For the past few weeks, I have been working on a very exciting project, with some very talented and interesting people. Breaking Free The Album is released this Friday, the 27th of April. A free to download album, the project contains three mixes from Luna C, Skampy and Ponder.
Along with the Facebook page, there are various promotional tools which are up now, including the Soundcloud page where you can find short previews of the individual mixes. Interviews with the artists who have performed the mix will be available here, at FutureIntalekt.
Breakbeat hardcore is currently undergoing, whilst maybe not a renaissance, then certainly a re-evaluation and a resurgence in popularity and creativity. One of the most creative and consistent producers in the current scene is Ponder, whose mix on BFTA is entitled ‘In The Night We Come Alive’. FI interviewed Ponder about his mix, the album, and about breakbeat hardcore in 2012. A great interview follows, so please check it out, and of course, download the album.
What is your history as an artist and producer? What do you think has led you to this point?
Well, I first discovered rave music as a 12 year old, when the likes of ‘On A Ragga Tip’ and ‘Everybody In The Place’ were storming the charts, so in that respect, my roots have always been with breakbeat led music. It wasn’t until ’96 that I began my foray in to the music world though, when I picked up my first set of decks.
Along with a group of friends, we ran a few small youth club nights which gave me my first experiences of playing live. It was in 2000 though that I really started gaining regular opportunities to build a platform for myself, with regular bookings at Raindance and the birth of Elation. By the end of the year I’d delved into the studio for the first time with good friends and long time collaborators, DOK and HB, creating debut tracks ‘Let Go’ and ‘PH2’, both of which had a distinct mid-90s hardcore vibe – loads of pianos and breakbeats!
From there, it all just grew, and lead to a number of major bookings, more studio time, and the birth of Elation Recordings.
Towards the end of the decade, I was making a living from my musical endeavours, but ultimately I think the pressures from having to make money to get by was having a negative effect on my writing, and I eventually took the decision to search for a career elsewhere, and go back to writing music as a hobby and for my own gratification. As such, I’m kind of bubbling under the surface these days, trying to do my own thing, but at least writing and producing music that I enjoy, and I’d like to think this renewed passion is reflected in the material I’m putting out.
Why do you make breakbeat hardcore? What does the music mean to you? What do you think makes it distinctive?
Above all else, it’s the groove. Being able to combine that flow and roll of drum n bass, with the more musical elements of hardcore, with a bit of trance influence thrown in. As such, I think what makes breakbeat hardcore distinctive is how it bridges a gap between these genres. It’s also quite open to interpretation, which makes it quite exciting and fresh, with many artists being influenced by modern dnb, some by the hardcore sounds of old, and many combining many elements together.
I just think it’s a really interesting time to be involved in a small, but growing sound, and this is reflected by the number of artists who are producing breakbeat hardcore now. It’s something I’ve pushed for a long, long time, from booking sets when promoting the Elation events, to slipping breakbeat lead tracks into DJ sets at primarily UK hardcore nights. However, right now, in 2012, it really feels as though it’s going somewhere, and that excites me!
Why did you select the tunes you are using on ITNWCA? What do these tracks mean to you?
My aim was to try and incorporate as many of the different nuances the music offers as possible. So there’s chilled, almost liquid-esque material on there, a couple of tracks with a real old skool vibe, some straight up dancefloor rollers, and some big, epic breakdowns!
As for what they mean to me, well, every track I’ve selected is brilliant, in my opinion, but in different ways. As for the material I’ve written specifically for the album, that’s really for other people to judge, but I think there’s some interesting stuff there, especially the collaborations and remixes with/for Stereo Juggernaut.
How would you describe your mix?
Quite varied. I’d say it flows; from a mellow start, to a hectic middle, and an uplifting conclusion. It was important to me to involve a number of different artists, some established, some relatively unknown, to create a tracklist that’s both exciting and intriguing.
Have you tried to capture any specific feelings on ITNWCA? Why?
That’s a difficult question, especially as the album has evolved quite a lot since its inception. I guess primarily balance, knowing what both Luna C and Skampy bring to the table, I just tried to do my own thing, search out some different artists and select the best available tracks.
‘In The Night We Come Alive’ is actually a lyric from one of the new tracks on the mix – Under The Skies – but I think, as a statement, it sums up the rave ethos quite nicely.
Can you describe some of the themes of both your mix, and breakbeat hardcore as a whole?
I think it’s hard to nail down a consistent theme within breakbeat hardcore, as so many artists are doing their own thing, their own way, which is part of what makes it exciting and fresh. I hope my mix reflects that.
Lastly can you sum up how you feel about the album as a whole and how it might fit into music in 2012?
I’m very excited by the album, not just as it’s something I’ve had a big personal involvement in from the beginning, but because it’s an opportunity to put this little sub-genre of music, that so many have been slogging away at for so long, on a platform. It’s been approached from different angles by all 3 of us guys mixing it, meaning there’s plenty of variety and different labels and artists represented. I have no doubt that both Luna C and Skampy have done stellar jobs, as they’re both fantastic DJs and producers in their own right, so I’m as eagerly awaiting hearing their mixes as much as anyone!
It’s just been a great project to be involved with, and I can’t wait for it to finally be released. At the end of the day, it’s 100% free, so there’s no excuse for anyone, even if they only have a fledging interest, to give it a go and check it out! You never know, you might stumble across something you enjoy 🙂