When it comes to ambition, Leeds duo Prospa, both 21, have their sights set high. “We want to be one of the UK greats, like The Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers,” says Harvey Blumler. “We’ve always wanted to be rock stars.”
The pair first forged a friendship as children, back when their musical interests aligned more with Kerrang! than Mixmag. “I was playing guitar, he was playing drums,” says Gosha Smith. “Leeds is quite a small place, so when you’re into that kind of thing you run into each other.” Harvey interjects, mid-laugh: “He had a mohawk and I had hair down to my arse!”
Music was a prominent feature in their childhood homes. “My mum used to play classical music in the car when I was a kid,” says Gosha. “She wanted me to learn an instrument, so I started to learn classical guitar. I got to a certain level and just wanted to play rock.” Harvey’s musical interests stemmed from his father. “My dad was a bit of a music-head, he was in a band,” he says. “I played drums all the time until I was about 13. Then I started producing on the computer and it all changed.”
They began to immerse themselves in electronic music. Harvey experimented with heavy, dubstep-inspired material during the genre’s explosion in the mid-00s. Gosha, meanwhile, moved from metal guitar to jazz to jazz-infused hip hop. “That’s what I first started making. I didn’t like dance music then,” he says. “But I went to Leeds Festival and there were so many different dance acts and I thought, ‘This is the shit, I love this!’
Discovering each other’s shared interests in dance music, the pair then decided to start producing, and releasing, as Prospa. “We were putting music out for maybe two years, deep housey stuff, then we just stopped,” says Harvey. “As we got older, we fell out of love with that sound,” Gosha explains. “Even though we were into deep house, we always loved classic dance music. The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk – they were always our influences. When we made [euphoric rave anthem] ‘Prayer’, we’d been toying with other ideas in that sort of sound and just fell in love with it.”
‘Prayer’ was a critical success when it landed back in October 2018. Radio 1 tastemaker Annie Mac made it her Hottest Record In The World (“That was such a moment – we just didn’t think it would happen!” says Gosha), and the track relaunched heritage house label Stress Records after a 13-year hiatus. “We were absolutely gassed – we didn’t feel any pressure at all,” says Harvey of the Stress signing.
With a packed festival season ahead, as well as a flurry of new tunes in progress, Prospa are looking to the future as they set forth on their quest for legendary status. “We want to start our own label called Rave Science,” says Harvey. “We’ve always struggled, even with ‘Prayer’,” adds Gosha. “People telling us that our style is different and doesn’t really work with their sound. Thankfully, because of the attention it got, we’re at a point where we can say, ‘We want to put our own music out on our own terms.’”
Prospa play Parklife on June 9