Courtesy of Megan Schram

Part of the allure of the Detroit underground music scene is the diversity of talent, spanning countless genres, often going unnoticed. Lately I’ve been immersing myself in the experimental pop scene of the city which turns out is pretty expansive. So many ridiculously talented musicians are creating brilliantly textured music spanning every area of pop music, evolving independently parallel of one another. Enter Prussia, named after a historic European state, embodying the essence of avant garde pop, virtually unknown outside of the Detroit underground scene. Incorporating elements of soul and psychedelia supported by ambient vocals, Prussia is not just another run of the mill pop outfit. In this city you don’t have to go too far to find anything; Prussia and some of the other experiential projects within Detroit might be one of the best things worth discovering in Detroit. We recently got in contact with singer/guitarist Ryan Spencer to talk about the band and Detroit music in general. Oh, and also don’t miss Prussia and other cutting edge artists at Mittenfest on January 1 at the Elbow Room in Ypsi.

Detroit Undeground: Your music resembles a form of pop that is seldom heard and completely unique in its own way. Does your eclectic sound come from similar musical influences or a combination of many different backgrounds?

Ryan Spencer: We don’t in any way try to make strange music. I’m flattered to hear that it comes off that way, but i would say that we attempt pop music. Because we all listen to a lot of different kinds of music (hip-hop, psychedelic, soul, dub, pop, afro, jazz, indie, etc..) our music becomes a sort of amalgamation of that.

DU: Tell us a little about Mittenfest.

RS: Mittenfest is a really cool event put on by a great guy named Brandon, who is generally interested in Michigan music. He wants to shed more national light on the cool things that are happening locally.

DU: I’ve said this before, but I believe the pop scene in Detroit is gaining some momentum. Where do you think you fit in and what do you think is the reason for the surge in its popularity?

RS: I would definitely agree that the “scene” has been building lately. I don’t know that we really fit in to the rock n’ roll thing that happens in Detroit, but we’ve somehow been embraced by the people who are a part of that whole thing. I’ve always felt that we fit nicely along side bands like Lord Scrummage (and all the many facets of that band), Marco Polio, Alan Scheurman, Wildcatting, and those type of bands. and have the utmost respect for people like Dan Demagio, Matt Conzett, & Johnny Defrancesco who are making really cool music. I also think Child Bite deserves all the attention that they get.

DU: What are you currently working on? When can people expect your next release?

RS: We’ve been working really really hard on a new album. We have  a lot of new songs written and will be recording them in the early spring. We will self release a full length and possibly a companion e.p. I’m excited about it.

DU: How has your music evolved since the beginning? Do you think your music has gotten edgier or more serene as the band progresses?

RS: I believe our music has gotten “edgier” originally relying heavily on neo-soul and then on the 2nd release falling closer to Scott Walker influenced stuff. Tthe new stuff is sounding like a really tripped out white people version of Massive Attack. But as i said before, it’s all pop music.

DU: There is a definite hint of nostalgia in your music; do you think this opens your music to a wider variety of ages?

RS: Older people hate Prussia. they think my voice is shrill and unlistenable. i don’t blame them. my mother thinks I’m wasting my time, and doesn’t understand why I do something that I don’t get paid for.

DU: Being an underground band, do you believe there should be more outlets covering local talent? Do you believe that a lot of Detroit’s talent goes undiscovered?

RS: I believe the outlets are there, they’re just covering the wrong stuff; they need to follow the freaks and the artists, the people doing real interesting things- not pop bands. Who gives a shit about another pop band? People can get that stuff on MTV and Pitchfork. Real Detroit Weekly should do an entire issue on the underground noise scene, but they won’t.

DU: What are your overall thoughts on the Detroit local scene and where do you see it heading?

RS: I see Detroit’s music scene moving out of state to find better jobs, but I’m probably gonna stick around and make music as long as I can afford to.

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