Mr Probz interview: 'I’m never satisfied, but I’m always happy'
After the success of his single ‘Waves’ last year, it’s fair to say Mr Probz is now a true international star.
The Robin Schulz remix of the track reached No.1 in 39 countries and the Dutch musician is building on the momentum with the release of new single ‘Nothing Really Matters’ on March 29.
Pressparty caught up with Mr Probz to find out more about the song, his desire to explore new genres and how he turned a devastating house fire into a positive.
Are you keeping busy?
"Yeah, I always try to. If the shark don’t swim, it drowns."
Your new single ‘Nothing Really Matters’ comes out pretty soon. What themes run through the lyrics?
"It’s a song about unconditional love. It’s not really dedicated to one specific person - it’s more about the love between a mother and child, or sister, or girlfriend, daughter. It’s universal and it’s something that a lot of people can relate to. It’s not really a theme - it’s like an expression, a tribute."
It’s a bit of a cheesy link, but what things matter to you most in your life?
"Wow - you said it’s cheesy, but I haven’t heard that question before. What matters to me most is that I always try to be there for the people around me and the people that I love, and always follow my intuition. I don’t like going against my intuition and I always try to read the signs that are in front of me. It’s kind of a question that I would have to think about more - it’s something that’s a little bit deeper."
Do you feel there’s added pressure on you in terms of this single considering the success of ‘Waves’?
"Not necessary for the single - if people expect me to do the same thing...I don’t even expect me to do the same thing. I don’t want to. In terms of pressure, there is a certain kind of pressure because maybe a couple of years ago I could just wake up and be like ‘You know what, I’m going to drop a video’. It didn’t even matter how many people would see it. Just the fact that I wanted to put it out…there was no pressure, no-one was gonna measure the results or whatever or analyse everything that I did. Basically even though ‘Waves’ didn’t even start out as good as this single did - in Holland and Belgium it went No.1 straight away, and that’s something that ‘Waves’ didn’t even do - in my own world, I’ve already won. So everything else that happens after that is just a bonus. As long as it’s real and it’s kept interesting."
I’ve read in the past that doing that 'Waves' encouraged you to look into other genres and acts, such as Nirvana?
"Yeah. After the hip-hop album that I put out, it felt like the chain was off. When ‘Waves’ got put out, my house burnt down. I lost everything, but all I had was the hip-hop album I was working on called ‘Treatment’. And for me that was a sign because ‘Waves’ was doing so well and I was like ‘I’m going to put this album out and turn a new page’, or start a new chapter. And that’s exactly what I did. After ‘Waves’ I thought that I would start singing more, and when I was singing more I was listening to more types of music.
"I was already a fan of Nirvana, I know every word of the ‘Nevermind’ album. But I also like Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine. I just like good music in general. So I started doing more research and trying to find what I needed, like little elements from certain genres. On this new album there’s basically no one genre that I’m doing. I don’t like to do the same thing twice. Every song is a little bit different and it goes from old school 60s and 70s school music to hip-hop, and ballads…it's as diverse as possible."
"Yeah, why not? If I’m going to do an album and all the chains are off me and the sky is the limit…why not just focus on songs that you like? Every song is something I could hear and want to put on my playlist. Why just do that with one song?"
So experimentation is something that’s very important to you?
"It almost equals growth, because you’re going to learn something regardless. When I explore these different genres, it’s not like I’m going to do a watered down version of it. You still have to be authentic and still be heartfelt and real - we all know when something is real and when something is just made to get to noticed or please a certain demographic. I don’t do that. I try to keep it as authentic and as close to me as possible, because it has to be me. I won’t do anything crazy and do a video on a speedboat with champagne glasses. Well, I might do it on holiday, but not on a video, not when it comes to music [laughs]."
Did you use music to help you come through the house fire?
"I didn’t really have to. Two days after everything had gone, I was like, you know what, this could be at the right time because now I don’t have anything to lose - I could just lift off and leave everything that held me back behind. It was more like a new beginning."
Did that make you almost more grateful for what you have now?
"Yeah, of course. I was always grateful, but I’m also grateful it’s a new chance to really explore how far I can take it. I always try to be really optimistic and positive about certain things, about the way I look at stuff that happened to me. So in terms in gratefulness, I was always grateful for every little single thing, small or big. But this for me was an eye-opener and I’m happy that I’ve chosen that path, otherwise I wouldn’t be here sitting talking to you. And I’m really curious about what people are going to say about this new record. I’m already winning, so I’m happy. I’m never satisfied, but I’m always happy. I always appreciate everything that comes to me."
So are you a perfectionist when it comes to music?
"Oh yeah. I’m almost like a tyrant - I wouldn’t want to work with me, I’m really bad. But if it’s going to be out there and millions of people will listen to it, it has to be perfect, and then ‘my’ perfect. So in that way, If I listen to it in ten years I can’t be like ‘Oh I wish I’d had a couple more days to work on it’. I’ll take those couple of days and put in in there."
Being an artist, can you ever fully convey the ideas in your head into songs?
"Not always. I wish I could, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, when I have a certain idea and I work on it, something else comes up that I couldn’t even imagine. Sometimes you surprise yourself and you’re like ‘Wow, I didn’t even know I could do that or had that in me’. Like a beat - you start with the drum loop or something and it just turns into something completely different. That’s the aspect of creating music that I really like. The unknown. You never know what you’re going to stumble across."
Do you have many collaborations confirmed for your next album?
"I do, but I don’t really talk about stuff that I’m still working on. When it’s still processing, I don’t really talk about it. I want it to happen first - so that way, I can surprise people as well. You have a lot of people who announce what they’re doing and tell everything, and that takes the fun out of it. You never know, something might change last minute, but you’ve already said it so you gotta do it. I just work on the music and when it’s done it will be out there."
Watch the video for Mr Probz's 'Nothing Really Matters' below:
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