Promis3 are the queer Belgian duo fusing future and nostalgia in a dystopian form of pop, whose newest single Future Funeral drops today. Their sound is paired with visuals that see the two morph into cyborg versions of themselves, where an alternate reality exists in bright colours and electrifying pop. To Promis3, the visual aspects are inextricable in the conception of sound, leading Brent and Andras to start their own creative agency, Simulated Paradise (also the name of one of their songs) creating all the intoxicating graphics for their platform themselves.
The new single is an upbeat electronic dance music track, with a haunting and important message. Future Funeral warns of the duality of substance abuse; heeding both the dark and euphoric sides in an immersive and powerful melodic narrative. Drawing upon science fiction, nineties raves, a sonic expression of a thought or feeling, Promis3 and their utopian creations represent a digital version of existence in which their listeners are free to be utterly themselves.
How long have you two been working together as Promis3?
We’ve been working together for nearly 2 years as Promis3. We met about 3 years ago and became really close friends, after a year we decided to try out a session in the studio together and that’s how things started to evolve into creating our own project.
What are your first memories of music?
Andras: My first memories are definitely classical music as my parents are both classically trained pianists. I remember growing up and hearing them play and study piano all day long – which they still do.
Brent: I remember ABBA being one of my mum’s favourite bands. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment because it’s more of a subconscious thing from my childhood. I did, however, recall an overwhelming nostalgic feeling when I listened again to the entire album on a trip to Croatia. A gold sunset by the beach while dancing on the rocks to ABBA is a mood I must admit.
How did you get into creating music?
Andras: As I grew up in a classical music environment I was also schooled into playing the piano and studying music theory as a kid. Around the age of 13, I started to get really interested in other genres and music software so I started to experiment with software to create electronic music and got my first synthesiser.
I’ve experimented with a lot of different genres throughout my youth like drum&bass, UK garage, and hip-hop. The internet was quite new at the time and I remember joining forums and mIRC groups (the Discord from that era) about music production.
Brent: I used to do some musical theatre as a kid. I loved it but I was constantly dreaming about having my own show playing the starring role. After theatre, I let go of the dream for a while until I accidentally met Andras outside of a club. He guided me back to my original plan of pursuing music. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have been doing music at all. So every opportunity to create is a blessing to me.
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The music you create is so unusual – we've seen it defined as ‘cyber pop,’ ‘hyper-pop,’ all terms which suggest an intensification of normal pop music. How would you both describe the music you make?
We would describe it as futuristic pop music with a touch of nostalgia and melancholy.
What inspires your distinct sound?
We think our sound is always kind of inspired by music and movies that were different and futuristic in that era: 2000’s trance, '90s rave, modern but also classic science fiction movies (annihilation vs the original blade runner), Detroit techno, ambient and IDM. That’s probably where the touch of nostalgia is coming from.
In terms of the content of your songs, what subjects provide the most creative inspiration for you?
A lot of autobiographic situations are an inspiration to our song-writing, but we also love to come up with a fictional subject comparable to creating your own movie plot – like we did for Simulated Paradise. We came up with a sci-fi concept about escaping reality to a utopian digital world where you can finally be yourself.
A huge part of your art creation is linked to the visual side, for example, the visualiser for your festive drop included depictions of the pair of you in true cyborg form. How important is the combination of sound and visual?
The combination of visuals and sound are incredibly important to us, as visuals have the power to translate music even stronger, so with the right balance you have the opportunity to really amplify your creations.
Why combine sound and visual in this way? Has it always been a dual-mode of expression for the pair of you or does one come secondary do you think?
It has always been some kind of dual-mode of expression, and the duality really works both ways: most of our lyrical concepts are quite visual, which gives us a natural flow to imagine a visual concept to evolve with the track. But on the other hand, we might get inspired by one of our visual concepts to create a track based to support it.
A lot of the production concepts are born out of visual ideas. What would a black hole sound like, or how do you sonically express the feeling of being distraught/angry/in love. How do you embody the colour 'blue' with music? We think the music goes hand in hand with the visual side of it. Again, it can both make or break the other we think.
How do you create the imagery and video content for your music?
Andras: Brent studied graphic design and has a great eye and a very high and unique standard for creative direction and I’m quite quick with learning new software, so together we make quite a good team.
In the beginning, most of our content were photoshopped images of us. Slowly we got into animation and video production as well. We learned a lot from not being satisfied with the results of creatives we worked with, for example, the edit of our first music video was nothing like what we had in mind – so we installed Adobe Premiere and just started editing the video ourselves for weeks until we had a result that we were happy with.
For each project, you get a bit better and our previous video Don’t Wanna Fall in Luv was fully produced, designed and animated by us. That’s also why we started our own creative agency Simulated Paradise.
There are so many different aspects of digital representation, it seems that the synthesis of the music and the imagery you use tell a dystopian and futuristic story. What is it that you are portraying through the visual aspects?
There are indeed so many different aspects of digital representation, for some we might choose a dystopian type and futuristic story, but for Don’t Wanna Fall in Luv our inspiration was a futuristic ethereal approach to Renaissance art. We’re just really excited by the power of imagery which can give you endless options of displaying yourself or the world.
Where are your favourite venues to play live?
Locations with a heart/soul: an old church, a warehouse, a 19th-century theatre or modern/futuristic architectural buildings… We’d always prefer that over a standard rectangular music hall.
Obviously, this past year has changed the way audiences interact with music and how we all consume and enjoy culture. What have you missed most this year? What have you most enjoyed?
We definitely missed the human aspect of being in touch with other artists, friends and the audience – we’ve been communicating and working on projects mostly digital the last year due to the Corona regulations. We miss watching live shows ourselves and discovering new music in real life instead of digitally through YouTube or Spotify.
We did enjoy the time it gave us to work intensely on our projects and grow as artists and we did enjoy the new concepts that arose from the lockdown: livestream festivals, zoom parties, webinars…
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What are your hopes for Promis3? What are you most looking forward to in the future?
We truly hope that more people discover our art and enjoy it. We’re looking forward to playing live in the future and we hope for a breakthrough!
Your new single Future Funeral seems to be quite melancholy in its subject content, but that has been entirely subverted through the dancefloor beats which transform it into an upbeat and exciting tune. Was this an intentional choice?
It’s definitely intentional because we love experimenting with different emotions, moods, and genres in our music, and in Future Funeral we wanted to let the listener really go through a story/experience.
We wanted to convey the dark as well as the euphoric nature of the feelings you could go through while using substances. It was important to us that the track gave people a feeling of togetherness and being connected, no matter how deep you fall there’s always someone to land on.
We imagined being on a festival going through a trip and what kind of song would make us feel understood and could possibly help to ease some of that daze. In the end, the track switches to a retro jungle part which we slowly drowned in reverb and echo to give you the feeling of completely getting drowned into the music to a point everything gets just too overwhelming – like how you would experience this at a rave or festival at 4 am.
What do you hope your listeners will take away from Future Funeral?
We hope they will find some peace knowing they’re not alone battling these inner demons and that drugs aren't a substitute for the real support that people around them could offer. We want to bring a little bit of awareness to the dangers and how these things can twist your soul into something that it’s not. Enjoy life, experience things but be careful and take care of your mind and health.
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