literature?
I’ve been through so many different musical phases. I guess all of them have been routed someway in hop-hop though. Classic rock was the first style of music that ever really caught my interest on a serious level. From there I got into all sorts of rock music, and then eventually into hip-hop somehow, where I really fell in love and began to create music.
I got really into graffiti at a pretty young age, and was seriously influenced by the whole urban culture throughout my teenage years. I was always skating, painting, or making music. I had completely submerged myself in urban culture and was loving every second of it.
Is there a band whose covers you love? Or a designer of covers?
Bro Safari always has super awesome art. No matter what genre of music the tune is, there is always a common theme of creepy awesomeness and I’m all about that. Control, which is the Friday night show at Avalon in Los Angeles, always has amazing artwork for their posters. I think most of that can be attributed to the ideas of Jaso and Whiiite, the minds behind Control. Both guys are very unique and creative and that’s what I’m all about supporting.
Tell us about a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song/album.
I’ve got a bunch of those…I see music as imagery a lot of time. So it’s very easy and common for me to directly link a certain song or album with a period of my life. One example would be the album Rubber Soul by The Beatles. Everytime I hear a tune from that album, I think about driving to school with my mom when I was 12 or 13. It was always one of my favorite CDs, and I always listened to it on the way to school.
My first plan of action with world domination would have to be service tags for my dog so I can bring him everywhere I go.
Where do you see yourself in five years both professionally and personally? As part of your plan for World Domination, what is your first order of business?
In five years, I hope to be financially stable and happy with my life. I’ve been grinding super hard for the past few years, and I’m hoping that in five years I’ll be able to reap the benefits of my hard work, and honestly be able to kick back and relax for a little while. My first plan of action with world domination would have to be service tags for my dog so I can bring him everywhere I go.
Lastly, If you had to measure your life in BPMs, what would it be? Lots of drops? Builds?
That’s a good question…I’d probably say more buildups than drops. Lots of long builds, and then a short drop. Then right back up to the build again. There are lots of bumps in my life, I’m just going along for the ride right now.