You gotta love musicians. You prepare a long list of intensive questions in order to bleed them of any interesting and potentially juicy information, and they always manage to squirm their way out of it, though not without charming you into not noticing.
Take Jason Levine for example, the charismatic and animated (excuse the pun) Simon from Prozzak. When asked what his short-term goals are, a long, deliberate pause follows and then as the suspense builds the anticipated answer comes: “I’d really like to get some pasta.” Absolutely charming.
Although Simon and Milo, the creative forces of Prozzak, are blowing up the pop music scene and making waves on the net, these cartoons are not one-dimensional. One look at the past, present, and future of this duo redefines the meaning of multi-tasking in a three-dimensional medium.
These days, formula bands are all the rage. And what exactly is a formula band, you may be asking yourself? Well, the crude basics involve a few head honchos at a music label scouting fresh, new talent, slapping four or five members together and voilà! A music group extraordinaire.
On the flipside, there is the traditional way of starting a band, where a couple of musicians meet haphazardly, form lifelong friendships and mutual respect while skyrocketing to fame.
And then there’s this scenario, where two band members, let us say, of The Philosopher Kings, are self-proclaimed, “mortal enemies”, finally make peace one night in Saskatoon while touring, put two melodies together and ignite the collaboration later to be known as Prozzak. When asked about the raging hostility, Levine laughs, “Yeah, I respected James [McCollum] for what he wrote, but our senses of humour just clashed.”
They had to find a way to stay in the Philosopher Kings without starting a small-scale war, so they finally put it all aside and as one thing led to the next, they finally ended up with the creation of Simon and Milo. Interestingly enough, making peace in this situation was a particularly profitable endeavour.
Levine and McCollum turned a mutual respect for their musical abilities into something that could over-ride their differences. Music truly is not only a universal language, but also a tie that binds in this case. Levine offers some wise counsel in saying that in conflict, “… violence is not the answer. It’s completely counterproductive. It’s better to take a step back, walk away, and wait until the next day.”
Just imagine, if Levine and McCollum hadn’t buried the proverbial hatchet, “sucks to be you,” might have never entered into our daily conversations as cliché of the day.
With the past rolling away in the rear-view mirror of life, Levine notes that Prozzak is completely different than the Philopsher Kings and sees it as creative freedom in a way he couldn’t access before. Simon, the cartoon character, allows him to be totally honest while not having to cringe at his own self-expression.
“Simon is based on me, searching for love… lonely and depressed, pretty dramatic.” All this honesty is edged with a good amount of humour though, to give Prozzak its signature style. Not that Prozzak needs any more distinction because they already stand on the forefront of animation in music. They use technology not only to create their electronic-inspired music, but also to keep as close to the fans as possible.
Their award-winning website allows them to communicate with their fans and keep them updated on the latest. When pondering the differences between the traditional acoustic sound of the Kings to the electronic, technological approach of Prozzak, Levine comments that, “People will always love music, it doesn’t matter what the source is.”
Which brings us to the future. Where is Prozzak zipping off to? While they continue to write every day and to record and produce, they are excited about their release in the States. But even more exciting are the plans in progress for a TV show, which could be released in about three years through Disney. Of course, Levine and McCollum will be the voices of Simon and Milo. You can also expect to hear a new Prozzak song every episode.
So grabbing a metaphorical telescope, I ask Levine what he sees as a long-term goal. After anticipating a long-winded answer, he states: “I’d like to see a Simon and Milo Broadway Musical developed. Yup. With Charleton Heston as a lead.”