South Londoner props occupies a rarefield space in the music scene, his singular style uniting bedroom pop infectiousness, manic pop-punk energy and elements of noise rock formatted for the alt-pop era. It’s an unconventional hybrid of influences, but one that’s building momentum with airplay from Radio 1, BBC Introducing, 6 Music, Radio X, and Apple Music, where Sir Elton John said simply, “I love it!”
Now props shares his brand new single ‘before you let go’, which previews the November 11th release of his biggest project to date, his 10-track mixtape ‘songs’.
When you hear the jangly acoustic guitar that introduces ‘before you let go’, you’ll have an idea of where the song is going – but props isn’t one to do the obvious. Suddenly it’s interrupted by ruptured screams and a shoegaze wall-of-sound before again switching back-and-forth with its original style. And then once again it takes you by surprise by adding sweet melodic synths and a rush of punk melody into the mix. The result is a collision course of genres which will broadly appeal to fans who adore a touch of the unexpected in their music. Props wrote and produced the song with Jamie Biles (Holly Humberstone, Miles Kane).
props says, “Is it just me or does it feel like the cliff edge is approaching faster every day? ‘before you let go’ is about getting that feeling off your chest and wanting to make the planet a nicer place, but at a time when we’re all programmed to turn on Netflix and zone out completely. I guess it’s appropriate then that you can just interpret these lyrics as a cute, nostalgic break-up song if you like.”
‘before you let go’ provides a taste of the esoteric adventures that props explores throughout the ‘songs’ mixtape. Racing through 10 songs in fewer than 24 minutes, the mixtape’s sonic scope is even wider and wilder than indicated by the single. Yet props brings a cohesive artistic vision to the set, his home-cooked productions bursting with maximalist energy and a fluorescent ambience as he mixes live instrumentation with loops and programmed beats.
Influenced by Still Woozy, Mura Masa, Superorganism and Beck, props started playing drums and trombone during childhood before branching out to play… well, almost everything imaginable. He started self-releasing music with his 2020 debut EP ‘Wired’, while subsequent tracks such as ‘Easy’ have graced numerous Spotify playlists and even featured
on ‘Made In Chelsea’. He regularly posts one-man self-filmed sessions to social media, which see him playing guitar, bass, synths, drums and percussion to bring his songs to life. Now props is also planning his debut live show
Who were your musical influences growing up?
“Whenever anyone asked me my favourite bands I’d always say “you won’t have heard of them”. You won’t either but let’s try anyway: Jack’s Mannequin, The Rocket Summer, Relient K, Mutemath, Something Corporate. Emo-pop-punk kinda vibes. I was really into the Red Hot Chili Peppers too. You might have heard of them?”
Tell us about your new single ‘before you let go’ and working with Jamie Biles…
“Me and Jamie go way back to when we were in a weird, loud jazz band together. He’s loves getting experimental in the studio and ended up screaming whilst I was shout-rapping (it’s very subtle). We wrote it with a spare bit of studio time and it quickly became a kind of nostalgic break up song, which is ironic because we’re both in quite happy relationships (not with each other, sadly)”.
You’ve got a mixtape coming out next month – what can you tell us about it?
“It’s meant to mark this end of the props era. It’s basically most of the songs I have out already, plus an extra one, and they’ve all been me tentatively testing the water with slightly cryptic lyrics about the state of the world. The artwork is a collage of all the single artwork put together on a CD (I like CDs)”.
Describe your music in 3 words
“Really, really good”.
If you could collaborate with any other artist – who would that be?
“I reckon me and Nicki Minaj would do a sick collab. Joking aside, other than nice producers I actually quite like making stuff on my own. Cute eh?”
You’re very active on social media to bring your songs to life playing various instruments, how important is this in building a connection with your audience?
“They seem to like it? I guess it’s nice to show what goes into making a song and that I can (badly) play those instruments. The problems of not having a band…”
If you had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
“Making really good beans on toast”.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
“Yes! I’ve done one gig so far which was a tiny festival on a wine estate where no one listened (blame the wine). This next one will be much better. It’s on Friday 17th February at Notting Hill Arts Club in LDN”.
By Siân Parker