(Photo Credit: Christian Tachiera)

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with PRTTY BOYS

Two artists from two totally different parts of the United States and musical backgrounds meet in a recording class at New York University. What happens next?

Alexander “Spadez” Martinez and Johnie B teamed up to form PRTTY BOYS, a fresh, young electronic duo you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on. The combination of the two artists’ experiences and talents draw on a limitless amount of inspiration, creating exciting sounds that’ll give listeners both goosebumps and club tracks. Since releasing their debut single “Cop Car”, they’ve lived and learned through the process of releasing more new music together, such as their most recent single “Bae”. Getting ready to drop their debut album The Juice Factory this May, we have no doubt that 2018 could be a big year for the duo.

PRTTY BOYS chatted with CelebMix about beginnings, getting involved in their communities, and what we can expect from The Juice Factory!

Did you have a definitive moment in your life that you decided to pursue music as a professional career?

Johnie B: It was probably when my uncle taught me how to play “Free Fallin’ ” on a church piano at his brother’s wedding. I was 3 or 4 at the time.
Spadez: The first time I ever performed in front of a crowd and got that adrenaline rush, I was just like, “okay, I think I could get used to this”.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Johnie B: I think we clicked PRTTY fast. We wouldn’t have known this about each other at first, but we had both landed in New York from very different places and were trying to get used to things on the fly. We had a lot in common, and I think we bonded over the fact we both used Reason to produce haha.
Spadez: Yeah we pretty much cliqued up right away. And definitely had a moment bonding over Reason haha. Meeting somebody else who really produced on it like that was super rare.

Both of you came from very different musical backgrounds and parts of the country – what were those experiences like, and how do they influence your current sound or technique today?

Johnie B: The way JT stacks his vocal harmonies had an influence, and that probably has something to do with his Memphis and R&B roots, but all in all I was a 90’s alt-rock and 2000’s hip-hop kid. Growing in up in Kentucky there’s a lot of pop and country on the radio, but my parents were too cool for most of that. My mom had Queens of the Stone Age and Sean Paul on repeat in the car. Wide-ranging tastes.
Spadez: When I’m making music I can never really tell, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me that my drums sound really “Bay Area” so I guess growing up there and listening to E-40, The Pack, Mistah FAB, etc. just rubbed off on me. Also, the Bay Area has a really independent music scene so I never really expect anyone to give me a chance and I just go and get it.

How did the two of you come up with the name “PRTTY BOYS”, and were there any other names that came close?

Johnie B: We knew our label name would be Pretty Music, or some variation of that. Spadez came up with the name originally. Once we had decided to be the first artist on said label the name PRTTY BOYS just made sense. The spelling helps to set it apart, and when you first see the name it may take a sec to figure out if it’s “Party” or “Pretty.” Both make sense for the music we make.
Spadez: Yeeee! It was PRTTY BOYS from the jump, making that PRTTY MUSIC.

Who are some artists that inspire you musically? 

Johnie B: The Voidz, Kiah Victoria, ZHU. As far as rap is concerned Kendrick, Vince, Joey. I’m really into the latest Gambino video. I mean if my guy Trent Reznor is gonna tweet it out then you know it’s had a profound cultural impact.
Spadez: Scott Storch, London On Da Track, Drake, E-40, Jeremih.

What’s one lesson you learned through the process of writing, producing and releasing your first single, “Cop Car”?

Johnie B: Not everything takes 3 years to write haha. Sometimes I’ll return to an idea over and over again especially with my solo artsy stuff. For this song, we had a cool concept and ran with it.
Spadez: A lot of the best music comes when you’re just having fun with it and going with the vibe.

You’ll be releasing your debut album, “The Juice Factory” very soon, what do you think was the most challenging part of putting the album together?

Johnie B: Tackling each step completely on our own, and doing it 18 times haha. That’s not a gripe, it’s actually a very rewarding process to see what the two of us can accomplish. It’s the emotional battle to keep going after each step. Like you mix all 18 tracks, feel super happy the next day, then remember you gotta master them all, or you listen to the latest hit that’s out there and compare your mix sonically and then you’re like, “Damn! There’s a lot more work to do!” That being said I’m super proud of where this project ended up.
Spadez: Yup! Sometimes you just want to pass it off to another engineer so you can work on new ideas. A lot of times, if they’re not right there with you, the vision you have for the final sound/product turns out a little different than what you might’ve had in mind.

Do you have any favourite songs from The Juice Factory?

Johnie B: Lately I’ve been rocking to All Night Long, Pineapple, Real, and Citrus.
Spadez: Taste is my SH*T right now. Citrus, Juice and Where Are We are pretty high up there too.

If The Juice Factory would be the soundtrack to any type of movie, what kind of movie would it be and why?

Johnie B: I see a lead character who likes to party, they start off in college doing their thing and then at some point—maybe around “Alive (Interlude)” a track that splits our album in half—they go through some heavy shit, and this party lifestyle is seen more as an emotional escape from real human problems and real human emotions that they will eventually have to come face to face with. It’s a pop/hip-hop record for sure but it’s not all smiles.
Spadez: Probably something like Entourage. And not the movie either—the show was a million times more fire.

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PRTTY time, bout to be album O’clock??

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Outside of your musical careers, where do your passions lie?

Johnie B: I do things in the tech world, AKA I have a day job. I’m passionate in pursuing anything that may ultimately ensure songwriters can live solely off of their royalties. I’m also into politics and enjoy a little crypto research here and there. Oh and I do some photography on the side, so get @ me Christina Aguilera – let’s get them new headshots popping.
Spadez: I’ve always been into exercise—staying right and keeping it tight. And I’ve always had a thing for throwing parties/slash bringing dope people together to do dope things. I’ve got the hustle in my blood too, so I’m always trying to think of new ideas about how to get the bag.

Both of you are involved in initiatives promoting positive change, what inspired you to get involved and do you have any advice for youth wanting to become more involved in their community?

Johnie B: To anyone that says “I hate” or “I like to stay out of politics,” what do you really mean by that? Do you dislike politicians? Are you just a conflict avoider in general? You gotta understand the difference between intellectual arguments and straight up shouting matches, cause one is of crucial importance and the other is a waste of time. I’m super into politics because it is political discussion and policy that dictates how the world reacts to the major issues of our time: equality regardless of race and gender, global warming, wealth inequality, etc. I would encourage people to be well researched on issues, form an opinion, and vote! Me personally, I’m a big supporter of “Our Revolution” a progressive organization and grassroots movement.
Spadez: Pops is actually the one that introduced me to Larkin Street where they’re working to provide housing, education/employment training, and health/wellness supports for homeless teens in San Francisco. My advice? If there’s something you feel passionate about changing, the best way to make a difference is to get involved and not watch from the sidelines.

Are there any milestones you’d like to reach in your career?

Johnie B: It would be dope to have a real platform, if our music could reach a wide enough audience it then allows us to promote positive change in other ways as well. I think it’s important to build a platform and maintain a well informed cultural opinion. Without naming names, there are a few too many artists that go 1 for 2 in that department.
Spadez: That part! I want to work with every artist whose influenced me along the way—checking that off the list would be solid.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your supporters? 

Johnie B: Stay PRTTY
Spadez: Stay LITTY.

You can find PRTTY BOYS on FacebookTwitterInstagram and on their website.

How excited are you to hear The Juice Factory? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

Email: katherine.jiang@live.ca
(Please CC hello@CelebMix.com on all inquiries!)