MULTI-TALENTED DJ/RAPPER STEPH PROST AND
CLASSICALLY TRAINED POP SINGER AMANDA MAZE
JOIN FORCES AS AN EXPLOSIVE L.A.-BASED
The Recent Hollywood Music In Media Award (HMMA) Winner’s Lead Single
“Tear Me Down,” Breaks into the Top 50 on the BDS Top 40 Radio Indicator Chart “Strip Me Bare” Hits the Club Circuit
Why should male electro-pop duos have all the fun?
That’s what Steph Prost, the multi-talented L.A.-based DJ/rapper/songwriter behind the emerging two-girl group STASH (www.dancestash.com) thought when she heard LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and saw them become global EDM sensations.
A master at creating fresh mash-ups, the San Antonio native had built a great rep producing and DJing for exclusive private parties and events ranging from big film premieres to RedBull Spring Break, the Sundance Festival and South By Southwest. But music had always been part of the multi-instrumentalist’s family DNA, and she was restless to expand.
“I love being a DJ, but sometimes they get stuck just being thought of as opening for other performers, and I didn’t want that,” she says. “So I thought about all the groups like DADA LIFE, EC TWINS, LMFAO, W & W out there with lighthearted songs, giving people a good time and thought, why not a girl version to break that mold? There was a huge space for that.”
A few years later, Steph’s vision, ambition and funky way with a rap sets the groove for the powerhouse vocals of classically-trained pop singer Amanda Maze. With a musical partnership driven by natural chemistry and a playful, laid back friendship, they’re having a blast as STASH, gearing up to unleash their high energy pop meets electro-pop (or, as they like to dub it, “poppy house”) on the world. They write their (happy) songs with a guitar and their clean but spirited lifestyle creates a perfect backdrop for their music.
Steph’s killer DJ sets at Sundance brought a ton of new opportunities, and she ultimately joined forces and started working with producer Nick James, whose credits include arranging and producing on Justin Bieber’s Under The Mistletoe. The EP will also feature tracks produced and co-written by David Kidd and STASH’s current musical director Nick Annis. James says, “STASH is a breath of fresh air on the Pop/Dance scene. With all the energy they have I know they will leave an impression on everyone who meets them.”
The duo’s infectious debut single – the “lousy ex-boyfriend”-inspired anthem “Tear Me Down” – is currently making an impact on Top 40 radio, reaching #3 on the Mediabase Top 40 Pop Independent Label/Artist Most Active rankings and #36 on the BDS Top 40 Indicator Chart. STASH’s throbbing, lady-empowering “Strip Me Bare” is also being shipped to clubs and DJs across the country.
The duo recently rolled out two high-energy music videos all coming at you from different angles – including the slick, clubby, Hollywood-vintage (‘60s) themed clip for “Strip Me Bare,” and a fun slice of life for “Tear Me Down.” A third for their crisp and edgy, fun party manifesto “Red Cup! Pinky Up” is in production for a March release. STASH’s debut EP has been officially released on digital music sites including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Also the video for “Tear Me Down” currently has over 215,000 views since its debut on YouTube.
In November, 2014, STASH scored their first Hollywood Music In Media Award (HMMA) in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) category for “Strip Me Bare,” while “Red Cup! Pinky Up” scored a nomination in the Dance category. Held at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., the HMMAs (www.hmmawards.org) honor music from visual mediums, individuals who create and produce it, and both mainstream and independent musicians from around the globe. Among the many red carpet attendees included iconic DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold, Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White, and actor Eric Roberts.
STASH recently signed for exclusive representation with Central Entertainment Group (CEG), a New York-based full service boutique pop culture agency headquartered in Times Square. Rick Davis, the CEG agent who is now representing them, says, “STASH caught my ears instantly.” Speaking of “Tear Me Down,” he adds, “It’s going to be the big summer hit of 2015 – count on it!”
Steph worked with a few other girls but discovered true electro-pop magic when she met Amanda, a native of Birmingham, Ala. who began studying opera at age 14 and trained classically throughout her years at Auburn University. Amanda moved to L.A. to pursue music and acting, and performed in one L.A. opera before realizing it wasn’t going to be her career path. She immersed herself in the local jazz circuit and launched into pop by writing and recording with other artists, notably Top Nation Records.
One day when she was perusing social media, Amanda stumbled upon Steph’s post seeking a female singer for her pop group. She emailed Steph some songs and a link to her website. Steph was growing weary plowing through tons of lame submissions but knew immediately that Amanda was the right fit.
“Even during my classical training, I’ve have always been a Top 40 junkie, singing whatever is popular and on the charts,” Amanda says. “I liked Steph’s music from the start and knew I could bring something special to it.”
A total fashionista, Steph majored in graphic design at Boston University and worked for several years as a fashion designer (swimsuits and T-shirts) after she moved to L.A. She has also designed CD covers for fellow indie artists, and came up with the name STASH when she woke up at 5 a.m. one morning and just started drawing a logo with that word on it – pure random inspiration that gave birth to a new creative pathway.
Beyond looking for the perfect voice and crafting irresistible pop tunes and dance floor anthems, she knew the right visuals and imaging would be a big part of establishing and growing the STASH brand – which may ultimately include a clothing line featuring designs by Steph and Amanda. She liked the idea of working with a dark-haired girl to complement her platinum blond look.
“Unfortunately, people in L.A. have a tendency to submit photos that don’t really look like they do,” she laughs. “So that was a big plus with Amanda. She does! Beyond that, I liked her vibe. She wasn’t needy or dramatic or a diva, which is a huge problem in the music world. I much prefer people who are super talented and are cool about it. I knew teamwork would be the foundation in making STASH successful, and I could tell from the get-go that Amanda was a team player and not some frustrated solo artist.
“She has great singing chops, a good attitude, and was very cool,” Steph adds. “We’re just trying to make fun, happy music and I didn’t have the patience for a lot of drama and headaches. All of these were special songs I had worked on with the producers this past year, but they needed the right voice – Amanda’s voice. She brings STASH to a whole new level. There are groups where two girls sing but none that balance the singing and rapping like we do. It’s fun to break up songs and keep it interesting like that for the listener. We’re both very hard working and have been putting in 10-hour days rehearsing for our upcoming live shows.”
Amanda continues her music partner’s thoughts: “It’s a lot of work but we’re having a blast. It’s a natural fit for us. From day one, it’s been super chill. We make all creative decisions together and don’t stress over any little disagreements. I think STASH works well because we have one goal in mind. It’s not an issue of personal feelings, but what is best for the team as a whole. Also, Steph’s the perfect combination of an energetic artist without a diva attitude!”
Steph and Amanda bring an eclectic array of musical experiences to the mix. Steph comes from a family of seven musicians; her mother plays guitar, piano and percussion and her grandmother performed duo piano concertos and played organ at church for 60 years. Her mom encouraged her to play instruments her whole life. She started on piano, then played clarinet and “practically every other band instrument” in fourth grade before picking up the guitar in middle school and playing it throughout her teens. She grew up loving Eminem, Yin Yang Twins, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Missy Elliot.
“There are a lot of DJs who are masters of making beats but aren’t trained musicians,” Steph says, “and I think this background sets me apart and gives STASH a deeper musicality than other EDM-oriented groups. Though I worked in graphic and fashion design before I started DJing in L.A., the musical fire really was lit when I met Kim Fowley, a songwriter and producer who also managed The Runaways years ago. He saw a lot of potential, threw me into a studio and forced me to write rap tunes. That’s when I realized I could do it!”
Even while she was studying opera and classical voice, Amanda was digging on the hipper sounds of the Yin Yang Twins, Ludacris, Lil John and Outkast – while also listening to her very Southern parent’s collection of classic soul albums by Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and a batch of Motown greats.
“All of those mutual influences play a role in what Steph and I do as STASH,” she says, “but I think what we also share is the fact that we’ve both been through a lot of stops and starts, highs and lows and frustrating moments where things looked promising but didn’t work out. We feel gratitude every day because we’ve survived, and we now have this opportunity to work on tracks we love while having a frickin’ good time together. That fun, loose, energetic feeling is going to be part of our live show too, and it’s been fun not only rehearsing the music but figuring out how we’re going to converse on stage. We want our audience to have a great time too.”