There’s an inspired and refreshed energy to The Prototypes’ Nick White right now.
Even in the shadow of a hectic, non-stop US tour and a whole stack of jet leg hanging over him, and a new baby en route in a matter of weeks, he’s buzzing and more enthusiastic than I’ve ever known him to be.
It’s down to a number of reasons…
After numerous years of uncertainty and weirdness, he feels we’re finally back on track post covid and his tour diary is looking like it used to pre-2020. This has powered up his passion for the music, the creative process and his and Prototypes partner Chris Garvey’s role within the entire scene.
Batteries fully charged, their energy is reflected in their latest single Unplug The Clock, a walloping slab of dancefloor sledgehammerism that’s been a key intro tune for some time now.
There’s more… Impending fatherhood and a new sober approach to life have galvanized this sense of inspiration and refreshed energy to levels he’s not experienced in years. So tangible you can feel it in this exclusive, sense-blurring 4-deck mix, read on and experience the energy yourself as Nick tells us where he’s at personally in spring 2023 and what The Prototypes have in store for the rest of the year…
Three years ago. Pretty much to the day we’re talking now, you did that legendary 24 hour mix!
Yeah man! April 17 wasn’t it. It’s nuts that it’s been so long.
Feels like a lifetime ago
It does, but it lingers in the background for me. It’s taken me a long time to find my feet again, I totally lost my love for the music completely. Like literally, ‘Fuck this shit, I don’t want to do it anymore.’
Yeah to have the rug pulled rom your feet when you tour so heavily. There’s a distrust like is this gonna happen again?
Totally that. I fucking love DJing man. I think me saying I didn’t love it any more was actually me pushing it away so I didn’t get hurt even more than I was. For anyone in this scene – DJ, MC, promoter, raver – if you spent your life in raves and clubs then it was such a major loss. It really was painful and that’s taken time to heal.
Back to the future – you’re back from a massive US tour and I think you’ve had a few since things have opened again? How has that been? D&B is gaining a lot of popularity over there right now.
It’s interesting. We’ve done the club shows for World Of Drum & Bass, the underground side, and we’ve done the massive mainstream events where D&B is a minority. I did a massive one in LA in October for Halloween and we were the only drum & bass act on the line-up. I was quite surprised. I’d heard it was on the rise over there but D&B was so under represented. But when I played, the reaction was so much better than it had been at previous ones. I played hard too. I didn’t have to win them over with euphoric shit.
So yeah it’s got a lot better. And the club shows too. The tour we did for World Of Drum & Bass was one of the best. The clubs were really busy. Even in really small towns on week nights, there was a vibe. If the crews started working together more out there, drum & bass could be massive. But they don’t.
SS has really pushed drum & bass across the smaller towns. He was an early supporter of The Prototypes and you’ve been part of that movement he’s created
I’ve got the utmost respect for him. I’ve said it before but I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for what he’s done with drum & bass. He runs these tours entirely on his own. Flights, hotels, arranging the gigs, the promoters, the drivers. The lot.
So many moving parts!
It’s a lot man. And he’s out there for six weeks. Between me and Chris, we were out there for two and a half weeks. He’s there for the whole thing, working and playing every night. You’ve got to take your hat off to him. He’s been digging the foundations. Those regional shows in the middle of nowhere are key in every country, especially over there and he’s been on that forever. And it’s great to see things working out there. All of a sudden, people are getting it.
I hope it’s not flash in the pan. They’ve got their own headliners who can set examples for the next generation and not just shipping in big names from the UK
For sure man. Reaper is smashing it out there. Justin. Boxplot. Bensley. It’s exciting watching this new league of young artists who haven’t got anyone in front of them. Like over here we’ve got our founders, our pioneers, and respect is paid to that their legacy. They’ve set the scene for generations and generations over here. But in the US it’s not that way, there’s no hierarchy out there or earning your stripes like there was here when we broke through.
It’s a blank canvas!
Yeah totally. It’s great to see it happening and getting bigger with every trip over there.
Especially your last tour as I believe that was your first tour sober, right?
Correct. I woke up January 1 and said to my missus, ‘I’ve had enough.’ She was like, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ I’d tried so many times and not been able to do it. But between Jan 1 and Feb 26 I drank alcohol three times. Then from Feb 26 I was done. I stopped entirely. Today is my 53rd day as a T-total person. That’s the longest I’ve been without a drink since I was about 14.
Congratulations! That’s amazing. I know first hand how hard you drank.
Yeah I was thinking about this earlier. When I woke up on your hotel room floor!
Yup! But while those type of tear-ups happen a couple of times a year for me. That was you on the road all the time…
This was the problem. It stopped being fun. A lot of my friends who’d been coming to shows with me since before The Prototypes were like, ‘Mate, you need to slow down, we’re not getting any younger, we’ve lost a lot of good people, you’re going too hard.’ They were right. It was getting out of hand.
How did you feel hearing that?
At first I was like, ‘Fucking whatever. Cheer up, I’m alright.’ It took a lot of mistakes and a lot of hard truths for me to accept it. Especially on tour last year. That was a rough one. You couldn’t tell from the shows. We were smashing them. But that void between gigs was very hard to deal with. I’d gone from not playing to anyone for two years on lockdown to playing massive shows to thousands of people – what am I going to do? I was going 10 times harder than I was before lockdown. It was destructive. I was getting back home and just couldn’t cope with it.
It takes a lot to accept and face that. Must have taken a lot of self reflection?
I’ve put the work in man. I was putting the work in when I was drinking but I just couldn’t break the cycle. I was never an every day drinker but when I did drink it would be at a very extreme level. I’d drink at the gig, after the gig, the next day while still awake on the way to the gig, then drink at the next gig. Where does it stop? And I felt it didn’t need to stop. My tolerance was so high, I felt I could carry on going. But when I stopped drinking I’d feel like absolute shit. So it had to come to a head.
Are you feeling other benefits? Better sleep? Clearer head? Less stressed, and more patient with people?
Definitely got more patience! Without a doubt. The main thing for me is that my family life is wicked and I’ve really got the fire back for music. I’m hungry for what I do. I hadn’t been like that for four or five years. I was lost in a haze of touring and partying. I know Chris has been sober for a good few months now too. He wasn’t like me with the booze at all, but he’s completely clean now. For me it was like, ‘This is what I do.’ But it’s not. I’m paid to perform. I’m paid to give the dancefloor their best night. The partying thing is just a massive distraction.
To be honest, it’s a great feeling now I’ve taken that leap. I’m genuinely scared of what would happen if I go back to drinking. I’ve had that self-reflection time and I’m truly shocked that I’ve made it here alive. The states I was in! One night, something goes wrong, you’re thousands of miles away from home… Anything can happen. It’s a total waste. I’m so glad I’m out of that cycle now.
I’m glad that cycle is breaking full stop. And it’s only in place because of generations setting examples. We all got smashed because the generation of DJs before us did. They got fucked because rock bands did. It’s been going on since the 60s. And it’s finally stopping. The new generation have a very different set of reference points and relationship with drugs
You’re bang on. Something struck me in a previous interview with you; you told me about Bou and how he’s clean and how he saved his money.
He bought a car for his dad. Quite a few years ago now. One of the most screwed-on heads in the game.
That’s right. I thought that was wicked and always think about that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret anything. But I’ve been so reckless with my cash, and it’s because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. With my baby boy on the way, my stepson and my missus, I need to make something of myself and stack a bit of paper. And keep making music that I love!
Yes! Like Unplug The Clock. Is that your first single since album?
The second one. We released Interaction on Bassrush about six months ago. This is the first big club single though. We’ve been playing it for about a year as our intro tune and it always kicks off. It’s a bit of a different vibe to what we’ve done. To me it reminds me of the older Sub Focus vibes which are my favourite Sub Focus vibes. It’s a banger and it’s going down really well.
What’s up next?
We’re hoping our remix of Bad Company’s Pulse will eventually come out. So that’s wicked. There’ll be more music, and we’re both working on our own solo projects too, but really we’re mainly focused on doing loads and loads of DJ shows this year. We’ve done sporadic bursts here and there since lockdown so this year we’re doing a lot of tours and really hitting the road.
I’m organising a tour across Europe called Triple X which is extended sets by us with MC combinations. We’re hitting Estonia, Hungary, two big shows in the UK and loads more. We’re looking at some other spots and maybe some boat parties.
You’ve done some legendary boat parties over the years!
Yeah they’re definitely on the cards. Me and SS are planning a World Of Drum & Bass boat party as well so that’s happening down the line.
You’re organising this tour like SS organises his World Of Drum & Bass tours!
Yeah man, he’s inspiring. I spent a lot of time with him when I’m away and he’s always looked out for me and had my back and encouraged me to make the right decision. He checks in on me and if I make mistakes he’s always forgiven me. Now I’ve got my head right, it’s time to properly come back and do what we do. He said, ‘I know you’re a hustler and you can make these things happen.’ Coming back from the states was inspirational. It’s time to get back to doing what I’ve always loved doing and been good at. Putting on events and being really creative on that side of things.
Will we see that energy on the label Get Hype?
Potentially. We took our foot off the gas with that when we signed the album with another label. We wanted that to get to a bigger audience than Get Hype could and for a team to take on more of the label work. It was a strange time, though.
Covid hit pretty much on the week of the release didn’t it?
More or less. And because of covid we’ll never really know how well that album could have done in the clubs and with DJs. A lot of those tracks didn’t get played in clubs until they were at least 18 months or two years old. So we only had streaming numbers to go by.
Has that made you consider streaming stats in a different way?
I guess maybe a little but we were forced to focus on stats working with a bigger label and everything was geared towards more streams, more streams, more streams. And to be honest? That’s where I started to lose interest. It was great when Reason was Radio 1 A-listed. Our streams went mental. But soon enough they went back down. It was like, ‘Why are we stressing? We’re still getting booked and that’s not down to streams, that’s because promoters want to book us because we can smash up a rave!’
Yeah that’s the spirit! That’s the real feedback! I did like Reason, though. It was very nostalgic during a poignant time. Had a Bicep vibe to it. I think it was a very tasteful crossover and congratulations on that. Not all crossovers are tasteful.
Thanks man. I appreciate that. It’s one of my favourite tunes we’ve done. We’d love to do more if the context or the inspiration is right. You can’t force something like that. Lockdown helped with that one. When Greg James first played it he was like, ‘This is for everyone struggling during lockdown’ and that underlined things for people. It was a silver lining during a dark time for sure.
Massively. So what’s going down with this mix?
It’s inspired by the tour I’ve just come back off. Everyone was playing amazing music. It was me, SS, Futurebound, Matrix, DJ Craze, Simon Bassline Smith, the Born On Road guys. A lot of people I haven’t seen for years. It’s cool on tour, you’re all vibing off each other and also competing to see who’s going to smash it the hardest.
I did two runs. On the first one I was finding my feet and hadn’t played a show for a while, but I was listening to everyone’s sets and seeing the crowds reactions to the harder, breakier tunes which are going down well out there. So I went back after that first run, restructured my set and went back and smashed it and the mix is a bit of a reflection of that with a bunch of classics and exclusives thrown in there.
All in 30 mins?
It’s a bit an onslaught, it’s four decks and yeah… I threw everything at it. I hope you like it!