Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Brackles Interview

This post is already pretty text heavy, so let’s keep the intro short and sweet. Brackles is a Rinse FM regular, formerly a chipper dubstep producer, now on more of a slomo bass tip. He co-runs the Blunted Robots imprint alongside Shortstuff; their artwork is pretty swish and they host the Robot Dance parties once in a while (although humans are also free to attend).

He’s set to play the next Stop.Drop.Roll party at The Nest on 1st July with Benji B and Deadboy so I caught up with him for a quick chat about dancehall, radio and studio time. Full S.D.R. event details below, as well as some really slim youtube widgets so you can listen to some Brackles whilst you read about him…

How do you balance your time between running a label, DJing and producing? Do you find yourself neglecting certain tasks in favour of the more creative, fun stuff?

I would say my priority is my radio show on Rinse, so I spend most of the week listening to music I've been sent or trying to find more music for the show, which kind of helps with the label as well. Whatever time I have left I will spend on making music.

Do you ever wish you were releasing music at a time when music piracy wasn’t such an issue, or do you enjoy finding new ways of making a living from music?

It'd be nice to make more money off of record sales but I've always wanted to focus on DJing. I do find it worrying though that there isn't enough money for most producers to make a living out of it without having to DJ. You could end up missing the next Todd Edwards because of it. Artists need to be able to hone their skills without having to spend half their week travelling about DJing.

You’re the name behind the Songs for Endless Cities mix CD; do you feel a certain pressure putting something like that together? How do you approach making selections for a compilation?

With SFEC they specifically asked for a compilation of the best of the new music that had come from people playing across the board. In the end it wasn't too difficult picking the music as I just went back through my favourite tracks from that time, it just took a bit of time to make sure that the mix was programmed the right way.

What recent release, if any, has made you think, “god, I wish I produced that!”

There has been a lot of stuff I really like recently but nothing that has given me that feeling. The only song I can think of that has ever made me feel like that is Mr Fingers, ‘Stars’. I can't find fault in that record, every element is perfect.

How important a platform is Rinse FM to you? Has it helped to raise your profile? Were you a regular follower of the main pirate stations back in the day?

Yeah Rinse has been so important to me and has definitely improved my profile. They really help support their artists and develop them. I never mix at home so it's great to have two hours of the week set aside to play all the new music I've been sent.

I followed the stations I could pick up out in Hertfordshire when I was a teenager. Used to get a bit of upfront, mission and Déjà vu. Although it isn't a pirate, I feel I should mention Kiss as we used to listen to EZ religiously on there as well as Matt Jam Lamont and Luck and Neat. It was pretty exciting listening to all this new music then trying to track down the 12"s without knowing any of the names.

We loved your Serani edit! Do you actively follow the dancehall/bashment stuff coming to the fore at the moment?

Thanks! I don't really follow it that much but one of my neighbours rinses it out night and day so I've heard a few bits I like out the window on a summer's day.

What’s the dynamic like when in the studio with Shortstuff? Do you have different strengths that you draw from? Are there ever stylistic disagreements?

Although I do think we have different strengths, when we're in the studio neither of us has a set role and we'll both chip in at any point. I think you can hear that when you listen to our stuff because it doesn't really sound like either of our solo stuff. There are plenty of disagreements over what sounds good but we know each other well enough that we'll say if something sounds shit.

The way your productions have slowed down has been discussed in previous features; has this just been a natural progression, or an active decision. Do you think you sound works better under 130bpm?

I decided to drop down to 128 as everything I was playing was around that tempo. I think my stuff definitely works better at that tempo and I've had other people say that to me as well. I was still pretty new to production when I was making the faster stuff so it's kind of natural that my stuff sounds better now. I do enjoy the juvenile quality of ‘LHC’ or ‘Get a Job’ though.

What have you got lined up for the summer? Any releases/collaborations/Robot Dances we should look out for?

DJ wise I've got a few festivals lined up (Outlook, Global Gathering, Lovebox). I'm just wrapping up my album with Rinse now, so hopefully it'll be out at the end of the summer. There will also be a 12" sampler dropping before that with Spider and Take Me Home.

Stop.Drop.Roll presents Benji B + Deadboy + Brackles

01/07/11, 9pm - 4am

Free before 10pm, £5 after

The Nest, 36 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 7XJ

Sophie T

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