Prince Terrence has one of those personal resumés that’s so wide-ranging that it sounds made up. Raised in Louisville, he performed in his high school marching band before diving into the local underground punk scene, meeting a young Steve Aoki while playing house parties on the West Coast, getting recruited to New York to drum for dance-rock act Young love and, in time, becoming an in-demand DJ at clubs and warehouse parties. This was in addition to his work as a drummer for acts like Santigold, Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson and Major Lazer.
The newest Prince Terrence project comes under the name of his alter ego Rare Form: released on June 19, the lead “Rare Form” single is a hypnotically lusty, effortlessly cool homage to the feeling of falling in love on the dancefloor. The single, one of our favorite tracks of the year thus far, is the debut release from Cell Laboratories, a collaboration between Prince Terrence and Mattie Safer of The Rapture.
Premiering exclusively on Billboard Dance, the video for “All Night” is a kaleidoscopic ride through a night in clubland. Watch it below, and familiarize yourself with the Prince Terrence.
Your artist persona Prince Terrence has been described as a “New York nightlife icon.” Why is that?
My connection with the New York CIty club scene has taken me further in life than I would have ever imagined. I moved to New York [in 2008] to play drums for a band called Young Love. We were signed to Island/Def Jam, and the label paid for me to relocate to New York from Louisville. This instantly set a precedent for me to always make music professionally. I went on to play live with Santigold, Heartsrevolution, Major Lazer, Steve Aoki, Spank Rock and lots of others. I was constantly on tour over those years and spent only the in-between moments in New York.
During these times, I started DJing and was getting booked at all of the coolest clubs downtown. This was a natural progression for me as a drummer, as I am intrigued by how people respond to rhythms and beats. Through this I have found myself at the helm of some of the wildest nights, from warehouse parties to illegal after-hours in churches and abandoned movie theaters. I always create a vibe and offer my music as the soundtrack.
How does your work as Rare Form differ from your other output?
This is a bit of a different lane for me. In the past, I was never one to write songs about the personal side of life. My inspiration has been strictly party portrayal. Spending so much time in clubs, that’s what naturally transpires. I don’t have to create hypothetical nighttime fantasies, because I live them. Rare Form is in that same realm, but from a different perspective. I really wanted to focus on the reality and the relationships that flourish out of the chaos and debauchery, when you are forced to be human… vulnerable with real emotions.
What’s it like being around pop stars like Santigold, Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson?
I’ve been very fortunate to play with these acts. It usually starts as a friendship, and the music collaboration comes later. I met Steve Aoki years ago when he was in a punk band, as was I. Our bands played together at a house in Santa Cruz, Calif. We’ve stayed in touch ever since, so it’s cool to play his live shows in this new incarnation. With the Aoki/Louis Tomlinson live collaboration there were moments that made me realize, “Wow, this guy is in One Direction” — moments like One Direction fans being staked outside of our rehearsal studio every day to meet him.
What are your wildest memories of playing with Major Lazer?
I was around in the very early days when it was Diplo and Switch, the “Pon De Floor” days. I played the first Major Lazer show ever. When Diplo asked me to do it, I was immediately down, but he never actually sent me the record to hear so that I could learn the songs, so I improvised on drums through the entire hour and a half long set. I didn’t even know what Major Lazer would sound like until the moment I stepped on stage to play.
“All Night” is an unabashedly lustful song. What inspired the track? Where do you imagine it being played?
“All Night” is a song about the craving for the presence of someone, someone that you may not even know yet, and how quickly two individuals can transform from total strangers to lovers. This was inspired by my own experiences, and it is safe to say that it’s a very relatable topic. I imagine it being played in an ’80s film during the slow dance club sequence.
The video is directed by Malt Disney. What were you guys trying to create with “All Night”?
Malt is great. I was advised to check out his work a few years ago through a mutual friend that knows my appetite for new internet visual stimulation. What I like best about him is that his compositions are a visual assault on the senses — unpredictable and truly unlike anything I have seen before. I like to align myself with inventive artists that are pushing boundaries. My writing is very visual, so the accompaniment to bring that point across is super important to me.