Based out of their Brussels studio, Thierry Botteman and Pierre Dozin are Belgian techno duo, PROPE. Both well-renowned producers in their own rights, Thierry spent the 90s working on multi-genres projects from Trip-Hop to Underground House and was a key component of the studio teams behind Royksopp and Groove Armada. Equally, Pierre gained his 15 years of studio experience starting out in Drum n Bass and working with Robert Glasper, John Paul Jones, Seun Kuti and Fela’s Egypt80, and labels such as Mute, Ninja Tune and Deutsche Grammophon.
Released on thier own imprint, OGASM, PROPE have teamed up with the neo-classical ensemble, Echo Collective for their new EP ‘Void’. Neil Leiter and Margaret Hermant aka Echo Collective breath new life into a multitude of genres. The collective has gone on to collaborate with Nils Frahm, Johann Johansson, Stars Of the Lid and Erasure. . Their association with non-classical artists has certainly ruffled some feathers, take for instance their reinterpretations of Radiohead’s ‘Amnesiac’ or their treatment of 80s Pop sensations Erasure’s latest album, World Be Gone.
The ‘Void’ EP features four tracks, two of which are collaborations. Deeply emotive and wildly original, ‘Void’ sashays onto the floor and beguiles you with clever instrumentation and a solid percussive underbelly. ‘Backslider’ sees PROPE power forward into more recognisable Techno waters. Never far from melody, it marries the orchestration of the likes of Booka Shade with the guttural energy of Adam Beyer. ‘Another Void’ sees Echo Collective take charge for a sonic journey of some merit. Powerful and understated. Rounding off the EP is our pick ‘Neve’. Decidedly lighter in tone than the rest, it is no less energetic and dance floor-ready.
The first original version of Void will include a music video directed by the acclaimed Belgian producer Damien Chapelle, with an ambient/avant-garde vibe.
How did your association with one another come about? Did one of you unanticipatedly approach the other or had the idea of PROPE been brewing between the two of you for a while?
Two years ago, Thierry had some demos to produce and mix. He asked for a quote at the Jet Studios in Brussels, where he met Pierre, who is a well-known recording/mixing engineer and producer in Belgium; working with many international artists. At the time, Pierre was also developing a solo project, and as the friendship grew quite fast, as we shared a common taste in music, it seemed obvious to start a project together.
On the topic of associations…how did you guys get involved with Echo Collective for this release?
We always enjoy merging influences in music. On the ‘Void’ original track, we found that it would be great to add some strings to increase the organic feeling. Pierre has worked with Echo for long time in many studios for projects with K7!, Mute, Ninja Tune. So, we proposed it naturally to Neil’s and Margareth’s ensemble (Echo Collective), and they were enthusiastic to collaborate.
This EP feels somewhat more melodic than your past productions - is this a new style you are going for and aside from the collaboration aspect how did the creative process differ from previous releases?
It’s not really new. Even in the more raw productions, we always maintain a melodic approach. For this one, indeed, we wanted globally to let a more coherent melodic feeling to the listeners. The difference between the previous releases is that we have firstly written the keys, and then we recorded acoustic instruments, and after, we finalized the production, mix and mastering.
There’s no doubt that Belgium is a hot hub for talented techno producers - what artists from your native country do you think highly of?
Sure, we have in Belgium rising stars like Amelie Lens, Charlotte de Witte, and also upcoming artists such as Farrago. But we also have a strong experimental scene with artists like ssaliva, Acid Kirk…if you haven’t heard of them, check it out!
Can we expect anything more from PROPE before the end of the year?
Yes, we actually just finished our release plan for the next 6 months. First up will be a remix of an electronic anthem and then a single followed by a full EP, which will be at the start of 2019. As for labels and such, we can’t unveil who just yet!