Project 46 on the DJ Mag Top 100, Pancakes, and Mash-Ups

Image via Project 46
Image via Project 46

The progressive house duo called Project 46 is made up of members Ryan and Thomas who, interestingly enough, live on opposite sides of Canada. The distance has not thwarted their productivity, as they are constantly posting new mixes of originals, remixes, bootlegs, and mashups on SoundCloud, almost weekly. They have a weekly radio show called “Pancake Radio,” and are currently touring Brazil, Canada, India, and the United States. Rising 30 spots on the DJ Mag Top 100 from last year, Project 46 came in at #70 as one of three Canadian acts to make the poll this year. The other two were Deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin, putting them in pretty good company. I recently got to speak with this duo about their position on this chart, their radio show, and current tour.

Let’s start with the DJ Mag Poll. You guys placed 70. What significance does the DJ Mag Poll have to you guys?
No one can deny that it is super controversial. That alone makes almost everyone look at the results. Our goal is always to have new people find our music and the poll really reaches a lot of fans, artists, managers and so many others. Those connections open a lot of doors so to us it is super important.

Thoughts on the system by which votes are collected?
We don’t think the system is foolproof, but DJ Mag and Trackitdown are trying hard to build a system where cheating is a lot harder. There are some changes I would like to see but we are all on the same playing field, so we’re OK with it.

Did you advertise for votes, and how do you feel about an artist/their representation soliciting vote from the public?
The way that Facebook works, artists often have to pay for their posts in order for them to reach all of their fans, which is something that we do on a weekly basis. This covers all posts from tour dates, new releases etc. With regard to the DJ Mag Poll, we support it and ask our fans to vote for us but do not put any money towards gaining votes. It’s a poll and if you want to be successful in any poll you need to campaign.

Okay, lightening the mood a little, let’s talk about your weekly radio show. The first question I have to ask is where did the name/reference to pancakes come from? Is this like Dada Life and their bananas, Borgore and his cake, and now you guys and your Pancakes?
We thought Steve Aoki had cake [laughs]. It was just a joke at first when we started Pancake Friday, but people really seemed to like it so it became our thing. I know Dada Life and Steve Aoki have bananas and cakes on their rider but I don’t think you will be seeing pancakes on ours any time soon [laughs].

So every Friday, you serve pancakes, which is an obvious reference to the music on your show. What is the criteria, ingredients if you will, that make a perfect pancake?
A good pancake or good track to us is one that evokes emotion. Music really does connect with people. A good melody, a good vocal and just a feel good song is what we look for!

How do you like your actual pancakes? I like funny face from IHOP with the chocolate chip pancakes, whipped cream eyes and smile, and cherries for pupils. What’s your ideal pancake concoction?
Funny thing is, Thomas is actually allergic to pancakes(!), but it’s nothing a little soy milk can’t help. Oh and to answer your question, you need to add chocolate chips.

Do you guys like bacon with your pancakes?
Who doesn’t like bacon?

On a more serious note, how do you choose the music that goes into each show?
We like to play at least 40% original material in our shows. It’s important that you represent yourself as an artist and not just a DJ while playing. We almost never straight play a song as well. We normally have edits, mash ups and bootlegs when we are playing material that is not original.

Will the radio show continue through the traveling you have planned in the coming months?
We actually missed an episode while traveling to India. It is really hard when we are on the road. I think we are going to work on having a back-up team that puts together a radio show for weeks we are on the road. We would obviously pick the tracks and do voice overs but sometimes it is just impossible to do a radio show when on the road, mainly because the Internet abroad is so inconsistent.

You’re headed on the road: the U.S., Brazil, and India. A pretty massive tour. Canada is a large country. Have you toured most of your own nation?
We have played a lot of shows in Canada but would always love to play more.

What stop are you most excited about on this upcoming tour?
We have a stop at Celebrities in Vancouver.  Anytime you can play at home it’s an amazing feeling.

Any adventurous non-music related travel plans?
Thomas is planning a trip with his friends to Mexico in December and for me I am just planning on spending time on my couch at home with my family and my friends.

You guys are masters of the mash-up. What is the intrigue with making mash-ups? Any big differences production wise between those, remixes, and originals that make one more preferable to you over the other two?
We just try to make everything our own. There’s nothing worse then watching a predictable DJ set or watching the same set everyone is playing. A mash-up takes very little time and allows you to add an artist mark on someone else’s work. I think that is so important when playing shows. Also, we prefer originals but a lot more time goes into an original. A mash-up is normally done within an hour while an original or remix takes several hours, sometimes weeks, months, and even years!

Well, I look forward to whatever you guys have in store. Maybe you can share something new and exciting, edgy even, that you have planned for the future. Wow us. Tell us something that will set you apart from all the noise about everything sounding the same.
We are working hard on an album and our goal is really to bring raw emotion back to the music. On our album you’re also going to see a lot of influences from other genres, a lot of vocals and melodies. Until then you’re going to see a remix we did for Krewella and another big collaboration in January. We can’t tell you who it is with yet but it is big.