Thomas and Ryan tell us why you’ll find a dubstep track on their new album, and why they’re extremely proud of it.
With over 60 tour dates (and more to be added), the progressive house duo, Project 46, is halfway through their international tour. During their stop in Toronto the Canadian act spoke to THUMP about their upcoming album, why they love their fans and the importance of Canadian producers and DJs.
THUMP: The Collide Tour is halfway through, how has it been so far?
Thomas: It's been awesome. Very international in the sense that last week we were in South Africa, next week we're in London, then China. But you know same old, touring, playing shows and trying to stay healthy. It's been good though, the shows so far have been great.
Ryan: It's great because on this tour we had the opportunity to test out a lot of new songs from our album, so we've been doing that a lot which is fun. I think there are 12 more dates being added tomorrow, and some more being added after that too. It's never ending. [Laughs]
T: It's a snowball, just keeps growing.
In the beginning you two were split between two different provinces, how did you begin your work process in two separate time zones?
R: There are a lot of duos right now that are separated by great distances, but I think the difference with us is that we've had some success and people know about us now. There are a lot of people in this situation because even today with collaborations, when we collaborated with Kaskade or Laidback Luke, we never went to the studio with them. Everything was done outside.
T: These days it's not too hard to go back and forth on the Internet sending each other files. It's actually a lot easier because you have your own space. When you're in your zone, that's when you work the best. So it's easy to be in it and work over the Internet. It's also good for introverted people like me. [Laughs] It's cool our process was pretty natural. We both compliment each other pretty well and it just worked out.
I feel like one of the biggest thing that stands out for Project 46 are the contests and free music you give to your fans. Has there ever been a time where a fan has done something great for both of you?
R: We have a lot of cool fans.
T: People make pancake signs and pancake shirts. People are always doing really cool stuff, that's one of the reasons we try to give as much back as possible. Without our fans we're nothing.
R: Obviously there's separation and we don't hangout with our fans, but there have been times when they've brought us pancakes, and just fun stuff like that. It's their way of trying to reach out and just give back. Our fans are pretty awesome. We try to spend a lot of time answering as many possible questions on Facebook. It's getting harder now cause there's a lot more.
You guys just signed your forthcoming album with ULTRA Records. What are your thoughts on major electronic labels focusing more on Canadian talent?
R: To make more of a priority of it, that's great. We had a radio meeting with a couple of the guys from ULTRA, we were negotiating our record deal and they were aggressively trying to sign us. They were saying that they're looking for more Canadian talent. The only stuff they put on the radio is like Deadmau5, that's all they know to put on. So it's good, it's good for us.
T: It's good for the scene too. There are a lot of acts in Canada that are making great music so it's good to expose it. I don't think musical talent should be restricted to territory. If it's good, it's good so get it out there.
R: You have people like Sultan & Ned Sheppard who were nominated for a Grammy this year, so a lot of Canadian talent is being recognized which is great.
What can we expect from your upcoming album, can you give us any details?
T: We went on a limb. We made a ton of tracks over the past year so the first step for us was deciding where to go. We have 25 or 30 songs that are 95 percent done. We have a dubstep track on there that is totally different, that we did just for fun. We have some stereotypical Project 46 stuff, we have some more deep stuff. I'm really proud of it. It's a really good more eclectic mix that's really just what we like. This is us. This is really our music. When we set out to make it and were putting the tracks together, it wasn't a case of "Okay, lets make this kind of song or that kind of song," it was, "let's make a feeling." How we got there was "lets make it different every time, instead of using a formula." I'm excited about it cause there are a lot of really great vocals and cool melodic riffs and different perks. It's just different from a producing standpoint, I'm really proud of it.
R: I think what's cool about our album is every song on the album has the ability to be a single in some way or another. We spent a lot of time. I don't want to name artists, but I think some artists are putting albums out just to put albums out, they'll have three or four solid tracks and the rest will just be fillers. And I think we spent a lot of time making sure that we were proud of every single song. If we submit our album to ULTRA and they say, "we want this song as a single" we'll be okay with any of them.
R: We did some groovy stuff, a big room style song—the dubstep one, just to show our versatility as producers as well. It's hard because we have only put out progressive house so far, so we couldn't really put out a dubstep track as our next single.
R: But within an album, we can say, "Hey, we love this music, too." And we love making it, but it can't be the first Project 46 single. But it's there. So I think people that are maybe snobby towards progressive house–think it's cheesy or commercial; these songs will make them be like, "Hey this is sick, make more of that stuff!" And that will open doors for new fans, too.
When can we expect it?
T: We have no idea!
R: Our goal is to have it all sent in by the middle of June latest. The songs are for the most part done. There are a couple more that needs to be worked on and finished.
T: We still need to master it, publish it.
R: The problem with touring so extensively is that you don't have that time to spend two weeks polishing it. The cool thing is that our first single is coming out in June—middle to late. So hopefully by the end of the year we will see the album. We don't get to decide that, but we have asked for that to happen.
T: We've been playing a lot of the stuff in our live sets and it's been going really well.
R: Yesterday we played six unreleased tracks, which is crazy.
T: A lot of our set is unreleased so it's cool because you'll see people holding up Shazam, and I'm always looking like, "you will not find this." [Laughs]. That's kind of like what Ryan was saying before, we're proud of every song, that they're single worthy. You can bang it out with club ready tracks, but they're also musical. We have a lot of organic instruments too. But I don't want to give too much away.
R: If you're at the show tonight and you don't recognize one of the songs it's probably going to be on the album.
With your radio show, are there difficulties with touring and trying to complete the show?
R: We haven't done it in so long.
T: An absolute nightmare. I personally am not a big fan of doing it myself because I find I'm so picky with the music I want to put in, so it takes me so long. I'll spend weeks looking for the songs and it's hard when the Internet is bad in hotels, and there are so many excuses I can make. But we decided we want to do it once a month, once we finally get this album wrapped up and get to a point when we can actually have time to do it. We enjoy doing it because it lets us support all of our friends and the music we enjoy. It gives us something to give back to the fans. We can do a new edit, premiere something, and promote other music we really enjoy. Those are obviously all-good things. We want to do it, we like it, but it's tedious and as a result, the once a month thing. At least until the album is locked down.
R: A lot of the podcasts are not done by the actual artist themselves. They're done through companies that do it for them, and we don't want to go that route. We could have paid that money, which may have been the smarter business plan, but we wanted to be directly involved in our podcast.
T: It's more authentic that way. It's old school, but whatever. That's what we wanted to do.
R: We'll have an episode in June, hopefully.