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After 12 years out of the public eye and nearly 20 years since their debut, Canadian cartoon sidekicks Prozzäk are back with a new single, “Love Me Tinder.”
A pop ballad that name-checks a dating app is the perfect reintroduction to a duo who have always hung their animated hats on three pillars: tongue-in-cheek narratives, the rollercoaster search for love and a fun integration of technology.
If you think about it, Prozzäk’s cartoon front men Simon and Milo (known IRL as Jay Levine and James Bryan) were Bitmojis before Bitmojis existed. So, a song about another App Store staple feels like a 2017 no brainer.
For steadfast Prozzäk fans, you’ll find “Love Me Tinder” is a welcome update to the formula that launched the duo to fame in the first place. The song details Simon’s love trials “in a modern time”—his swiping woes brought to life by bouncy chords, that laidback British drawl and a gummy hook that will fuse itself inside your brain the way their past hits have.
If “Love Me Tinder” is your first hit of Prozzäk, you can get familiar by digging back a few decades.
In the late 90s—an age of mass musical experimentation when party rap rose, dance music reigned and rock and pop were dominated by a mixed bag of cookie cutter icons, outcasts and even a few cartoons—the arrival of Prozzäk felt natural.
Originally part of Canadian pop-rock band The Philosopher Kings, members Levine and Bryan’s bickering reached a boiling point when the pair erupted into a fist fight outside a Montréal restaurant.
“It sounds cheesy, but the remedy for not getting along was trying to write some music together,” says Bryan. “It turns out we had great chemistry.”
The two produced a few upbeat songs, which they wanted to pitch to dance group Ace of Base, seeing as a non-Brit singing with a goofy British accent who was also terrified of performing didn’t lend well to launching a band. And so were born Prozzäk’s two cartoon lead characters—the lovesick singer Simon and his towering sidekick Milo—as monikers they would initially hide behind, but would eventually set them apart.
With hits like “Strange Disease,” “Sucks To Be You” and “www.nevergetoveryou,” the pair were ahead of their time, uniquely using digital props and visuals during a different kind of visual age—the glory days of the music video, the MuchMusic Countdown. Their multi-platinum, JUNO-nominated debut album Hot Show melded dance and Brit-rock to create a flavour of earworm pop that ruled the millennium.
“When we first came out, we were in our early 20s,” says Bryan, reflecting on Prozzäk’s early success from his home in Toronto. “You never understand it when you’re right in it.”
While they went on to release three more albums before 2005—two which followed in Hot Show’s steps and another that defined what Bryan calls their “rebellious, awkward” stage—it was a 2015 reunion performance at Atomic Lollipop Festival that cemented the notion of don’t fix what ain’t broken.
“We just realized we really love Simon and Milo and want to stay true to them,” Bryan says. “We can’t mess with something that was really special to a lot of people.”
All of this has brought the pair to their forthcoming album Forever 1999, which will revive the “cryogenically frozen” Simon and Milo when it drops on March 31. Bryan and Levine are proud of the nostalgia piece—it’s written right there in the album name—but promise that the past 19 years of music, romantic and digital discovery are all very audible in the new material.
With the album and its accompanying Canadian tour, the pair are excited to find the old fans who feel very “Forever 1999” towards the band, as well as the new ones—the millennials—who will definitely know what “Love Me Tinder” is all about. It’s both old and new territory for the musicians, but all roads seem to have brought them back to Prozzäk.
“We’re a bit nervous,” laughs Bryan. “But as artists, we’re happy to have gotten here.”
Prozzäk Forever 1999 Tour Dates
Mar 29: Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Canada
Mar 30: Algonquin Commons – Theatre Ottawa, Canada
Mar 31: The Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, Canada
Apr 02: London Music Hall – London, Canada
Apr 06: Saskatoon Event Centre – Saskatoon, SK
Apr 07: The Ranch Roadhouse – Edmonton, Canadare
Apr 08: The Palace Theatre – Calgary, Canada
Apr 10: Bo’s Bar & Grill – Red Deer, AB
Apr 14: Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, Canada
Apr 16: Sugar Nightclub – Victoria, Canada