It’s good when the music scene surprises you. Wellingborough’s idiosyncratic Props popped up out of nowhere earlier this year. Off-kilter lo-fi digital pop-psych might cover it as a description, with various reference points from the 80s, 90s, and 00s thrown in the mix. It’s great that this is where music can go in 2019, and still sound gloriously fresh.
Curiosity got the better of New Boots, so we got the keyboard working for an interview…
Hello Props. Who are you, and where are you based?
I’m Mark. I’m in and out of London a lot nowadays, but most of my music is still made in my old bedroom at my mum and dad’s house in Wellingborough. There’s something nostalgic and comfortable about being there which makes being imaginative and experimental easy – and they don’t mind me making noise too much…
How/why/what/when did you get this project together?
This should have happened years ago but I think laziness, ironically, had a positive part to play. I’d write an idea for a tune and then just abandon it, because I thought I had something better to do. But then I gradually started stitching the good bits together and decided it sounded okay!
How would you describe your sound? Who do you feel are your main influences?
Weird alternative psych pop I guess. Odd sounds, cheerful melodies, sarcastic and usually pessimistic lyrics. When I was younger, classic US emo-pop was my jam, which I think influences my desire to find a killer hook. Nowadays my Spotify playlist covers everything from new indie bangers to weird new jazz… My new favourite artist is Hobo Johnson. He’s so fun.
What was the reaction to those two song releases earlier in 2019 [‘Wired’ and ‘House on Fire’]?
Considering I did all the production/artwork/mixing etc. myself and the fact that hardly anyone I know is aware that I’ve been releasing songs, it’s been quite good!
Tell us everything about this new one, ‘You Don’t Care’.
This one’s only been in the pipeline for about a year and a half [everything else is way older]. It’s pretty miserable, political and a bit stupid. When I wrote it, I’d just come across the band Superorganism and I accidentally (on purpose) copied their kind of trippy and colourful production style.
Any plans for live shows?
Eventually. I’ve only got so many limbs, so I’m working out how I can play my stuff live. And obviously I don’t want to be employing musicians, because I’m skint enough as it is!
Do you identify with a wider musical scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourites?
I’m a self confessed bedroom musician at the moment, but Slowthai is absolutely killing it. Such a vibe for the times.
What has been your favourite Props moment of the past year?
I’ve been sitting on these tunes for a while, pretty nervous about putting anything with my voice on into the world. Getting some pretty positive industry responses has been a boost…
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
I’m really good at discovering stuff that other people have known about for years and getting hooked on it. So Frank Turner Positive Songs For Negative People.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I’ve always wanted to put an album of my own stuff out. I’m about half way there…
You Don’t Care is out now via the usual digital spots