Interview: Five Minutes with Prok & Fitch

Let’s kick off the year getting to know the infamous electronic duo Prok I Fitch. The two are known for striking a balance between intense intimacy and rolling grooves in their sound. The two have been creating music since the 90’s, leading them to work with noteworthy labels such as Relief, Toolroom, Suara and Stereo and collaborations with the likes of Green Velvet, Dosem, Dajae and Mark Knight.

Last year was memorable for the two for a number of suggestions, one of which was the release of their two-track EP, Tease. The duo marked the end of last year by releasing the Simone Liberalli remix of their funky single ‘Got Groove’ before they started making some intriguing plans for the new year. While they usually find themselves dominating the stage, Covid has caused them to go in a new direction creatively.

Find out more about these well-established musicians and what they have up their selves in the exclusive below.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?  

James – I was living in Spain at the time of the acid house explosion. I was 12 at the time and my brother used to go to all these clubs in Madrid bringing tapes back the DJ had given him. I used to nick them off him when he wasn’t around and record them, then spend hours in my room with my headphones on wondering what it would be like to hear the music in a club. I became obsessed with the music and have craved it ever since. I, fortunately, had my bike stolen when I was 16… the insurance money paid for my first set of decks. That said, I’d been wiring up my dad’s CD decks to a cheap mixer since I was 14.

Ben – I’ve been into dance music from a very young age, apparently raving it up to the sounds of madness in my highchair. Getting into house & techno through the legendary Sterns club in the south of England, I then started putting on a few parties in and around where I grew up, renting marquees  & blagging halls. It was all a little time consuming so the next step was to pursue something I’d always wanted to do and get behind the decks.” 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea? 

Sound to inspire the idea! Probably the most important to our studio process is the inspiration, we find it much easier to start a new record based around a musical element that inspires us. Having a diverse musical taste definitely helps, both listening to a wide variety of music outside of house, so draw inspirations from everywhere, it could be sampling a cool vocal from an old Richard Pryor interview, re-working a bass line from a funk record, or delving back through our record collection.

Does your material feature any collaborations? 

Yes, we always love to collaborate with other artists, it’s great fun getting into the studio with someone you admire and starting something fresh together, over the years we’ve been lucky enough to work with some very talented artists, from Green Velvet to Ben Westbeach. 

Most recently we’ve been working with an amazing singer called “Kyozo”, who featured on our debut Hot Creations release “Tease”. We’ve been itching to find a great original vocalist since we started, while we’ve worked with some amazing vocalist’s over the years, Kyozo is something special we instantly clicked with him in the studio and vibed of each other, the variety and quality of the output together is something we’re extremely happy with, can’t wait for you all to hear what we’ve got coming up.

What’s on your current playlist? 

When we’re out of the studio, pretty much anything that isn’t house music. We both have varied music taste, this massively helps our creativity in the studio.

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage. 

We’ve always had a great relationship with our fans, they’re the reason we get to do what we love. The vibe of the crowd dictates what music we play and the direction we take our sets. At the end of last year, we did a three month North America tour, after every show we took a small group of fans out for some food and drinks, as you can imagine we had a great time hanging out with some genuinely nice people,  and some crazy experiences from after the after’s to a shoot out in a diner. 

Since the whole Covid thing, our fan appreciation has multiplied tenfold! Playing these live streams with no-one to feed off is quite a challenge its obviously great playing music especially in such scenic locations, but the real buzz comes from the crowd interaction, bring back the crowds ASAP, please! 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound? 

All boils down to inspiration if we’re inspired we produce original music. We never like to rehash too many sounds that we’ve previously used in other records, we’ve always continually evolved and want our music to always reflect this.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

We’ve both got family’s so getting the balance right between touring, studio and family life is pretty much impossible. When possible we always try to stick to 9 to 5 hours, trying to keep some sort of routine is imperative especially when you’re away from home so regularly. 

We usually kick the day off going through the never-ending promo folder, even now when we’re not touring we still work the same. I guess that’s installed in us from the old vinyl days, never wanting to miss a killer record.  If we’re starting something fresh, we have a bank on inspiration ideas that we’re always adding to, it can literally be anything, from an African chant to a funk baseline we’ve recorded off vinyl. We’ll then take that element and base the rest of the track around it, next we’ll work on the groove this can take some time, constantly changing hats and drum hits, and cross-referencing it with other records we like the sound of. 

We’ll then grab some food and go back to listening to new music, we’d then open up a project that we’ve already started, we use to grind it out working on records till they’re finished, whether it’s a day or two weeks. Now, we constantly mix it up – which works much better for us, having lots of varied projects on the go keeps things fresh and exciting. Time-wise we’re much more efficient working this way and get tracks finished quickly. We’d then spend the rest of the day going back to the project that we started that day, having a break and going back to it so important, you immediately notice what needs to be changed. 

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”? 

Electronic music has a habit of getting you hooked, that was definitely that case with both of us. Strangely it was both from dj’ing separately when we started out, the crowd connection when you drop a record that you love is a feeling that is hard to beat.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set? 

Water, Vodka & Beer.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

So many to choose from, our picks would be Joseph Edmund, iO (Muen) & Ben Murphy

What gets your creative juices flowing? 

An untouched sample! Often found via the amazing youtube algorithm.

Any side projects you’re working on? 

Yes the largest positive of Covid for us is having so much time in the studio, allowing us to explore different styles and sounds, we’re working on new projects but nothing we’re about to release soon.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry? 

Quality of quantity, when we were new to the scene, we said pretty much yes to anything, partly because we were so excited but mainly due to being naive and self-managed. We put out far too much music and compromised the quality. We’d advise anyone starting out to seriously think about quality over quantity, once records are released they’re out there for good, you need to try and release music that will stand the test of time. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year? 

Musically, it was a great year for us as we’ve had three strong releases on Solid Grooves, Repopulate Mars and Hot Creations.  Hot Creations has been our target label for years, it’s been something we’ve been working towards for a long time, we were patiently waiting until we had the right music to send to Jamie. We’d been working on Tease for some time, trying out different versions in the clubs and constantly tweaking till we were 100 % happy with it, that was the point we sent it to Jamie with a few other tracks, he jumped on it straight away and then we quickly started working on a b-side. we’re buzzing from all of the positive feedback, just now we need to write a better follow up record! 

Outside of the studio we’ve been giving our spin on some cool location-based Live streams, we live in Brighton so we’re surrounded by some extremely scenic locations, we selected some of our favourite local spots, pulled together a great team of people and had a lot of fun doing them, So far we’ve streamed from a Windfarm 8 miles of the coast of Brighton, with Fatboy Slim, Archie Hamiton Josh Butler& Rich Nxt, the British Airways I360, Ridgeview vineyard in the South Downs National Park & a floating pontoon on an idyllic river just outside of the city.

Famous last words?

Make the music you love, not following fads.

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By Sarah Britton