Producer, DJ and label founder Protohype is reflecting back on his 2020. After initially starting his Underdog Records as a platform for his own music, but it has taken off with various artists stepping up to offer sounds. At the end of last year it released a first compilation titled The Pack Vol.1, with plenty of box-fresh material from up and coming talent in the bass world.
We caught up with Protohype for an interview to hear more about his own reflections and hopes for 2021, both personally and for Underdog. He also made a Current Vibes playlist with his favorite tracks at the moment.
It’s great to chat, thanks for joining us! How are you feeling about starting 2021?
I'm feeling optimistic! Focusing on my health and team as my priority.
Last year was a difficult one for us all – how did you juggle your production and running Underdog amidst it all?
Honestly, it felt like a bit of a blessing specifically on the free-time front. Quarantine brought me the time and energy to focus on not only my own music, but Underdog as well. I was so busy touring in 2019 that the label was a bit of a wash for me…so juggling production and running Underdog was my main focus in 2020.
What is your main ethos behind the label?
The label ethos is mainly to help grow artists that may not have the platform to get the exposure that they deserve. Initially it was a platform for me to own my own music, but now that it has legs, its grown into something much larger, which was my first long-term goal when I launched the label.
Congratulations on your first compilation release, it’s a sick album. What did you want to achieve with it and do you feel you like you managed it?
THE PACK Vol. 1 has been a success for us because we were able to find so many new artists that we were initially unaware of, and give them a strong home and community to be a part of. I know that the label is just really getting off of the ground, but family comes first over here, and we want to make it clear what type of crew you're joining when you release music on Underdog Records.
I'll be honest I wasn't quite aware of how huge of an undertaking putting out a compilation is (from a label's standpoint). The distribution management is a lot of nitpicking and specifics. Also, contacting 13 different artists and their managers and trying to get everyone on the same schedule has proven to be extremely difficult. I think we pulled it off!
What helps and motivates you to keep developing as an artist?
My love for music and knowledge. It's always been there for me… music production is just my favorite thing in the world. I've always enjoyed the fact that there is no end of the road, no way to obtain all knowledge, and the community is always growing. I'll make music for the rest of my life in one form or another.
Which piece of work are you most proud of from the past twelve months?
My debut album, Open World. I worked so hard on it…unfortunately I don't think that many people heard it, to be honest. It was at the very beginning of the label, and I was so wrapped up in playing shows that I didn't put enough money into the PR side of things. It's without question my strongest collection of music! The song "Open World'' is my favorite song I've ever made, I think.
Who or what influences you musically? Do you find you get inspired by lots of different genres and styles?
Recently I've been rediscovering my love for indie/pop styles. M83 has been a huge influence of mine over the years. I know it may not exactly sound like it in my music, but I think that's the best way to draw inspiration: it's tucked in there! I also draw a huge amount of inspiration from movies. I'm a movie buff. I watch movies every single night. I love dissecting a movie score and running into the studio with fresh inspiration!
Personally speaking, your 3 favorite tunes right now?
In no particular order: "JEWELZ" by Anderson Paak, "Heat Waves" by Glass Animals, and "Hung Up" by Elizra.
What is on the horizon for you and Underdog Records in 2021?
The main goal is growth. I've learned to strive for growth, and the rest will fall into place. I've learned so much about the music industry by running a label, and I can't wait to put out the best music yet in 2021.
Check out Underdog Records' new compilation here.