SAMA Award nominated and Globally recognised Nate Raubenheimer (SA) better known as Protoculture originally a Psy-Trance DJ/Producer has successfully moved on to a more Progressive sound in recent years. He has been noted as a great talent in the dance music scene by the world’s number one DJ himself, Armin van Buuren who regularly features Protoculture’s music on his ‘A State of Trance’ radio show.
While in SA for the kick off of his Global Tour ASOT 500, Armin recruited Protoculture to work with and play alongside him. I touched base with Protoculture while hard at work in the studio to find out what getting the opportunity to be recognised by Armin meant to him and what the experience means for his career. He also lets me in on what he thought of Armin’s sets and divulges a hint of his future plans that include the pending release of his new album.
What is your take on the Progressive Trance culture in South Africa and how do you feel our production standards measure up globally?
There’s been a big gap in the market for a number of years now. The Progressive and Trance scene used to be pretty big in SA but seems to have taken a back seat over the last few years. It’s definitely making a comeback though. For me, my shift from Psy-Trance to Trance and Progressive was out of necessity to explore new ideas and let my style, which has always been more melodic and uplifting a chance to flourish. There are a lot of EDM genres which kind of went very hard and dark over the last year or two.
As for local production it’s definitely top notch. I’m signed to Armada Music one the biggest labels around at the moment. Local Cape Town boy, Jason Van Wyk has been doing really well and is signed with First State Music under the Black Hole Recordings banner (Tiesto’s label). As for the promoters and event production ASOT 500 was amazing and definitely on an international level.
How did you first come into personal contact with Armin Van Buuren (AVB) and how does it feel to know that he recognises you on quote as ‘a great talent’?
It started off with him supporting a remix I had one for Liquid Soul’s “Devotion”. It was a more progressive cross over style remix and I’d been trying to do something different like that for a while. I was very surprised to hear that it had featured on two episodes in a row.
I was contacted by Max Graham after that with a proposal to do some work together. After that things just fell into place from there. Max and I did some remixes together followed by a single for Max’s Re*Brand records also a sub-label of Armada. Every track I have done since then has been supported by Armin on his ‘A State of Trance’ radio show. He contacted Max and me to remix “Orbion” from his last album “Mirage”.
That sparked off the dialogue between us. It was pretty amazing getting to know Armin personally especially since he is the world’s number one DJ. It’s exciting and almost intimidating although he’s such an incredibly modest and likeable person. It’s been a pleasure working with him, both on the music and the tour.
What were your expectations of the two ASOT 500 parties in SA and what about the events surprised or impressed you?
I knew it would be a big deal. The dedication and excitement of ASOT supporters the world over is second to none. I wasn’t sure of what to expect in SA though it turned out to be pretty insane. The crowds at both events were brilliant people were really getting into it and were very excited. The vibe in Johannesburg was especially was very electric.
From your personal point of view, what did you think of AVB’s sets at the ASOT500 events?
I really enjoyed it. He is the number one for a reason. He’s got a remarkable grasp of what the crowd wants and you can see that he loves what he does. I really loved the Cape Town set, people went nuts for that.
Where can we see you headed career wise and expect from you in the next year or so?
The show was broadcast to over ten million people and my set seemed to be received very well. So I’m hoping to get a lot of gigs based on this. I have already closed a few bookings this week, including a performance with Gareth Emery in Tokyo at Club Ageha in June.
Music wise, this has definitely proven to me that I’m on the right path at the moment. I think it’s given me a lot of confidence to just follow my heart and write the music that I want to write. I have some new stuff in the pipeline including some remixes for Anjuabeats (Above and Beyond’s label) and Perfecto (Paul Oakenfold’s label) followed by some new Protoculture singles including an awesome vocal track with the very talented Shannon Hurley from Lovers and Poets. I’m hoping to start thinking about an album towards the end of the year as well.
Nate has also played alongside other international heavyweight from the likes of Paul van Dyk, Sasha, John 00Flemming, Orbital, Future Sound of London, Juno Reactor and Sander Van Doorn. If you are already a fan or would like to find out more you can check him out on www.protoculture.fm or follow him on his Facebook page
INTERVIEWER: Mary Honeychild