Photo by Alex Schaefer
If you’ve recently been digging Stranger Things on Netflix, PROM, with their pulsating analog synths and visceral lyricism, is the band for you. We’re so excited to premiere the track “Blood” off of their upcoming debut LP Holding Pattern here on The Wild Honey Pie — we just can’t get enough of this tune. “Blood” brings an appealing ethereality to PROM’s indie pop, with Ella Zoller’s otherworldly vocal manipulations holding their own against kaleidoscopic beats, created alongside the duo’s other half Gabriel Stanley. Much like their previously-released singles, “Blood” shows off PROM’s talent for imbuing their songs with emotion and magic, and gets us even more excited for Holding Pattern — it’s out on August 23, with a release show presented by The Wild Honey Pie that night at Baby’s All Right.
We hit up PROM to find out a little more about their creation process, new album, and the history of “Blood.”
Holding Pattern is your debut full-length record. What should listeners and fans of your Keeping Company EP expect from this album?
Holding Pattern is a more focused framework of our explorations on the Keeping Company EP. This album emphasizes storytelling, so the sonic worlds of each song are more diverse. The tracks range from fast paced and hectic to clean, crisp slow jams, so Holding Pattern is kind of a weird sonic patchwork quilt. We basically just wrote a pop album that we would want to listen to ourselves.
The songs we’ve heard so far from Holding Pattern are gorgeous, spectral, and evocative. Where do you take inspiration from for your music? What is your writing and recording process like?
Often one of us will come up with a seed of an idea, jot some stuff down, and will bring it to the other one to help fill it out. Gabriel’s ideas tend to start out with a single element of the song, whether that be a melody, drum beat or a bass line, while Ella’s mostly begin with melodies and lyrics, but not always. We use Ableton for both recording and our live show, so we spend a lot of time rooting around in there. Our wonderful producer Dave Weingarten, who we have been working with since day 1, is the final filter for every PROM song. We bring him each song in its final stages for him to bless in Pro Tools. Our inspiration comes from the intersection of both of our vastly different music tastes and writing styles. Ella grew up listening to bands like The Magnetic Fields, Beach House and Cat Power, while Gabriel grew up in the south listening to Biggie Smalls, Townes Van Zandt and Jimmy Eat World. We also just really like sparkly synths (in the studio we call them “dinkles”) and throw them on everything we do.
What gear do you use to make your music? Any special new toys that shaped the sound of Holding Pattern?
The two synths we have in the studio that we use primarily in the recording process are Ella’s Dave Smith Mopho x4 and Gabriel’s Moog Sub37. The Sub37 takes care of most of the bass lines on the album, and the Mopho provides most of the synth leads and the sprinkly bits. We have a number of MoogerFooger and Strymon pedals that make an appearance on the album along with a 30 year old Casio SK-1 toy keyboard, as well as the library of instruments Dave happens to be babysitting at any given point in his studio.
You live and perform in New York City. What are your favorite things about the city and its music scene?
The community of musicians here in Brooklyn is incredible. Everyone looks out for and respects one another across genres. If you’re making music here generally you’re pretty serious about it – and very likely a huge nerd, like us! We love the spontaneity of the music scene here too. There are endless opportunities to play and see shows every night of the week. The hard part is that sometimes there are too many things to see and too little time!
What’s the plan for PROM after this album is released? Any plans to tour?
We are putting together some dates on the East & West Coasts for early fall. Announcements to come soon!
Your social media handles are all “promisaband.” What else is PROM, other than a band?
A production duo. A checks and balances system. A couple of lushes.
We’re premiering the song “Blood” today on The Wild Honey Pie. What does this song mean to you?
The original framework for this song came from a poem Ella wrote in high school called “The Times In Old Age When One Sees Someone They Love Wait For A Heaven Which Will Never Come.” Most of the lyrics are lines straight from the poem. The title pretty much sets the scene.