October 28, 2014
I know this guy, BPro. We attempted a collaboration once, years ago. He wanted guitar in a new track that he’d been working on. I figured, “Yeah, why not?” The spontaneity of it was too much to ignore. I loved the idea of it. He’s a dance man, a producer, and I, well, I’m out there somewhere on the punk rock fringe. At first I wondered if his stuff was the kind of self-aware, tongue in cheek, feel good music that the kids laugh at while dancing like assholes at dawn in warehouses and lofts in Bushwick and Williamsburg but I soon learned that BPro is dead serious about his pop music. Unapologetic about his love of commercial plastic like Britney Spears and Katy Perry and why not? Fuck it. One man’s trash right?
So we got together one morning and gave it a shot. We met up and ventured down into the cramped and musty basement practice space that I keep in the aforementioned Williamsburg. He plugged in his Mac and pumped out a repetitive, up-beat pop number that I remember being… actually I don’t remember what it sounded like other than it was synth heavy and repetitive (he had it on a loop so I could catch a groove and find the magic). I let it play for a while and tried my best but nothing I was doing made any sense. I tried different guitar effects pedals. I plugged into different amps, bashing away at various chords until I finally heard him say…
“Can you do something… I don’t know… like Motley Crue?”
When he said those words I knew we were doomed. I sat there for a second until I got an idea! I picked up a broken drum stick from the floor, looked up, and simply said… “Press record.” For the next 15 minutes I molested that instrument far beyond what was right and proper. Going to another place, I closed my eyes and made noises, all sorts of noises. Some sweet. Mostly jagged. But in my mind I figured that somewhere deep in all that sound, in that heap of wild vibrations, there would be a useable piece, an interesting 5 or 6 seconds that could be isolated and manipulated. Filtered, layered or looped into the track and therefore making this collaboration fruitful.
When I finally finished my assault I looked over at BPro, his body language akin to that of a trapped animal. We both knew it wasn’t to be.
He later told me that he did what I had mentioned and sampled a part of my tirade, burying it somewhere in the track but I think he was just humoring me. Anyways, that was one time when experimental and popular music almost made it work. Since then I’ve stayed in my comfort zone for the most part and from the looks of it, so has BPro. Here’s his latest video for “Dirty.” At first I didn’t know how to take this. Was he paying homage to Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me”? Was he not making any facial expressions on purpose or was that some sort of statement? I’m still perplexed by this and I’m sure BPro isn’t meaning to confuse. American pop historically doesn’t have any other deeper meanings besides whatever the title of the track is and apparently “Dirty” is just that. Maybe Christina Aguilera knows.
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