Prolix: connoisseur of fine wine and creator of monstrous tunes.
And rather like a sumptuous shiraz, his productions have only got better with age.
With the scene’s most esteemed labels including Playaz, RAM, Renegade Hardware and Commercial Suicide gracing his back catalogue and collaborations with some of the most revered names in drum & bass from Gridlok to Noisia, it’s fair to say Prolix (Chris McCarthy) has earned his stripes.
But despite his somewhat stupendous resume, he hasn’t yet garnered the mainstream recognition that he perhaps deserves – something he himself recognises – but something which looks set to change.
Having signed exclusively for Shogun Audio and on the back of a weighty collab with DC Breaks, and with his own Trendkill imprint taking shape nicely, 2017 could well be the year that people begin to realise that Prolix is no ordinary Sauvignon Blanc.
You recently said on social media that people still say you need to prove yourself. Why do you think this is?
That was just me letting off some steam. I’m always looking to better myself as a producer and musician, as I’m sure any creative person does. When it comes to the profile thing, it’s all about the music and making music for me – that’s what I like doing and it’s what I’m good at. Branding and all that other stuff is a huge part of what can make people “make it”, and I know there’s value in it, but it’s just not what I do. Maybe that’s why I’m seen as “underground” or the reason people say I’m underrated. It can be frustrating, but I’m ok with doing it my way.
It must be more satisfying focusing on the music?
Oh 100%. I’m a strong believer that if you do what you love and you do it well, you have a great chance of being successful. Now that I’m exclusively signed to Shogun, maybe things will change; I’m going to be able to continue to do what I do but with the support of a great label and all the marketing and opportunities that go with it.
Congratulations on the signing!
Thanks man. It’s great to be part of a label where all artists have their own individual and varied styles but who still manage to maintain a similar ethos. I’ve been lucky enough to release on some amazing labels over the years such as Playaz/Ganja Tek, Hardware, RAM & Metalheadz, but joining Shogun feels like a new phase in my career and I’m really excited to see what it brings.
Am I right in thinking the DC Breaks collab came out on RAM after your exclusive Shogun signing?
It did, yeah. I’d been in talks with Shogun about signing for a year but had other things on the go in the meantime, including the DC Breaks collab. The Nature of Reality / Sycophant single marked the beginning of my Shogun contract so it was a bit strange that I had the RAM release two months later but that’s just how it panned out. It did pretty well, though…
It did indeed. Infinity in particular did really well; would you say it’s one of your best ever releases?
I’m really proud of that tune. I’m not sure about it being the best ever but it’s definitely right up there! We were annoyingly just held off the Beatport number one spot thanks to those bastards over at Technique (but they’re still my friends, just to be clear…) I was a little bit gutted we didn’t reach the top but to see that response was great.
I guess the Noisia collab sits firmly at the top of the pile for now?
Haha yeah maybe, that’s always going to be a hard one to beat.
So now that you’re exclusively on Shogun, can we expect an album from you?
You can indeed. Hopefully it’ll be coming out at the end of the year. But over the winter I had a problem with my right ear which meant I was out of action for two months, so it’s been a slower start than I’d hoped but I’m back in the studio working hard to get the album out, along with some other projects in the mix. I’m also playing out a lot over the next few months so I’ve got to find a way to keep focused!
An ear problem for a producer must be like a hand problem for a piano player…
Yeah I was pretty worried to be honest, especially after I Googled the condition which led me to read that I was about to go deaf and/or my ear was about to fall off! Never Google your ailments…
Now that your ear is back on track, you must be very excited about releasing an album?
I am. It’s a challenge and I’m a bit daunted to be honest; this will be my first feature length solo piece of work. It’s different now, people generally download and listen to singles, especially us DJs. So I’m not completely sure how necessary albums are in drum & bass nowadays but it’s exciting and motivating to be writing one as I grew up listening to them.
Why don’t you think they’re necessary?
Let me clarify: I think albums are essential and relevant and I believe there’s a lot of value in creating one, but the rise of digital in the music industry has changed the way people buy music; they are simply cherry picking the tracks they want, whenever they want. So in terms of selling music you can make a living by putting out frequent releases, writing a few massive tunes and touring on the back of them. When you write an album you spend all your time in the studio, potentially without any releases, which can affect how many gigs you do. The music industry has changed so much and artists rely on gigs to pay for them to be able to create. Having said that, an album can add huge amounts of credibility to you as an artist, so it’s an ever challenging balance.
Fair. Speaking of being a studio hound – what’s your drink of choice when you’re slogging it out?
Tea, of course, but I recently stopped adding sugar to it and it’s nowhere near as good. I always see people doing dry January and going on certain diets every year, but I thought to myself there’s no way I’m doing any of that, so I decided to try tea without sugar instead. I soon found out it’s just totally miserable without it! I’m persevering but I just don’t enjoy my tea as much anymore which is really depressing.
Outside the studio I gather you like a good glass of wine?
I really do! I’m a red wine drinker and have recently been drinking some fine stuff. I had a nice (and pricey) bottle at a friend’s lately. It was an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz from 2005 and it instantly became my new favourite. You can definitely tell the difference between a £4 bottle and a £40 bottle… obviously.
Back to the music… am I right in thinking you’re a rocker at heart?
I’d say so, yeah. I come from a rock background; that’s what I like listening to and that’s what I look like – I don’t look like most other drum & bass DJs! Although it might not seem like there are any parallels with drum & bass at first it’s definitely the closest of all the electronic genres which rockers and metalheads can get into as it’s more of a broken beat and there’s a lot more energy in it, which rock and metal is all about. The Prodigy were hugely instrumental in my transition from rock to drum & bass.
What’s in store for Trendkill Records this year?
An important part of my contract with Shogun is that I am still releasing through Trendkill which is really cool; it’s my baby and I’m never giving it up! I’ve got a few releases lined up on it for this year, including a beast of an EP from The Clamps. The label is not going to be something which pumps out loads of music, but last year we got out some great tunes and artists we were really happy with and we’ve had a couple of number ones. I’m proud with how it’s gone and am looking forward to getting more music out on it this year.
And what’s next from you personally?
The next thing that’s coming from me will be a remix for Eatbrain which should be good and I’m hoping my Bad Company – Oxygen remix will see the light of day at some point this year – I wrote it about three years ago!
Image: Luuk Ticheloven