Our Interview With PRofit
With a background in hip-hop and dance music, vocalist and songwriter PRofit has now released his debut album ‘True Colours’. After making appearances across the globe, PRofit is driven by his passion, interest in wordplay and connection with the people around him. Being born deaf has not stopped PRofit from following his own path in the music industry, starting in nightclubs and on pirate/underground radio stations and then moving into production and producing his own show on Breaks FM. Read our exclusive interview with PRofit below. (Watch our audio video at the bottom of this page)
Hiya, this is Tobi from inSYNC, you alright?
Tobi, how you doing?
I’m good, I’m good.
Are you alright if I take a few minutes of your time?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, fire away man, fire away.
Nice one thank you so much. So, obviously, it’d be really nice to talk to you about your album you released recently and a few other things. I was wondering how you got into the music industry? Is that something you’ve always done? Were your brought up in a music family? Or is that something you developed into?
It’s going to be a long response…
That’s cool, no worries take your time.
My dad’s a graphic designer and my mum’s an artist, so I was brought up by two creative people, and my dad was also a drummer in band’s, not big bands or anything, you know he would go out and do drumming, and it was one of those things. I was actually born deaf, so after lots of operations and years and years of being sent to specialists, my dad used to, when I regained my hearing, used to take me to his rehearsals. He put me on a little four track recorder, and kind of like you know “you sit there and monitor the sounds” and that’s kind of how I got into it. As I say my dad was a drummer, self-taught musician for guitar and piano and various other things, so there was always, he would spend his money on that kit, so there was always an opportunity to be around it.
I think for me, I really got into it because, like a lot of people, I enjoyed, like a lot of rappers, I really like the wordplay within lyrics and rhyming and things, and so by the time it got round, by the time I started writing lyrics, I had heard a guy on pirate radio station, and I fell in love with the idea of doing pirate.
I have a lot of respect for people who have self-taught themselves instruments, guitar, drums, whatever, you know without having any former experience.
To be honest Tobi, I probably murder more instruments than I can actually play, and you know for me it was a case of when I first started MCing and when I first started rapping, I love the music thing and I had tried the instruments, you know for everything to, record a violin, drums, everything, the wordplay and the fascination with wordplay and writing really resonated with me. The first time I heard this guy on pirate radio, I had this tape and that was it, I was hooked. I really wanted to be on the radio.
Radio is such a great output, broadcasting, compared to TV, it’s so much better I think…
I totally agree if you tune into a radio station you know why you’re there. You can listen to talk radio or you can listen to music and that’s what I liked about pirate was, the pirate radio was edge-y enough and it was dedicated to the music that was there rather than going down the commercial radio route. Also, that thing about people being, you know, nowadays everyone complains that the DJs on commercial radio stations don’t break records anymore. You used to listen to them because they were the upfront guys to break the records and nowadays that’s still the case with the underground guys, they’re the ones who break the records and are not following the trend.
I totally agree…
So, that was me. I started rapping, got into it off the back of that and mainly, as I say, through pirate radio, and then playing events came off the back of that, and then when I started doing shows it became a bit of a quest, and then back then all you need to do to carry on doing shows was pirate radio, and you could have a show of your own. And, then it changed, where you needed to have a record, and I got into music production off the back of “well I still want to play in clubs, so I need a record, so I better go make my own record”, and after that the rest is kind of history really.
That’s really cool…the label you’re on at the moment is Defcon, it’s quite a cool label, you joined last year I think, how did that come about? I saw Joe Burn at Boomtown this year, he was really good, I wondered did you get picked up by that label?
I remember Defcon years ago when they used to be two guys called Natty and Dwella who had quite a big record and of course the rapper Manage, and he was the first signing for Defcon years ago. And, there’s been quite a few people who’ve been on it, and I think it’s just been, funnily enough, I was working with Ghetto Funk who are another label and they ended up opening an agency and put me on their books and I met Nathaniel who’s the main driver for Defcon, we met at a gig one night and we got on and we basically ended up going on a trip together, I was doing a show, and we were sitting in the car and I was playing a lot of the outline of the album, and he started getting very happy about it. He was sitting in the back and speaking really positively, “ah man, this is great, this is wicked, it sounds fantastic.” And, at the time I was talking to a lot of other labels and enquiring about a hybrid album, and a lot of people were like “we really love this half, and we love the other half but we’re not sure how we can sell it our fanbase.” It was a bit of a mix up, and to be honest a couple of the deals people presented just, you know I’ve been making records long enough, I was like that’s not really what I’m after, and one thing that really set me on Defcon was that they are just so positive about it. They’re happy about the record, they believed in it.
I guess when it’s your passion, your thing, your creativity, it’s really nice when someone can share that with you.
Fully, fully! I totally agree. It becomes the case now whereas independent artists there’s so much you can do as an artist to release a record. Nowadays as an artist, in theory, you have the technology, and if you build up the experience, and you have access to distribution you can do it all from scratch. You know that everybody has, and that everybody does, so the only other real thing that you’ve got is time management, and for me a label adds, you know, if you’ve got other people working with you, or for you, depending on which element you’re in, who are helping you put the record out. But, also as an artist, or in fact anyone doing anything, it’s quite a taxing experience. Everybody has their ups and downs, and the thing that I love about Defcon, you know, at any point that I was feeling drained by the whole experience “we’ve gotta do this, we’ve gotta do that”. They were always there with the “it’s cool mate, we can do this, we can do that”
Have a solution to it…
Yeah, and them adding that experience for me, there’s no price tag that you can put on it.
For sure…I totally get that. So, the debut album is called ‘True Colours’ and listening to it, I hear a hell of a lot of different vibes and genres in there. I’m interested to know how you got to that point, it’s very interesting, I really like that. I like it when it’s hard to define music by a single genre. I think that’s a very talented thing to do, and I wondered where you pulled all those different influences from?
Well, thank you very much, I’m glad that you got that. It’s exactly that. I started off, I was influenced by hip-hop as a child. Getting into hip-hop music, when you’re growing up you’re around all the music that your parents listened to, or you’re influenced by others. For me, hip-hop was the first thing that was kind of mine, and when I first picked up a microphone it ended up being garage music when garage came out of house and started to create its own wave. And, off the back of that, I started playing raves and, as I say, doing the pirate radio thing and then it got to drum & bass, with jungle and breaks and I dipped my toe into many pools and experienced a lot of different scenes. When I first started putting the album together I wanted to have, I wanted to make a hybrid album, a crossover, but not just a drum & bass track, and a hip-hop track, and a jungle track, and a breakbeat track, very sparse. I wanted to infuse the elements and the production elements and the approaches to that sort of music. So, for instance, a hip-hop producer will have a different approach to a drum & bass producer when it comes to production values and so, I kind of wanted to have it where the production values would changeover and you’d have a hip-hop producer putting in the production values a drum & bass producer would put in.
And, I think, nowadays, again when I first picked up a microphone people were pigeon-holed, you did your genre, you stuck to what you did, and nowadays the listeners, the artists, everyone’s a lot more open to doing other things in other genres and crossing over. As a listener, everyone’s influenced by different things, so you know, how often have you ever said to anyone “what sort of music do you listen to?” And, often the response is “oh, everything”.
I’m the same! Everything that I like. If I hear it and I like it that’s it.
Yeah, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. It’s “I like this song, yeah, I like that style”. And, you know, what was kind of crazy throughout making the album was that is what I set out to do. For instance, there’s a track on there called ‘Next Riddim’ that’s got Ti2bs on it from Mud Fam and Juxci D who’s part of the garage outfit 2 Play. When I was in the studio with David Boomah and we were doing something else and I first met Juxci there and I played Juxci ‘Next Riddim’, and I knew of Juxci before because they’d had top ten hits with 2 Play and stuff and I played him ‘Next Riddim’ and said “Mate, I’d really like you to, if you’re interested in being on this song, I’d really like to have you on it”, and he listened to it and he turned to me and was like, “what is this?” I said, “It’s a vibe that me and my mates have been building”. And he said “No, no, but what genre do you put it in? It’s not hip-hop and it’s not dubstep…and it’s got this reggae influence, what is it?” And, I was like, “I don’t know. You decide. But, as long as you think you can work with it. That’s cool with me”.
Everyone is on there for a reason because I think they’re a good artist or think they would of suited the track, or they’ve added something to it. You know, there are tracks like ‘How Come’, for instance, where alright I might of included the ex-girlfriend’s recording of her but for me that’s a personal track and an experience.
Yeah, of course, that means something to you.
Whereas something like ‘Juggling’ or ‘Next Riddim’ or ‘I Rise’, you know when I first started writing ‘I Rise’ I wrote this hook and I kept circling certain words and being like ‘that needs to be sung”. I made ‘Push Back’ with David Boomah and of course Boomah is that jungle legend, he’s the voice of Shy FX’s ‘On The Run’ and all that stuff. And, whilst I was doing it Boomah has, and I just met Boomah because we’d done a gig with Congo Natty, we just got to this point, and he’s got this distinct voice and that fits perfectly on that song. “David would you be willing to jump on this track. I’ve written the chorus, I need you to sing the chorus, but I’d like you to come up with the bridge”. And, he came up with this bridge and that was ‘Wow! Cool. Nailed it. Cheers man’. Everyone on there’s cool and the beautiful thing is for me, more than anything else, it’s not only do I think all these guys have been on there but someone like Ti2bs for instance, I met Ti2bs beforehand and I met him through people, at gigs and stuff over the years. We’ve been at the same shows together on and off, and getting him on the song and we hanging out together, it really solidifies what I think of people and for example I’ve got a lot of time for Ti2bs, he’s great, and I really enjoyed working with other people regardless of having these other artists on there and what they added to the song. Actually meeting them and being with them, and being part of their life a little bit more, at that current moment in time, building on the relationship, that’s cool man, you can’t beat that.
I totally agree. It’s part of the experience. That’s awesome man. Well, thanks so much for chatting about the album. What are you looking forward to about next year? Are you hoping to get on the festival circuit? Are you hoping to get a lot more performances in? Or, are you still in the studio?
The last five years we’ve been canning the festival circuit, do lots of stuff round the festivals. I’m hoping to, in a couple of weeks, start rehearsals for the live outfit, to take the album on the road and already got some bookings for next year for that and for a couple of festivals. So, hopefully, warm up to a few more festivals. And, having played a lot of festivals and a lot of clubs for years and years trying to build up a model that I can take to any venue and go straight in. Right, this is the live show. So, lots of festivals next year, we’ll be doing that for the live show, and got a lot of PRofit Live and other PRofit events and other PRofit gigs, and some new sideline projects that are already underway recording wise. And, to be honest, off the back of the album a lot of people have got in contact, so there’s a lot of pullouts that are in the pipeline.
Excellent news. So, keeping yourself very busy by the sound of it.
Try to mate, try to.
Well, thank so much for speaking to me today and taking a bit of your time, I know that’s always valuable, so thank you so much.
No, thank you very much for being interested and taking the time to phone me.
No worries, no worries at all. Well, I’ll Tweet you when the article’s up.
No worries thank you very much, mate.
Thank you very much, Tobi, enjoy the rest of the evening.
You too have a good one. Cheers.
Listen to PRofit’s debut album ‘True Colours’ now at https://soundcloud.com/profit-5/sets/profit-true-colours-defcon