Elite dudes Prince Club and Poupon are amongst the rising crop of young producer/DJs currently making major waves in house music. On their own they are a each unique musical minds, offering a fresh and catchy take on house, but put them together in a studio and their collaborations reach a whole new level of logikal. The proof lies in their latest releases on Riva Starr‘s Snatch! Records, including their Technique EP which was released this last week. The adventurous pairing leads to a ‘if it’s good, it’s good’ mentality in their productions, and they haven’t been strangers to any of the deep, techy and pure versions of house music. Read our exclusive interview with the man they call Poupon and find out what exactly goes down in the creative collaboration process, what fuels his aspirations for big success, and much more. Oh, and for the life of you, listen to the music.
SL: Why don’t we start out with a concise introduction of yourself
P: Real name is Ben Rosenberg, DJ name Poupon. From Toronto, Im 23 years old and I like to party
SL: Party on! How did you get started as far as producing and ultimately ending up collaborating with Prince Club?
P: My production history starts with high school, I was making hip hop beats on fruity loops and stuff like that, then I graduated up to pro tools, and I was still doing the hip hop thing. Then when I was at a university I started going to clubs and discovering house music, and I really loved it, so I started DJing and shifting my music production more to dance music. Fast forward a couple years and I met Max from Prince Club at a party I was playing in Montreal, and we got super drunk together and we became friends after that. He came to Toronto one time to DJ a few months later, we got in the studio together and the result was our first EP together on Snatch!. Ever since then we’ve been meeting up whenever we can and making music together.
SL: Nice, so as far as the relationship between you and Prince Club goes – it must be very mutual and you have a good relationship and understanding. How does this relationship translate into the studio?
P: I don’t know if I could make music with someone I wasn’t friends with, I feel like you have to have a level of friendship in the studio or your gonna make something without any sort of soul, you know? We’ll get in the studio and dick around making shit that’s never gonna go anywhere, but its fun, and it feels really natural in the studio together and it definitely never feels forced. Even if we have something we have to work on and get done it always feels super natural, and its always fun.
SL: And that’s the way it should be, it shouldn’t ever feel like a straight business sort of thing
P: Definitely, I think its crucial when you’re doing any sort of collaboration to be on a level of friendship with that person.
SL: I wanted to make a comment on your studio – from what I’ve seen it’s a very bare bones bedroom studio, but obviously you’re releasing on labels and have things going for you so its not holding you back.
P: Yeah definitely. My studio is very basic- an iMac, KRK’s, A midi keyboard and an Akai Controller, and I play bass and guitar so I’ll use those sometimes with my production. But its all a matter of preference and to each their own.
SL: What are some of the pieces of software/VST’s your currently into at the moment?
P: I use Ableton Live almost exclusively, ill record some stuff in pro tools, just cause I find the audio quality is a bit better, but I do all the grunt work in Ableton. I downloaded this new effects VST by Sugarbytes called Tornado, and its got filters, delays, reverbs, and all these other vocoder style things which is nice, using just one plug-in instead of 5 for all the effects you’ll need. I have one I use for reverb that I use to make stuff sound really big, but I don’t wanna say what it is cause I don’t want everyone to start using it (laughs)
SL: When you’re coming up with the main idea of a song what sort of a thought process are you going through?
P: It all depends, for instance, on Platinum, the first thing me and Prince Club did together. I had that Biggie acapella, and its not even an acapella, its an interview. I just ripped it off youtube, and put it in Ableton, and I had been working on another beat and I knew I wanted to put it in somehow but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use it. So when Max came over to my place I played him that biggie sample and he was like “whoa dude, that’s sick! we need to use that!”. So we basically just built the whole track, and then used the sample as the “hook”. We chopped up a whole bunch of parts of the interview and made it sound like one consecutive line, by arranging it in a way that allowed you to actually sort of sing along, so that was your “hook”
SL: In the productions you have between you and Prince Club where do the vocals come from?
P: Zach is actually the one that sang the vocals on “Technique”, also hes the one that did the vocals on Prince Club’s song “Love Strong”. [The vocal from] The Block is a sample, probably you would recognize it from “Jenny from the Block” by J-Lo, But before that it was a Grand Master Flash sample, and before that It was the the 20th century steel band, the song “heaven and hell is here on Earth”, its been sampled a million times.
SL: When you have a song you’re getting done with and you think its ready for a label release, do you send it out to any record label you think would take it or do you narrow it down to just one or two that you think it would be good for?
P: Well with this “Snatch!” stuff they already had first rights to it so we went with them, which we were happy with ’cause they’re a great label. But for other stuff, for myself, I’m still at that point where I’m making stuff and sending it out to a bunch of labels, and trying to get it signed, and to be honest it doesn’t always happen. Its hard you know, there’s a lot if people sending music out these days, and there’s a lot of good music out there, and labels can only put out so much.
SL: Between yourself and Prince Club you are definitely holding your own and distinguishing yourselves, considering there’s so much music out there. What do you think it is that makes you unique and is allowing you to have the opportunities your getting?
P: I don’t know, that’s a hard question. I think its about making music that people really want to dance to and really wanna have fun with. A lot of guys are so focused on making super serious music that all the really “intellectual heads” are going to appreciate, and sit back and stroke their chins to, but I think what you really need to be focused on is making music that’s good for DJ’s and good for clubs. When I’m making music with max he’s like, “listen to that bass, that’s gonna sound sick on a clubs system”, and that’s what we really focus on, making music that people are gonna dance to and have fun listening to. I think that’s what people turn to dance music for, they want something that there gonna be able to go out and hear and remember when somebody played that song and be like “fuck, that was a wicked moment last night”… our music, [is] fun, danceable music, and we’ve been trying to focus on stuff that’s catchy, something people can hold on to.
SL: When your preparing to do a mix or a live show, what are some guidelines as far as choosing and selecting songs so that you have a solid set with songs that are going to mesh well together?
P: Yeah Mixes are really important to me. They really help build your sound, I think a lot of people undervalue mixes, but I know Prince Club take theirs really serious too. But it really allows people to get an idea of what you’re all about when they see you. Usually when I’m doing a nice long mix I like to have a beginning, middle, and end. I like to start a little deeper and slower, build it up into some of the peak-time stuff, and come back down with some stuff you’d hear me play later at night. If it’s a shorter mix, then there’s sometimes you really want to include certain tracks, whether its your own, or by friends of yours you really want to support, which is really important to me. Because if someone sends me something or has something coming out I really want to include it because that’s a really good way to support your other friends that are making music.
SL: Badass man! So I gotta ask, what gets you excited about being in the music business and what makes you happy when you wake up in the morning?
P: Honestly, I’m grateful where I’m at and I am happy, but at the same time I always want to keep pushing and growing. I’m always striving to reach more people, put out more music, and do bigger and better shows. I wake up and think about the places so far I’ve got to play, and I’ve played Europe twice, I’ve been to the states, and all those experiences I’m so thankful for, and it fuels me, but when I wake up and go online and see more clubs I want to play, and more labels I want to release on, it really motivates me. You’ve gotta make things happen and be proactive!
SL: Well thank you very much for your time, really appreciate getting to talk to you!
P: Yeah thank you man, appreciate it too!
Prince Club & Poupon – Platinum
Prince Club & Poupon – La Nuit
Prince Club – Love Strong
Prince Club – Jaguars