D.C. duo Protect-U is doing amazing terms on their own terms; originally debuting on the brilliant Future Times (which they co-founded), the group has taken their distinct deluge of sounds to the brilliant label of Planet Mu. Unquestionably original with an impending sense of new and old clashing together in their music, Protect-U is making a huge impression on listeners worldwide with their acerbic tastes and tenacious live shows. The duo has graced URB with an exclusive mix of amazingly weird and vivid tunes (including Japanese retrofuturistic classics), which matches their music perfectly. In addition to the mix, we interviewed them to chat about their origins, their journey to Planet Mu and what’s next to come. Check out the interview and mix after the jump.
URB: Tell us about the origins of the group; how did you two meet and become the group that you are today?
MIKE: Aaron and I have been friends for years. We met while going to school in DC and then crossed-paths subsequently in various groups and musical projects that played together in town. We toured in a band together for a couple of years and when that dried up, we decided to start collaborating together using an MPC sampler and some keyboards and drum machines we found for cheap or borrowed from friends. Lots of hours spent toiling around and countless megabytes of weird demos later, we decided to start playing our music live and recording proper tracks. In 2008 I joined up with Andrew (Field-Pickering, of Maxmillion Dunbar/Beautiful Swimmers) and started doing the Future Times label for real, and Protect-U naturally ended up releasing material on the label.
URB: How did you link up with the likes of Planet Mu?
AARON: Mike Paradinas (who runs Planet Mu) contacted us shortly after the release of our first single, “Double Rainbow,” which came out on Future Times. He just said he liked the tracks and was curious what else we were up to. After that, we kept in touch and something finally worked out. It was all very organic and cool and whatever.
URB: Your sound is drawn upon a variety of retro and analog influences in your release on Planet Mu; what brought you to make music at the present time that’s evocative of a golden era of electronic music?
MIKE: I don’t think our music necessarily harkens to a particular point in time. I think there are lots of ideas subconsciously present and we try to just let our stuff ooze out on its own. What is the golden age of electronic music? And who or what are we talking about? Moog, Subnotnick, Buchla? Ciani? Moroder? Phuture? The Belleville Three? Bunker Records? To us there are many amazing points in the past. We’re record geeks for sure, but like a lot of stuff on Future Times, we are focused on doing our thing in the here and now, and we’re not really all that interested in aiming for anything retro. Of course, a TR-707 brings to mind the sound of 80s house music, so its going to sound familiar from that standpoint. But just because some band uses a Marshall amp and Fender Strat doesn’t mean they’re always going for some Hendrix shit.
URB: Tell us about the music scene in D.C; from afar it seems like it’s definitely thriving in some ways.
MIKE: People in DC have always done their thing, and most of the time, for the right reasons. This means working hard on your music and art, and doing it your way and getting together with others and just making it happen. Everything else after that is a total bonus. Happy to be part of the DC continuum of people working in this mode, and real lucky that we’ve been able to do Future Times within this context so far and its worked out alright!
URB: What’s next for Protect-U?
AARON: We’re working on a bunch of new music, hopefully for a full-length.
URB: Finally, tell us about the mix you’ve made for URB.
MIKE: Aaron and I pulled out a bunch of records and did this mix casual style. No beat-mixing or whatever. Just some slightly leftfield dubby tunes, some new age cuts, a couple of 80s Japanese faves, some ambient British techno, and a few killers from friends and cohorts out there.
URB – A Protect-U Exclusive Mix – DOWNLOAD HERE
Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos “Sunshine” (RVNG Intl., 2012)
Co La “Belgian Pillow” (NNA Tapes, 2011)
Ruts DC “Accusation” (Bohemian, 1983)
Garry Hughes “Dandenong (Speed Up)” (Audion, 1986)
Testpattern “Ryugu” (Yen, 1983)
Y.M.O. “Kai-Koh” (Alfa, 1983)
Innergaze “Moon In My Room” (Cititrax, 2012)
Fugue “Interlagos” (Likemind, 1994)
Jackie Mittoo “Ayatollah” (Basic Replay, 2005)
Jason Urick “Fussing & Fighting” (Thrill Jockey, 2010)