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A Sit Down With DJ Protoculture

15:09 Apr/09/2018

Protoculture made the leap to pursue a music career professionally after completing his studies in Audio Engineering at age 20, immediately taking the international psy-trance scene by storm. His international debut came at the United Kingdom’s famed Glastonbury Festival. With the release of his first artist album, “Refractions”, and the follow up “Circadians”, a slew of international performances ensued worldwide, seeing Nate travel to all four corners of the globe.


"I love the idea that music is mathematics with its frequencies."

All the tracks Protoculture has released, including collaborations, in the past 18 months are on the album, aside from remix work…

I’ve been asked a couple of times how I pick artists to work with but the simple truth is, it’s very organic. I’d love to give a really educated answer but to be honest if I meet someone and I like what they’re doing I work with them.

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.

Have you attended any music school or professional workshop to learn how to produce EDM or you are 100% self-taught?

I have a diploma in audio engineering... Its great for the technical aspects of recording but writing EDM is a whole different ballgame. There are no rules so to speak, so 99% of the knowledge I have that I actually use comes from years of experimenting and teaching oneself.

Maybe you can tell me the latest update from a Nate Raubenheimer A.K.A Protoculture is like what?

I'm currently making the latest tracks with my staff and collaborating with some other DJs, not fully completed and I have not been able to mention them yet. But, I will bring a little piece of my latest track on tonight as a surprise too.

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.
Can you define for us and explain what the “Protoculture” sound or style includes in its unique mixture EDM genres infusions and influences?

I try not to think too hard about influences or the style of my music. I like things to just flow organically, but I guess an emotional component and melody is very important to me. I like beautiful, sad music that tends to be on the deeper side of things rather than a lot of the up front and in your face electro tinged stuff that’s so popular these days.

What about the subject of the EDM wave that’s currently sweeping the globe?

Actually with EDM, trance has become a bit more underground now. Something that Max Graham, Solar Stone, John OO Fleming and I have been pushing is the whole pure trance, underground vibe. Max started pushing this and now I’ve also become involved too; its open-to-close sets which is what I am doing in Seattle this weekend

where I open the club and I close the club with a 5 hour set.

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 like able person. It’s been a pleasure working with him, both on the music and the tour.
Do you have an all-time favourite mix compilation that may have inspired you so much as to influence your career and sound too?

Sasha’s first “Involver” album... It’s kind of a hybrid album/mix compilation really as all the tracks Sasha had a hand in editing, remixing or rewriting completely. But its an incredibly solid collection of music that tells a beautiful story.


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