Propellerheads are a British big beat music band made up of electronic producers Will White and Alex Gifford. The term "Propellerhead" is slang for a nerd, and when Gifford and White heard a friend from California use this in a conversation, they thought it the perfect name for their band.
Their first release was an EP named Dive!, published in 1996 through independent label Wall of Sound. They gained fame the next year by providing a remix for Bond composer David Arnold's Bond tribute album Shaken & Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project covering John Barry's On Her Majesty's Secret Service the theme song to the sixth James Bond film, re-orchestrated by Arnold. They also collaborated with Arnold on the track Backseat Driver, for the Tomorrow Never Dies soundtrack. The single "History Repeating" followed, a collaboration with diva Shirley Bassey, fusing big beat with jazz.
The only Propellerheads album to date is Decksandrumsandrockandroll, released in 1998 by Wall of Sound in Europe and DreamWorks in the US and Japan. The Dreamworks versions include collaborations with hip hop veterans De La Soul and Jungle Brothers, and the Japanese version is a 2 disc special edition including some of their earlier singles. A track from the album, "Spybreak!", became widely known after its use in the lobby scene in The Matrix. They are also noted for providing "Crash" as the theme tune to BBC Radio 1's Official Chart Show between 1998 and 2002, when Mark Goodier was the host. This song was also used in the 1999 hit comedy film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
After touring for their hit album, Will White fell ill. They released Extended Play EP in 1998, and in the song "Props' Vote Of Gratitude", Alex Gifford raps for the first time, explaining to the attentive listener that the band would "be back after this short break". Gifford moved to New York and produced the Jungle Brothers' 1999 album V.I.P. in which he raps with The Black Eyed Peas among others. Will White provided the drums for the eponymous track. He has also produced a track for Rufus Wainwright ("Shadows") on his 2001 album Poses. White has since released a mix compilation for the Beatz and Bobz series, and he has also appeared as a member of the De-Fex music project.
The Propellerheads also appear on the Red Hot and Indigo album on the track "Star Crossed Lovers", with vocals by Martha Wainwright.
In November 1998 the song "Bang On!" was included in the Nintendo 64 computer game Wipeout 64.
In October 2003 Wall of Sound commemorated its 10th birthday, and to celebrate, released a two disc album charting 10 years of its pioneering British music. The first CD featured alumni such as Röyksopp, The Wiseguys and Mekon, while Gifford provided a mix CD for the second disc. The first track on that disc was a new song by Propellerheads featuring Brooklyn based writer Livingroom Johnston, entitled "10 Years".
Their song "Take California" was the first song ever used in an Apple iPod television ad.
Will White is now part of the live incarnation of Long Range, the latest project of Phil Hartnoll of Orbital fame.
* Dive EP (1996)
* Propellerheads EP (1997)
* Decksandrumsandrockandroll (1998)
* Extended Play EP (1998)
* Star profile (2000)
* "Take California" (1997)
* "Spybreak!" (1997)
* "History Repeating" (1997) - featuring Dame Shirley Bassey
* "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1997) with David Arnold
* "Bang On!" (1998)
* "Crash!" (1998)
* "Velvet Pants" (1998)
* "Take California And Party" (1999)