An Interview With The Pop-Hip Hop and Electronic Duo, PRTTY BOYS!
Posted On 08 Jun 2018
Get to know the dynamic Pop / Hip-Hop / Electronic duo PRTTY BOYS!
Comprised of rapper & producer Alexander “Spadez” Martinez coupled with vocalist & producer Johnie B, are here to energize and excite listeners with their synth-heavy brand of West Coast sounds. Writing, producing, and engineering every song entirely themselves, the two artists take pride in delivering meticulously crafted and radio-ready “slaps”. Slated for a huge 2018, the PRTTY BOYS dropped their debut album “The Juice Factory” in May. It is a collection of tunes that may just as easily soundtrack blurry nights in West Hollywood as it might sunset cruises down the Malibu coast.
Connect With PRTTY BOYS here: https://www.prttymusic.com
Hailing from two very different parts of the country, both Johnie B (from Lexington, Kentucky) and Spadez (from the Bay Area) grew up immersed in music. While Johnie toured as the lead singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer of a Pop/Punk band, Spadez was becoming an accomplished drummer and collaborating with local rappers. Reaching out to artists by way of social media, Spadez produced for the likes of Travis Mills, Ying Yang Twins, Dem Franchize Boyz, DEV, Riff Raff, The Cataracs (now KSHMR) and more.
What happened next was undoubtedly fate, as Spadez and Johnie B both went on to attend the highly competitive Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music (Maggie Rogers, Justin Jesso, Phoebe Ryan, FLETCHER, Toulouse) at New York University. While casually sitting in the back of a studio recording class Freshman year, their professor announced a team project and the guys quickly linked up – a rather fortuitous moment early in their careers.
For much of their material, the PRTTY BOYS draw heavily from their late night adventures in New York and LA. Whether it’s falling for a dangerously seductive woman or falling down a flight of stairs, they know when they’ve partied a little too hard. The guys describe their sound as “an exotic fusion of Pop and R&B.” “Sometimes we take a dark and dreamy approach, other times it’s a danceable pop jam complete with Coachella-ready EDM drops.” Their new album “The Juice Factory” is full of variety and offers a little something for everyone.
Outside of music, both are dedicated to using their voices to promote positive change. Johnie supports progressive political organizations such as “Our Revolution,” “Justice Democrats” and “Represent.Us” while Spadez is a big advocate for “Larkin Street,” a youth services center in San Francisco that provides housing, education and employment training, as well as health/wellness support to homeless teenagers.
Learn more about PRTTY BOYS in the following All Access interview:
So how has 2018 been treating you all? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
Spaadez: It’s been solid so far – whole lot of music being made. One was putting out our first album “The Juice Factory” (which we did 2 weeks ago). Now the next goal is playing shows and getting the world to hear about the PRTTY BOYS.
Johnie B: I wanted to drop a couple albums and a couple music videos this year. Mission accomplished so far, but like Spadez said now it’s on to the next.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this band together? Has anything surprised you about it all so far? How would you say that you two have been able to bring together all of your different musical experiences and form this duo?
Spaadez: Once we started living together in LA we said PRTTY BOYS is a go. I’d say easily; we both do it all when it comes to making music so we can go back and forth pretty quickly.
Johnie B: We’ve known each other for so long—we’ve basically been roommates since NYU—the flow comes naturally.
How difficult was it to come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
Spaadez: It was really easy. We came up with it a few years ago, and it was really the only one we considered.
Johnie B: PRTTY MUSIC is the label so PRTTY BOYS just made sense.
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If you don’t think that it has, why is that?
Spaadez: I grew up listening to artists like E-40, Mac Dre, Too Short, Keak Da Sneak, Mistah FAB, etc. and the whole hyphy movement was huge in the Bay Area during that time. A lot of my music has “bay area” drums (so I’ve heard), and the way I talk is definitely influenced by growing up in Berkeley and going to school in Oakland.
Johnie B: I had kinda the opposite experience haha. I’m from a small town of around 8,000 people so everything I listened to came from somewhere else. My dad gave me a solid classic rock background and my mom played a lot of hip-hop, pop, and alt rock in the car.
What did it feel like releasing your debut album, “The Juice Factory”? Can you remember what it felt like hearing the whole thing for the first time?
Spaadez: We had been listening to all those songs for a while so it felt really good to be able to put those out and let the world hear.
Johnie B: Yeah, definitely a relief after the hours we put into it. But he’s right there isn’t one moment when you listen to the finished product and relax. It’s hard to turn off the analytical listening, like “did I fix that, and is the volume right for this?” You can still hear the things you corrected that are no longer there from memory. Good news is the answer so far has always been yes, yes it did get fixed haha. I sing along to a few in the car where I can turn the analytical side off for a minute.
What was the inspiration for the songs on this collection? While it’s difficult, can you pick out a few favorites and talk about how they were written and came to be on this album?
Spaadez: For me there was all sorts of inspiration. I might write about something that happened to me this morning or something that happened years ago so it’s hard to say one thing in particular inspired it. I think “Cop Car,” “Taste,” and “Citrus” are my top 3. “Cop Car” was the first one we made together so I have a soft spot for that one and “Taste” was the last one we finished so it’s still super fresh. I made the beat for “Citrus” turnt up at 2am in about 10 minutes and knew it had to be on the album.
Johnie B: “Real” was real fun. Melodically we were talking about how we like ooh’s and oh’s, simple vocalizations in certain pop songs so I actually came up with those whoa’s in the background of the pre-chorus first thing. And the chorus isn’t super complicated, it’s one simple question. The melody and backgrounds do all the work.
If you had unlimited time and money for your dream music video, which song would you do and what would the video include?
Spaadez: It would for sure be like one of those 90’s/early 2000’s hip-hop videos where everything’s flashy and they’re on a yacht in the Caribbean full of foreign women. Basically any song.
Johnie B: I like that Caribbean idea. I would rent an entire tropical island for “Pineapple” and see what it do.
Can you talk about some of the positive political and other organizations that you two are part of and what they mean to you today?
Spaadez: Yeah. Larkin Street is an organization in San Francisco that provides housing, education and employment training + health and wellness supports to help get homeless teens off the street and into schools and the workplace.
Johnie B: Our Revolution is a political organization focused on getting money out of politics and getting progressives elected. It’s important to me because as much as government can annoy certain people it will always have a major impact on its citizens one way or the other, so best pay attention.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Spaadez: Just because I haven’t been on the stage for minute I’d have to say in the studio. But in front of a crowd performing is definitely a close second.
Johnie B: On a soccer field, specifically just outside the 18-yard box with a ball at my feet.
Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
Spaadez: Not yet but those are definitely coming soon. So make sure to follow us @PRTTYMUSIC on everything to stay tuned for those.
How do you think being a musician and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
Spaadez: Because making music brings me joy? Haha. Otherwise, I would definitely do something else.
Johnie B: It’s something we’ve always done and, like with anything else, continuing to put the time in to improve and show yourself what you might be capable of is a rewarding experience.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
Spaadez: I would say that some artists are and some artists aren’t – it’s all out there but it just depends what you want to hear. Our album wasn’t made to touch on that. We’re having fun with it. And personally, I prefer not to think about all of that because it’s a whole lot of negativity and I can’t have that type of energy in me or around me.
Johnie B: I love that artists are making their voices heard and it’s especially important for those who are well-informed and have the platform to do so. I get into that sort of thing a bit more with my solo electronic stuff, but it’s important for me to have both of these outlets. Sometimes I want to take on the world, and sometimes I want to make pop music. Picking just one of those things would feel very limiting.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it?
Spaadez: It hasn’t been a huge factor for us yet since we just started all our social media when we announced the first single. We maintain everything ourselves though.
Johnie B: Insert second plug here: FOLLOW US @PRTTYMUSIC haha
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
Spaadez: E-40. That’s the godfather in the Bay Area so that would be cool. Also Max Martin because HITS. My favorite artists at the moment YK Osiris, A Boogie, Drake, Kevin Gates.
Johnie B: Julian Casablancas is my new number one influence of all time thanks to his recent album with The Voidz. For the PRTTY BOYS, we would love to work with Post Malone, G-Eazy, Bhad Bhabie, Lil Uzi. And lately I’ve been jamming to Betsy Ross by Kiah Victoria.
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
Spaadez: Drums for sure. I’m always tapping on things, and it’s the best instrument (just being honest).
Johnie B: A harp? I mean it would take a lifetime for me to learn how to play it so there’s an easy way to spend whatever time is left after gathering food and water. But real answer, if I had an endless supplies of batteries to go with it I’d choose the Casio keyboard I got when I was 4 or 5, my old friend.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Spaadez: We’ve got a ton of music amongst the two of us, but for this particular project we just wanted to make something people can have fun to. With all the negativity on the news and in the world, I think being able to loosen up and have some fun is the perfect way to take your mind off of that.
Johnie B: I hope they use it as a pregame playlist, a turn up playlist, a poolside playlist, and when they in their feelings they should know that those deeper cuts are there for them too. Sometimes when you’re feeling down you need a quick reminder, there are so many people in the world who have felt the exact same way as you before, and that helps you to realize things will get better.