DATING ADVICE FROM A 200 YEAR OLD CARTOON CHARACTER
AN INTERVIEW WITH MILO (AKA JAMES McCOLLUM) FROM PROZZÄK
Ask any Canadian between the ages of 23-30 who Prozzäk is and watch their eyes light up in excitement. Thanks to heavy rotation on Much Music, anyone who was a kid during the late 90s, early 2000s has a very special place in their heart for the cartoon band. Hits like “Strange Disease” and “www.nevergetoveryou.com” helped probably this unlikely duo to mainstream success. Now, 17 years after Simon and Milo ruled the video channels, they’re back and ready to find love in this strange new world of ours.
Officially Simon and Milo are over 200 years old, once enemies the two were sent to The then present of 1999 on a quest to find friendship and true love. After the release of 2005’s Cruel Cruel World, Prozzäk were accidentally frozen by their maid, waking up in the 2017, still looking for true love. But this time Simon has Tinder and Bumble to help them. It’s a complicated backstory to say the least. In reality Prozzäk are Jay Levin (Simon) and James Bryan McCollum (Milo). The two originally met while performing in The Philosopher Kings before creating Prozzäk.
Strangely enough the inspiration to bring Simon and Milo back came from an unlikely source. “There was a Vice article, about Prozzäk” James recalls, “and that kind of got us to play the Atomic Lollipop Festival (in 2015)”. The festival marked the perfect opportunity for the time displaced band to make their come back. “It was this great mix of anime and Fan Expo that Prozzäk just fit perfectly into.”
For those in the crowd it was like Prozzäk had never left. James offers a few theories as to why the cartoon duo hold such a special place in fans hearts: “it could be because Much Music played our videos so often,” he theorizes “or it could be because people relate so much to Simon. Everyone at some point is going to feel heartbroken. They’re going to have to get up and search for love again.” In the age of Tinder and Bumble, Simon’s endless search for love is a struggle many millennials know all too well.
Some may find it surprising that both Jay and James draw so much from their personal lives when writing music for Prozzäk. The group’s upcoming release Forever 1999 draws much from Jay’s experience trying dating apps and navigating the pitfalls of love in a digital world. Even Prozzäk’s fictional history is based in some truth. “Jay and I actually got into a fist fight in Montreal after a Philosopher Kings gig. Out of that we decided to make music together.” Although James is quick to admit that there are aspects of Milo’s character that he doesn’t quite identify with. “Going to night clubs every night isn’t really me, but I do like yoga and smoothies” laughs James.
Aside from the upcoming release Forever 1999 James admits that he and Jay have it plans for the group’s reunion. “Right from the get go, we thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to do a musical or a movie’. These days it’s a lot easier to do. Something like a web series” For the fans lucky enough to catch the group on their upcoming tour James encourages them to dress up and keep their eyes out for an interactive Pokémon GO style app that lets users interact with the band on stage as well as the crowd.
Prozzäk are a band almost tailor made for the millennial generation. They’re a little odd, but they wear their hearts on their sleeves. It’s been a long 17 years without them, but there’s a little more colour in the world thanks to those cartoon characters showing up on video screens again.
And for those who, like Simon, are burnt out and unlucky with love Milo has some simple advice:
“Remember. Tomorrow is a new day. And probably a new app.”
Forever 1999 Tour
Thu, March 30 – Ottawa, ON – Algonquin Commons Theatre
Fri, March 31 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
Sun, April 2 – London, ON – London Music Hall
Wed, April 5 – Winnipeg, MB – Pyramid
Thurs, April 6 – Saskatoon, SK – Saskatoon Events Centre
Fri, April 7 – Edmonton, AB – The Ranch
Sat, April 8 – Calgary, AB – The Palace
Mon, April 10 – Red Deer, AB – Bo’s Bar & Grill
Wed, April 12 – Kelowna, BC – Kelowna Community Theatre
Fri, April 14 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
Sun, April 16 – Victoria, BC – Sugar Nightclub