Ben Prok and James Fitch, better known as Prok & Fitch, have established themselves as leaders in house music, consistently producing Beatport Top 10’s, managing their own flourishing label Floorplay Music, and smashing clubs worldwide with their alluring, unadulterated sound.
In the DJ booth, it’s all about the groove. The boys have worked with house legends Todd Terry, Roger Sanchez, Ben Westbeech and Moby, with remixes garnering support from major players Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Tiesto, and Steve Angello.
Prok & Fitch’s silky smooth rhythm and captivating bass lines are something to be celebrated…it’s no wonder the duo have graced the decks at some of the most prestigious clubs in the world like Space (Ibiza), Sankeys (Manchester), Cielo (New York), and regularly spinning sets at the legendary Ministry Of Sound (London). Mannix caught up with them to discuss all things music….
We are here at Amsterdam. What does ADE mean to you?
BP: It’s a very cool opportunity to meet many friends from the music industry and to catch up with other guys that you have not actually met before. Of course it is also a good place to drop and check out some new music as there are many events to check out.
JF: And it’s about having drinks at night and enjoying other DJs and producers at work!
You are part of the Toolroom family. What does that label mean to you?
BP: We are really proud to be part of it as it is one of the biggest independent labels around that puts out good house music constantly. We are working for them for more than two years now, they support us, they look after us and of course they put out the music we want to release. Also we do a lot of live events for them, so all in all we feel very comfortable being with them!
Your sound is very peak-time and powerful House music. Is that your personal style or are you planning to develop into other genres in the future?
BP: Our music will always have a lot of energy. That’s for sure. We both have a House music background so we love House in its purest form. We are happy to see that this pure kinda music is coming back these days. In the same time we move forward and will also release some tracks that are a little bit more Techno influenced in the future. It still will be driving and chunky, maybe not as uplifting but still peak-time music.
So let’s take a step back: How did you get in touch with music and where and when did you actually meet?
BP: We met in 2007. I was working in a record shop and James was already producing. We kept chatting about House music and then did our first track together, which got signed by Roger Sanchez straight away.
When you are in the studio, how do you work?
JF: We are always in the studio together and at first we discuss ideas and basics. Then we move on with structures and the track gets more precise with each step we take.
BP: James is very talented and focused on the technical side of things. He’s a genius at this and that of course is a very important part of our production.
What’s your relationship with remixes? Like or dislike?
BP: Two years after we met we had a phase where we did many remixes – probably about 20 a year. It was important to us financially as the remixes got us some money. Nowadays we still do remixes but not far as many as we used to do. We are very selective with it now and make sure the track is on the right label. The original has to be outstanding or we need to have a concrete idea how to make it even better to accept remixes today. In the same time we have more and more focused on our own tracks and sound.
Today it is quite easy to produce a record as well as putting it out. What do you say concerning the quality of sound that’s around these days?
JF: I would say that with 95% of the promos we get sent, the quality of music is not good. A tune has to be well produced to sound good in the club. So it’s really not enough to know about producing a track, you also have to be aware of the importance of mixing and mastering a track. Many tracks we get sent are probably sounding OK in the studio but sound awful in a club. So we can’t play out these tracks.
Ben you have worked in a record shop and on the other hand side have grown with your project within the digital era. What do you think about that?
BP: Unfortunately not many record shops are left. I loved working there and I also miss having a record box with me at my gigs but I have to say that the digital era is a good thing for me because it opened doors for many young producers who are creative, do their own beats and get used to new programs or software. That’s not a bad thing at all. We also do a lot of edits of other guys’ tracks so that’s obviously also much easier than it used to be before. These edits are an important part of our DJ sets, so it’s another cool thing about the digital era.
JF: It’s good and bad. The advantages Ben mentioned are fact but the music industry is moving on much faster than it used to be back in the day. If you put out a tune today, next week it is old. This is because of the immense output of tunes each and every week. In the past it was possible to build up a record and it got played for a very long time. That’s much harder today. Take ‘that big summer record’ that we used to have only a few years back. There is not such a record that is constantly played from June till end of September.
As an act in the digital era, piracy must be a subject that affects you, right?
BP: Yes, of course but I think that is something you have to deal with. Until there are measures and ways we can stop it, this situation will more or less stay like it is now. We have to be familiar with it.
JF: It may sound strange, but I think acts can even benefit from it. There are young kids sitting in their bedrooms who can’t afford to buy music and get in touch with an artist by downloading their music. These kids of course grow up and eventually follow their favourite producers and pay for gigs or music later on. Also the tracks get a much wider audience because they are spread over the net. I know of artists that in fact got big because of this. I’m not saying piracy is a good thing at all, it affects many parts of our life in a negative way but there are some small positive things with it too and we have to see this.
So what’s coming up from you in the next few weeks and months?
BP: We have a tour all over South Africa in November that we are really looking forward to very much!
JF: Production wise we have another track coming out on Toolroom Records. It will surprise a few people as it is a lot tougher than our usual sound but still has trademark Prok & Fitch elements in it! Also we have got a couple of remixes around the corner that we are currently testing out on the road. Reactions have been fantastic so far, so we are happy with it!