In addition to the DJs who have mixed Breaking Free The Album, we also have an exclusive interview with the man behind the project. JVM is a graphic designer from Alkmaar in the Netherlands, and has quite a reputation for outstanding hardcore compilations. BFTA is the latest in a long line of successful album projects, more of which we find out about in the following interview.
What was the initial idea behind Breaking Free?
Basically what I also tried to do with the Crush On Hardcore album series – to showcase what the scene has to offer and to give ‘unknown’ producers a platform to showcase their music to a wider range of people. I started to get into Breakbeat Hardcore more and more a couple of years ago. I guess that’s why I asked Cube::Hard to do a mix on the last instalment of Crush On Hardcore. When I started with Crush On Hardcore in 2006 I was really into the UK Hardcore sound. I bought albums like Clubland X-Treme Hardcore and Bonkers but while working on album projects myself, I came to the conclusion that there was so much more talent out there that didn’t get recognized. More and more my interest was going towards tracks with breakbeat elements. My favourite track of the last few years is still ‘In The Moment’ by Cube::Hard, which reflects my love for breakbeats and UK Hardcore. That track has it all for me. ‘Roof On Fire’ by CLSM is also a track that I still really like, it’s one of those tracks that really got me into the breakbeat sound. While the now defunct Crush On Hardcore project ended with one breakbeat mix I started to feel like I had to try and pull off a complete album showcasing the sound I like the most…
How was the idea been realised?
It all started early 2011. I asked two of my favourite producers, Ponder and Wizbit to join the project. Unfortunately Wizbit had to pull out during the project but was replaced by Skampy. While I was running Crush On Hardcore I always wanted to have a mix by Luna-C. His ability to showcase such a varied style of music in a single mix is unique. I’m very proud that he contributed a mix to the project. From when we finished the line-up of Breaking Free, it took a lot of time to get something like this done, but in the end it’s worth it.
Why did you want to undertake a uniquely breakbeat hardcore project?
Very simple; because there isn’t an album focussing on this sound yet and I felt it needed to be there due to the rising amount of people producing breakbeat hardcore (and also liquid drum & bass). It’s also about creating your own scene I guess. Besides that, it’s good to take challenges sometimes…
Was there an aesthetic, or perhaps a mood which you have tried to capture?
Think different. As with the Crush On Hardcore albums, I’m not the one who’s telling the DJs what to do so I’m not the person who decides how the album is going the sound in the end. I give them total freedom in what they like to showcase. Of course, the album was focussing on the breakbeat hardcore scene so I asked Ponder, Luna-C and Skampy not to use UK Hardcore, freeform or even gabber influences on their mixes. Yes, there is an odd 4/4 track on Luna-C’s mix but I don’t really mind. It somehow fits perfectly on there. I think the 3 mixes are quite different from each other. While Ponder and Skampy showcase the liquid / breakbeat hardcore / drum & bass material, Luna-C is doing a more rave inspired old skool mix where sometimes jungle elements are combined with breakcore styles. There are plenty of good albums released in the ‘Hardcore’ scene lately by labels such as ReBuild Music and Hardcore Underground. They dare to think outside the box which is a good thing. Not to forget and definitely deserving a mention next to ReBuild and HU is CLSM.
The artists you have commissioned for the album are all diverse, but unified by a spirit, which is turn is reflected on the album. How did you go about selecting the artists involved?
Luna-C (like I answered in a previous question), because I was sure he could bring something different to the table. I guess both Ponder and Skampy are two of the most forward thinking producers when it comes to breakbeat hardcore at the moment. I can think of other people promoting the sound like CLSM, StrifeII, Click and Bustin to name a few, but to me Ponder and Skampy were the perfect people to showcase what the breakbeat scene has to offer at this moment…
The artwork adds to, and enhances the album’s image and essence. Talk to us a little about that.
Artwork is one of the most important things for a music release in my opinion. How are you going to present your music? What is the packaging going to look like? I don’t think artwork always has to reflect the music though. I tried to capture a feeling of ‘breaking free’ on the artwork. The whole idea of naming the mixes came during the project and I thought it was nice to make artwork for each of the mixes as well. The vertical stripes on the artwork are visualizing a ‘1’. The two horizontal lines on the cover art represent the two albums the Breaking Free project is all about. Breaking Free is actually divided into two parts with the second part to be released late July / early August, at least that’s what we aim for. After BF2 we will release an extremely limited physical release. It’s going to be rather special, you’ll get all the Breaking Free mixes on a black CD-R (data CD, not audio), housed in a black jewel case with a folded poster of the album artwork and a unique artefact. It’s all packaged in a thick handmade leather sleeve. The whole idea behind the black stuff is because I want to let people break free their own CD from the dark black packaging…
What does the album mean to you?
A lot. I’ve worked with pleasure on the project for over 12 months. I really like the outcome and have listened to the mixes quite a few times already and I still think the overall quality is brilliant for a free album. It’s good to see a group of motivated people, who never met in real life, can work together and pull off something like this. It proves the future is bright for this kind of project. If Breaking Free closes its doors sooner or later there is space for other projects to take our place and continue what we did.
What do you hope the album will mean to people who download it, and also a wider scene?
I hope everyone can hear, see and feel how much time, love and effort we’ve put into this and I certainly hope everyone is excited about more projects. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who supported what I have been doing during the last 5 years. I’m going to set up a label (like RFUGrey was a couple of years ago) later this year so keep an eye out for more music in the future.