Most music today, but not all, is pretty much disposable. It’s sad, knowing that the balance between classics and hot joints will be determined by the current generation of listeners, who buy women dranks now so that they can “superman” them later. As I get older I wonder where the art in music has gone, and everyday I have trouble identifying the differences between the gimmicks and the organic . Point blank commercialism has left the game pretty mediocre right now. Yet, for music lovers alike hope still lingers. Check it, mix one part hip-hop with electronic rock and alternative and you’ve got a hypnotic protonic narcotic…something hot, real, dope and additive… PROTON.
Clutch: For people who don’t know who ya’ll are Proton is made of?
Larry Proton: Thomas and Larry. I’m from Atlanta. Thomas is from Chicago. We went to college together and started doing music, known each other pretty much our whole lives – we are definitely riding the sense of simple subject matter, but not put so simple. Its so disgusting right now, everyone wants to be so mindless. As far as the enjoyment of entertainment, we have a difficult time thinking like that so we’re finding our balance between what people want and what we wanna give them.
Clutch: Thomas that’s cool?
Tommy Proton: That’s cool wit me!
Clutch: I think its actually cool that ya’ll are unapologetic in saying that – its cool that you’re actually saying “This is where we stand”, but not trying to bash people over the head.
Larry Proton: Oh no no no, definitely not that. I respect some of the simpler artist. If I could do it I would throw some of that stuff in there, but I have a difficult time thinking like a child all the time…I think that’s a talent man.
Clutch: On a slightly sadder note Thomas you’re from Chicago – is your heart there right now?
Tommy Proton: Yea man I love Bernie Mac, that’s unfortunate
Clutch: The first song I heard was “Jheri Kurl” maybe like 2 years ago – all I could think of was Pulp Fiction and Samuel Jackson. Where did that come from?
Larry Proton: That shit came from …that shit came from man, my Dad! My dad had a fuggin Jheri Kurl for like 30 years…he got it cut.
Tommy Proton: Just let the shit go.
Larry Proton: Had it up until just before we did that song. You know, I was thinking about hard ass dudes with Jheri Kurls like Sho’Nuff, Kurtis Blow – them were some hard ass dudes with some greasy-ass-shag curls – Ice Cube…
Clutch: Frenchie from In Living Color!
Larry Proton: Man that shit was so funny. See man, it was one of those styles so androgynous and gay – but some of the hardest ni**as had Jheri-Kurls – and nowadays everyone wanna be retro
Clutch: Someone will do it, but its gonna take someone with monster balls to do it, come out the house with activator in hand, Soul Glo ready to go.
Larry Proton: What’s funny actually, shortly after we made that song, at one of the Broke & Boujee parties…
Larry Proton: This one dude came w/ the Jheri Kurl wig on with the Ricky Jersey from Boyz N Da Hood. I’m dead ass serious.
Clutch: With this global warming you can’t do that though, you walk out the door and your shit will dry up on your head
So I took some names from Magazine Dreamz, who could rock a Jheri Kurl better?
a) Janelle Monae,
c) Kelis, or
d) Dania Ramirez
Larry Proton: Uhhhh oop! Go head Thomas! I know who Imma go wit!
Tommy Proton: I gotta say, if anyone is gonna pull it off – Kelis.
Larry Proton: That was exactly what I was gonna say
ClutchMag: Man see I would of thought you’d say Janelle cause she pulling off that pompadour like it ain’t nuthin,
Larry Proton: Y’know Janelle I just don’t think the Jheri-Kurl would work with the black/white ensemble as well.
Clutch: That’s true
Tommy Proton: It would get the back of her tuxedo wet.
ClutchMag: She too crisp, too clean. It would mess up her ensemble, she ain’t goin’ for that.
Larry Proton: Nah – hell nah.
Larry Proton: But you did forget one choice that i would of probaly said more than Kelis, like Santogold like I hate her hair – anything else she does I love. Man it looked like someone on 227 could of rocked it. I mean she’s dope now. Don’t get me wrong she’s talented as shit!
Clutch: So heres the next question cause we could talk about Jheri Kurls all day apparently So ya’ll went from vintage veg, girls ghetto shit and state of the art – how would you define the progression your style, names anything that’s changed since vintage vegetarians?
Larry Proton: My opinion is we really really pushed the envelope as far as production, lyrical content, – like at that time we really like at that time we were in our own reality…like you know.
Clutch: You’re just . . . un-compromised, you just jump in the wind at that point.
Larry Proton: Right, exactly, just the point that you’re unapologetic to anything, i should be honest, that’s when we both were undergrad that was a really interesting time, for me – we really weren’t concerned about making music but to please anybody but ourselves.
Clutch: Where did ya’ll go to school – where was this fertile ground?
Larry Proton: We went to Clark (Clark Atlanta University) man.
Clutch: Ok… so working on your Laptop – what’s your favorite machine and application?
Tommy Proton: What about Logic?
Larry Proton: Garageband
ClutchMag: No GarageBand! Nothing obvious.
Larry Proton: So nothing music related?
Clutch: You a musician – you can’t call that.
Larry Proton: I just switched to FireFox – that shit is just a lot more convenient and easier to set up.
Tommy Proton: I need to update my iMovie, so I can start doing my video blogs with a little camera n shit
Clutch: Like Nikki Jean…
Tommy Proton: Exactly…yea, if not that I’d have to say its this shit called AudioHijack.
Clutch: MMmmmm! Wow, why’d you say AudioHijack – I know what it is…why is that your favorite?
Tommy Proton: Cause if I’m looking for a song or something. Imeem won’t let you download they give you like 30sec or try to send you to somewhere to pay for the music but if I need like a music/movie sample or something I can use that and rip the audio
Clutch: You should try GetTube – you go to YouTube and you can download the video or the mp3 of the video
Tommy Proton: Oh,Word?
Clutch: Yep – reediculous. That’s dope to hear an artist actually embrace that -I wasn’t even gonna ask this because I always do, but how do you feel about technology and free distribution of music?
Larry Proton: Y’all gotta understand the world we live in, keeps changing technology becomes more advanced, the downloads, industry complaining “Blah, blah blah”. But from my perspective – its always been my theory that the downloads went up when the quality of the music went down. “Why would I buy the whole album when 2 tracks are gonna be good”. Usually both of them are singles which they gonna beat into your head, you hear the shit all the time. So either you gonna get the shit for free somewhere or you’ll buy the one song. Radiohead said, “Name your price.” Some People would pay a dollar . . . some full price.
Clutch: And…the final figures I think was $8, which is better for artist because you cut the middle man – and in the end that’s your $8 that you don’t split with this A&R, this A&R and this rep.
Larry Proton: But at the same time they’re not saying, “name your price for concert tickets”.
Clutch: Yea ain’t no negotiation on that.
Larry Proton: Once upon a time we talked about we’d love to just give music away for free just to create the feeling that people would come to a show and pay whatever price that is. If its out there somebody can grab it. Interestingly enough though, record companies are now trying to get your show money with these whole 360 deals trying to scoop 10% of anything you do, record sales, ticket sales, t-shirt sales but that’s due to their lack of their sales.
Clutch: That’s like slavery
Larry Proton: Its serious if you in a movie – they’ll get 10% of that.
Clutch: The first time I actually saw ya’ll perform was a few days ago, but you also were at AfroPunk this year – how did ya’ll link up with James Spooner?
Tommy Proton: Fadia Kader! She’s the liaison between a lot of things we’ve recently got into.
Larry Proton: The Afropunk thing that was in the works for a few months and that solidified with Fadia. And we love Brooklyn.
Clutch: Yeah who doesn’t’? NY is a lovely city.
Larry Proton: Especially in the summer time.
Tommy Proton: It goes on all night long…
Larry Proton: Krunk!
Clutch: I know you guys worked/performed with local artist like Hollyweerd, Grip, etc – even Pacific Division out in LA correct?
Clutch: Who would you say was ya’lls favorite to work with or would like to work with?
Larry Proton: To be honest, I like to do show w/ Janelle, because usually she brings out a different crowd – its a different crowd, but they would appreciate us, its in that vein in one way or another.
Tommy Proton: We did a show called Perfect Attendance , Jaspects, Janelle, Grip, Hollyweerd, Wilmay -lots of good creative talent out there.
Clutch: You just added something to their iPod, you just filled a gap. Oh! I just saw Vivica Fox on the cover of JET, which is hilarious considering Magazine Dreamz.
Tommy Proton: You heard she got a show coming out right?
Clutch: I know a show on fashion? Which is something I didn’t really understand.
Larry Proton: Why is Vivica Fox doing fashion? Whhhyy?
Clutch: I don’t know why she does a lot of things.
Larry Proton: Lemme tell you some things right quick 50 Cent…
Clutch: He messed her up!
Larry Proton: He said one thing about her dress and she bought into that bullshit. I lost so much respect for her then, and then she go get all that done to her face looking crazy and shit…like c’mon baby age gracefully.
Clutch: I was expecting her to go Vernita Green on him and shit – just kick em in the chest n shit. We still love you Vivica trust me…just don’t care what people say so much, including us.
Larry Proton: I mean she could be like young Angela Bassett.
Clutch: Yessss! Yes.
Tommy Proton: Just be cool and graceful. she did a fucking Tarintino movie…but then you was in a Lil Jon performance in booty shorts.
Clutch: Wrong move…or maybe she was on some Jheri Kurl shit.
Larry Proton: Or maybe she was on some Forever 21 shit.
Clutch: I wasn’t goin there. I’m gonna pull 2 songs that I want you to pick and tell me your faves. Kilo Ali “Baby Baby” or Dungeon Family w/ Lil Will “Nikki”.
Larry Proton: KILO! Sheeit…And that’s Larry… [singing] Baby Babaaayy…
Tommy Proton: Imma have to ‘roll wit Kilo also.
Clutch: Now who the hell got myspace.com/proton ?
Tommy Proton: Some random dude who ain’t logged in like 2 years.
Larry Proton: yea like some assholes we picked proton2 like yea proton its 2 of us…this was before myspace was popping and Rupert Murdoch bought it. Maybe if we get big and get some clout we could call up Tom
Clutch: Or you know Suge Knight em…
Larry Proton: Vanilla Ice em…
Clutch: Yeah you know just scare em. So what’s happening in the nearish future…
Larry Proton: We’re supposed to be doing some show Clark Homecoming…not etched in stone, its in the works, like a Broke Boujee Clark Homecoming shit.
Tommy Proton: Last time we played for homecoming…like a million years ago, we had just gotten out of school and we did somebodies homecoming before the fashion show and this is when we had 2 other members one on the MP, the other on the guitar…as soon as we came out there BOOOOO!!!
Clutch: But that’s the thing, at homecoming people just want to come for one thing. I know ya’ll got places to go and an album to make —State of the Art is on the way.
Larry Proton: Yeah we got a mixtape coming around the end of the month, inspired by working with some ladies of music Roxy Cottontail, Amanda Diva on a track.
Clutch: I remember her from the show My Brother and Me.
Larry Proton: I never saw all that I saw her and me and her got into it, she was being a diva I’m like you that’s the girl that used to host from Sucker Free Sunday.
Clutch: Ah, that’s true, I was still stuck on Nickelodeon I was still stuck on that.
Clutch: Ummm, yea and apparently I just hit a blank spot with the Nickelodeon reference cause I’m the only thats still talking… ya’ll quiet as hell like “This fool still talkin about Nickelodeon“
Tommy Proton: [laughs] Yea that was exactly what I was thinking.
Clutch: Got super quiet. Like “this Negro is still watching Spongebob?” I’m too retro, that’s my “Jheri-Kurl” right there Nickelodeon I’ll claim it.
Larry Proton: It’s all good.
Clutch: But yea man, State of the Art is this year next year or…
Tommy Proton: Whew. Whenever!
Clutch: When the f**k ever it come out we’ll get it…
Larry Proton: Its coming that’s all they need to know
Clutch: When it be there just go get it.
Tommy Proton: That’s right.
Clutch: So anyone ya’ll want to shout out?
Larry Proton: Uh, yea my Auntie, Fadia Kader.
Tommy Proton: I wanna shout out Nikki…and all her freaky friends.