Nolan Malloy, better known as Fringe in the local DMV scene and beyond, is a DJ and producer from Washington, D.C. who has been making some major waves in the local DMV music scene for the last decade. As part of this, he is also the Founder and current Head Man In-Charge of Proper Productions DC, an events company that has only grown since its inception in 2018. Proper Productions has been bringing in some of the freshest names in Drum n Bass, Dubstep, Breaks, and more to the DC and Baltimore live music scenes. HIHF caught up with Nolan to discuss his thoughts on the DMV DnB scene and its growth, plans for future Proper Productions events, and his recent 4-year anniversary party that featured drum n bass powerhouses The Upbeats, Justin Hawkes, as well as a special DnB + 140 set from Ternion Sound.

Proper Productions DC 4-Year Anniversary Party

Let’s get right into it. Proper Productions DC 4-Year Anniversary Party was an actual motion picture. The event took place earlier this Fall at The Crown in Baltimore with two floors of music for all walks of life to enjoy.

The 4-year anniversary party certainly felt like a mini indoor festival with all of the activity going on. Everyone crushed their sets and genuinely knew how to read the room, knowing what songs to play next and keeping the energy going all night long. Upstairs, we had the main room featuring headliners The Upbeats, Justin Hawkes and Ternion Sound, with Subversions b2b Fringe (Nolan) as the direct support.

Nolan didn’t stop there, though, bringing in world-renowned MC Armanni Reign, who kept the energy going all night and was even spitting some unbelievably fire bars over each artist’s beats. This was also the first-ever Ternion Sound drum n bass club set. While most of us know them for their enticing 140 dubstep sets, they have been known to throw down some energy-filled DnB sets, showing that there are really no limits to their creativity.

There were visual projections on the wall, lasers, fog machines, and killer sound provided by SoundBender Soundsystem. There were even some vendors at the event, showing off their beautiful artwork, jewelry, apparel, and more. On the first floor, there was a strong showcase of local talent, with names like Shreztah b2b Raychill Sound, Gingersnap, Midnight Club b2b Munchii, and several others. They were flexing on the ever-popular Hennessy sound system provided by Vibrate Awake.

My personal favorite was Justin Hawkes, an artist that I had been trying to see ever since he went by the alias Flite. He threw down a masterclass set, full of new tracks he’s been working on under the Justin Hawkes alias. His mixing was on another level, throwing in these insane doubles and triples that left the entire crowd mind-blown from what they had just witnessed. Check out the full set on YouTube, courtesy of Good Vibes Promotions.

 

The four-year anniversary party followed an epic throwdown at the 8×10 in Baltimore a few weeks prior, which featured the legendary Sam Binga and Fixate, as well as some great local talent. Following the anniversary party, Proper Productions hosted an insane Halloween party at the 8×10, featuring the young legend LYNY, as well as dubstep heavy-hitters Sam Lamar and VLCN.

While the party was epic, the following conversation with Nolan was an awesome example of a homegrown story that has blossomed into something truly special.

HIHF: Congratulations on hitting the 4-year mark for Proper Productions! Where did the idea for starting Proper Productions DC come from?

Nolan: As someone who had been DJ’ing for a while, I really wanted to create my own lane. I started out really small with these local, free shows – just giving back to the community however I could. I started “Bass Down Unda” which was pretty much the thing before Proper. It was called Bass Down Unda because we would literally throw these free parties in the basement of 9:30 Club (Washington, D.C.). There would be shows going on upstairs on the main floor of 9:30, and then you could go downstairs to find our free shows going on at the same time. Lupe Fiasco was actually performing at 9:30 the first time we did a Bass Down Unda party, so there was a lot of really cool crossover between different audiences who got to discover some new music. Bass Down Unda is a multi-genre event where you can play whatever you want – I would typically have 1-2 drum n bass artists, a dubstep artist, and then maybe like a house/breaks artist as well. So yeah, that’s how it all started and then five to six months into that, I wanted to start doing headlining events, so I booked Evol Intent, and then it took off from there.

HIHF: That’s really cool! We love a nice homegrown story here at Heard It Here First. Given that you have been DJ’ing for a while, I’m curious – What was the drum n bass scene in the DMV like five years ago compared to where it is at now?

Nolan: Baltimore has honestly been a little lackluster over the years, a long, long time actually – but you had groups like the Concrete Jungle Baltimore Crew, Interrupt Productions for a little bit, Lonnie Fisher (who was a big part in throwing StarScape back in the day), and a couple other smaller collectives. Honestly, even before that you had Steez [Promo] when they used to do drum n bass before they dove into the heavy dubstep. D.C. has always had a pretty strong drum n bass scene for last couple of decades, but with Baltimore I saw a pretty big hole and market opportunity to bring more drum n bass events back to that area.

HIHF: Interesting! So drum n bass is certainly catching on more and more in this area (as well as nationally, for the most part) – Have you noticed a shift in terms of the local scene’s mindset towards and appreciation for drum n bass? Is it more of a trendy thing now compared to what it used to be?

Nolan: I think it’s really cool what’s going on with drum n bass right now. If there’s a dope 140/dubstep artist that I really want to see, they will typically throw in a few minutes of drum n bass into their sets, which is super cool to see. For the “old heads” who historically spin nothing but drum n bass, that is sort of seen as corny now which is really interesting. You can definitely tell that more and more people are catching on, just by going on social media and reading the comments of some big artist dropping a drum n bass track. On the event side of things, I think the next wave is going to be making multi-genre nights happen more, not sticking to one genre for a one-night event.

HIHF: Is multi-genre what you’re primarily focused on for your events going forward?

Nolan: Definitely, I still want to focus on drum n bass, but want to mix it up with some other genres. So like, this 4-year anniversary party – we had The Upbeats and Justin Hawkes, who are drum n bass artists, but then I also brought in Ternion Sound, who is primarily 140, but they also throw down some drum n bass as well. They actually played two sets at Bigfoot Electro in Tennessee earlier this year, where their main set was 140, and then they also had a late-night set that was strictly Jungle. I actually played right after them at Bigfoot and we talked about bringing them in for a club set, and now here we are! Our next show is actually going to be Black Carl!, Um.., and Nik P at The Crown in November. I like the multi-genre route because I can still force feed drum n bass to the younger generation in a more palatable fashion and get more people on board with the genre, while also bringing in other sick names who play other stuff.

HIHF: Absolutely, I know the local scene is super appreciative of that approach to event curation. So, what’s next for Proper Productions in general?

Nolan: Well, for starters I am becoming a dad, so that is going to significantly impact my life and how I run Proper Productions. There will still be parties – I actually have some events locked in for early 2023 already. Part of me is also thinking about doing like less parties, or maybe like seasonal shows, like once every three months or so and just going all out with the lineup, production, sound, etc. I don’t want to be in a situation where I can’t be there for my kid because I’ve thrown a lot of money towards these parties. That being said, there will be parties in 2023. Another thing I’m focused on is creating a cool vibe and atmosphere in the venues where we throw parties, including stuff like decorations, LED clouds and lights, interactive visuals, lasers – I really want it to be a next-level club experience. I feel like a lot of the younger generation hasn’t experienced anything like that from like the classic rave scene days. But yeah, that’s what I’m focused on for future parties – big budget for artists but also a significant portion of the budget is going towards the decorations and sound.

We can’t thank Nolan enough for taking the time to speak with us about all things Proper Productions DC! Up next for Proper Productions is another epic throw down at The Crown in Baltimore, featuring Black Carl!, Um.. and Nik P. They are putting on this event with Headnod Entertainment, a local events company that has been making its own waves in 2022, bringing in names like Keota, Thought Process, Alejo, Innamind Recordings, and several other talented names. Proper Productions and Headnod will also be collaborating on another show in December, featuring Smoakland, Tape B, Milano and Zen Selekta. If you’re in the area for either of these shows, come see what it’s all about and meet some awesome people! More info on both shows can be found below.

Upcoming Shows:

Friday, November 11 – Black Carl!, Um.. + Nik P| Tickets | Facebook Event Page

Saturday, December 12 – Smoakland, Tape B, Milano + Zen Selekta | Tickets | Facebook Event Page

Follow Proper Productions DC on Socials: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Featured photos from InMotion Photography

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