DJ Breeze

Stepping into the Jungletechno hotseat for 2006 is DJ Breeze.
DJ Breeze is one half of hardcore's most profilic producers of today Raver Baby's Breeze and Styles.

1. Part of the Raver Baby crew, how did you team up with Styles and Hixxy?

I’ve known both of them for a number of years, when I got started making hardcore Hixxy was running Essential Platinum with Dougal. Darren I knew through Dougal and DJ’ed for him (Styles) and Force at their night UK Dance on Clacton Pier.

2. Do you remember how you got into raving? What was your first raving experience?

I remember it like yesterday to be honest … my first big rave was an early ESP outdoor event called ‘Heaven on Earth ‘it really stunned me, I still have the flyer from it. I used to make it to Milwaukee’s Night club at Souldrop, Rushden (just on boarders on Bedford and Northampton) every Friday night, it was ESP one weekend then Helter Skelter the next, and I was a regular there for years. I still have my Helter Skelter membership card!

3. How would you describe your DJ’in style and what are your musical influences?

I’m not one for chopping it all up and showing off, I tend to just get the music building and mixing it as good as I can, although I always keep my eye on the dance floor. Some DJ’s can be blind to what is going on in the club and not really playing to the crowd.

The job of a DJ is to make you dance and enjoy yourself, not just play what you want to play.

4. Recently yourself and the Raver Baby crew (Hixxy, Styles, Re-Con, Storm & Whizzkid) have toured Australia playing in Sydney, at The Sydney Superdome (one the venues used to stage the Olympic games)
What was it like to perform at a venue on this scale? What is the scene like there in Australia in comparison to the UK?

Myself and Styles have been lucky enough to play at the Superdome four times now, the venue is amazing it’s a huge stadium with a full on concert type show. The night before we played there they had 50 cent, so you can imagine the size of the place.

The Australian scene is a healthy one; they are very up to date with the music. DJ Weaver is the biggest Hardcore DJ out there, who is also a Raverbaby artist and they have heard a lot of our tracks through him very upfront.

5. As one of the most successful producers of recent times in the hardcore scene how did you get into producing?

I did my first record some years ago, after hooking up with some friends at the time, we went into Noisegate Studio, which was Double Trouble’s Studio, and did a rap track which was released on Furious Fish records, it never went anywhere but it was a start. But the first hardcore track I did was ‘Miles Ahead’ which was with Mickey Skeedal and was on Essential Platinum. That gave me the buzz to carry on and learn the trade of engineering and producing.

6. You and Darren Styles have won Best Track consecutively for (‘You’re shining’ 2003, ‘Heartbeatz’ 2004 ‘Slide away’ 2005) at the Hardcore Heaven awards. How does that feel to win the award for 3 years running?

It’s a fantastic feeling to know people are enjoying your music, we never go in the studio with any thoughts in our minds to say ‘this track will be next years best track ‘, its just one of those things that if it works it works! We have been lucky to have some good ideas over last few years for some great tracks.

7. What do you say to people who complain about the new remixes of the classic tunes? Such as, ‘Keep on Tryin’, ‘Cutting Deep’, ‘Pacific Sun’, ‘Shining Down’ etc.

I suppose its each to there own really, the way I see it is, these tracks are classics in there own right, but if redoing the track means it moves it on that one step further production wise, then why let a hardcore classic not get remixed again? It has a lot of meaning to people to sometimes hear their favourite track again and the new kids coming into the scene may like to hear it too.

8. ‘Dark Like Vader’, A massive tune at the moment. How did this come about and what was it like working with Storm in the studio?

It’s good working with other people, it gives you a different outlook on the track, the idea came about by one or two samples really and that set us off. Storm liked the sound and laid the vocal down, and it just worked. He’s very certain of what he wants in the track and that helps a lot, and when you have a great vocal lyric to work with you got half the ingredients already.

9. How does it feel when you see the crowd buzzing and singing along to one of the tracks that you’ve produced?

That’s a crazy feeling, I often stand there and think, this was being made in my studio few months ago and now all you lot are singing it! Ha-ha.
It’s a great feeling you just can’t beat.

10. How do you go about producing a track?? Do you have an idea behind the sound your going make or do you wait for inspiration to hit you?

Sometimes its just a riff idea or even down to a sample, when we did ‘Sonic’ , ‘Electric’ and ‘To The Dance Floor’ it was just from the samples in the track, then we wrote the riff around it, but when you are doing a vocal track the riff comes around it. Then you find a sound that you feel compliments it. Sometimes finding the right sounds can take longer then just getting the track together.

11. What was it like to have chart success with ‘You’re Shining’ and ‘Heartbeatz’? How long will it be before we see yourself and Darren on Top of the Pops? What do you say to people who complain about hardcore going too commercial??

It was great to reach no 19 and 16 respectively with those tracks. It has really opened our music up to a wider audience, but we have always known that there has been great content and writing in hardcore, and it was nice to cross it over to the national charts.

I don’t think hardcore had gone commercial because it’s not been hardcore speed tracks that have entered the charts. If say ‘You’re shining’ entered the charts at 168 bpm then I would have thought this isn’t good, not that it ever would! Can you imagine JK & Joel playing it at that speed! Ha-ha.

Back when ‘Sesame’s Treat’ came out it was the original track that entered the charts, and because of the shear blatant use of the sesame street theme tune it made the industry look at it as a laughable scene. But the cross over tracks that have made it into the commercial market have been well written original tracks.

12. Clubland X-treme Hardcore has sold over 100,000 copies since its original launch back middle 2005. Did you ever anticipate the success seeing as hardcore was being introduced to a new and mass audience??

We knew we had a great platform in AATW/Universal to showcase the album, so we had to make sure we had some good quality hardcore material on there, and it seemed to work, they have been very happy with the outcome and so have we. It’s now amassed over 150,000 copies and has still been selling.

As we speak, Clubland X-treme Hardcore 2 will be out, and on this one we have been ever happier with the material on it. The production from some of the artists is even better now, and it shows on the album.

13. What’s your favourite track that you have produced or co-produced to date and why?

‘You’re Shining’ holds a special place in my heart, but when we did ‘Futureset’ that was a bit of a turning point for me. I was always into trance, as was Darren, so to try a riff like that, and keep the track hardcore made it kind of special. I remember the first time I played it, was at Helter Skelter at Bowlers, Manchester, and the reaction was outstanding for a track that was different.

14. You were part of the team that setup Essential Vinyl in Northampton alongside, Mark Lambert (HTID). How did this come about?

Me and Lambert have been friends for many years, and we were both not doing a great deal at the time, I was DJ’in and Lambert had just finished working for some company, so we got the crazy notion to open a record shop. As I was living in Northampton we found a place and opened Essential Vinyl & Clothing. Which we ran for 3 years between 1996 and 2000, until mark got busy with Sidewinder & I got more into producing.

15. With the scene being at it’s healthiest point for a very long time, especially with so many events going on every weekend and more compilations being made available. What do you think is behind the success of hardcore in recent years?

There has been a lot of talent and good productions to keep the music moving, and over last few years the emergence of some great producers (Gammer / Re-Con / Uplift / Euphony and more recently Sqaud-E) with tracks that have had an individual style to them.

16. Storm or Whizzkid?

I am not even going to contemplate that question, both of them I consider my best friends and are great at what they do.

17. As a successful producer with so many releases under your belt, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of producing their own music?

Just keep at it and learn it as you go, is not an over night thing, you really have to sit down and listen to what’s going on in the tracks. Half the demo’s I get all have great ideas etc, but lack the finishing touches on them. You really do need to polish them to make them right. And the chances are you will make quite a few tracks before you even get the standard of one that’s ready to play out straight away.

And remember to take the criticism on board and better yourself, as every thing you learn in this scene comes from mostly other people, there’s no hardcore manual.

Top ten all time tunes
(in any Order)

With this I can spend all day... I get a year in my head and then I can roll of so many …

1. Charly – Prodigy
2. Last Rhythm – Last Rhythm
3. So Real – Love Decade
4. Such A Good Feeling - Brothers In Rhythm
5. Jam & Spoon - Stella
6. Good Life – Inner City
7. Come Get My Lovin' – Dionne
8. Blame – Music Takes You (seal sample version)
9. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
10. Congress – 40 miles

I'd like to personally thank Breeze for taking his time out to carry out this interview.

Don't forget to check out Clubland X-Treme Hardcore 2 availble in your shops from 6th March 2006, more info on www.CLUBLAND.fm

March 2006
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Words By Nitesh / Xtra-C Flashbackin' & Rewindin'