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ill.Gates interview and premiere

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Here at Free Breaks Blog we would like to ILL.GATES for a very insightful interview and for sharing the premiere stream of Mr Bills’ 2 step garage/breaks refix of his new single ‘More tea’, listen below and read on!!!!

How long have you been making beats and how did you get into it?
I’ve been making electronic music ever since my parents bought me a Casio Concertmate 800 when I was 7. I was supposed to use it for the built in piano lessons, but I quickly figured out that it had a sampler in it and spent far more time sampling pots and pans than playing the piano. Once I figured out that I could sample my own farts and play them back at my friends with the push of a button I was hooked. I have been happily sampling farts ever since and have since sold actual farts to Microsoft as part of a “Comedy Ringtone” package I did for the Windows Phone OS. That gig was a big part of what got me my work visa to move to the USA actually. Dream big people! Fart samples 4 life!

What’s behind the name ill.Gates?
I love Hip Hop and I am a big nerd. I was originally calling this alias “Tao Jones” but the pun was lost on most people because nobody reads books. I then made a list of several hundred names and ill.GATES was the one that stuck.
Fun fact: the period in the middle of my name stands for ‘Motherfucking’, as in “ILL Motherfucking Gates”.

Where do you draw inspiration from when producing new tunes?
I think inspiration is for amateurs. I just try to show up every day and do my best. Much of the time I will start a session feeling like I’m a terrible musician and everything I make is garbage, but after a few hours the momentum starts to build and then something magical will happen. If you wait to feel inspired before you start working you’ll just procrastinate forever.

And when you’re not making beats what do you like to do?

Sex and drugs are always a good time, but I also like to cook, read, meditate and drink tea. I also spend a LOT of time at airports, so I listen to audiobooks and podcasts constantly. I am really into the Tim Ferriss Podcast and Noisia Radio, and then for fiction I listen to The Drabblecast, Selected Shorts and tons of sci-fi at Escape Pod, Light Speed and Clarkesworld. I also love bowling and eating Japanese Food. Travel is way up there too. I recently sub-letted my place and lived in 8 different countries for 4 months. It was life changing.

The main thing I’ve come to realize is artists are input/output systems. If you spend your time watching TV or reading whatever comes up on your facebook feed you are much less likely to have interesting and original ideas in the studio. If you focus on your immediate “competitors” and try to emulate or outdo them you are just going to blend in with everyone else. Forget about the guy next to you, go listen to some Chopin or Jimi Hendrix or the Buena Vista Social Club instead.

Immersing yourself in truly great art, ideas and experiences is what fuels growth.

Tell us about this new release

This release ‘More Tea’ is a departure that feels like home. It’s new and different compared to much of my recent output, but really it is a lot closer to what originally inspired me to create the ill.GATES alias. I think this is reflected in the choice of remixers as well.

It all started when my friend Nathan mailed me some tea from Taiwan. I didn’t know him then, but he was a fan, and he ran this operation where he would travel around the world meeting tea farmers and mailing tea back to his online supporters. I wrote him back and he invited me to do a tour of Taiwan. I couldn’t turn that down so the next thing you know my girl and I are riding unlicensed scooters and eating squid on a stick.

Years later Nathan got access to all of these really cool DAT tapes made by a Taiwanese producer named Alex Peng. He had gone around China recording villagers singing and playing various Chinese instruments and allowed Nathan to use them for his “Urban Teahouse Remix Project” because he felt it was promoting Chinese culture and tea drinking and that the original musicians from 25 years ago would be in support of that.

So Nathan flew my girl and I to Austin last year, fed us tea until we were bouncing off of the walls, and I wrote More Tea in one long session. It came out really easily. Some songs are agony to finish… a game of inches. More Tea is definitely not one of those tunes. It just sort of effortlessly happened. I love it when sessions are like that. You can hear it in the track too, nothing sounds forced or stressed out or like it’s ‘trying’ to be anything. It felt like the song always existed and I was just putting it down.

Once the track was finished I reached out to some of my favourite producers and they turned in a really fantastic batch of remixes. Liquid Stranger made a big festival dub remix that goes over great on dancefloors. Mr Bill made a really cool Two Step Garagey Breaks kind of thing with really amazing percussion, and then David Starfire did a West Coast remix that is perfect for Burning Man or a cool loft party or whatever.

These remixes are amazing for sure, but we really felt that the EP would not be complete without some asian remixers on the job. Nathan hooked us up with a really amazing producer from Taiwan called Sonia Calico. She makes really dope Trip Hoppy Trap kind of beats and made 3 or 4 different remixes before she handed in the final. She is fantastically talented and really has her own sound. Very cool.

You may also remember a video that went viral where the producer is performing on a spherical MIDI controller? 
Anyway, the fellow in that video is Jason Hou, who also happened to be a fan of my workshop series ‘The ill.Methodology’. He had reached out to me to thank me for the workshops and when I checked out his soundcloud I was really impressed. He definitely has his own creative aesthetic and it is really impressive. He blends traditional Chinese music with Industrial, Classical and Dubstep influences to create a truly unique sound. His remix is all in 6/4 time signature but still works on a dancefloor. Very advanced.

This whole process has really opened me up to a lot more electronic music coming out of Asia. Apparently all the Chinese kids are smoking weed and fucking with Ableton now so we can expect a whole lot more Asian electronic music in the immediate future. I’m really excited about it. Electronic music has been such a little rich white boy club for way too long.

It’s tough out there in the music industry, any words of advice for new artists?

Take The Plunge

Nobody likes a tourist. If you are just getting your toes wet to see if ‘this whole music thing is going to pan out’ it’s a huge turn off for anyone in the business. The music industry was built on passion and boldness. Having a day job lets everyone in the music industry know that music is not your #1 priority in life. Yuck. Whether you make a living from music or not you need to make sure that music is the first thing people think about when your name comes up.

Let’s say you are a magic music industry fairy and you have an amazing opportunity to give to someone who ‘deserves it’. Who deserves it more, the hobbyist who works at the bank or the girl who sleeps under her studio desk five nights a week? There are so many people in the way that it is really difficult to get ahead in this business. You have to really, really, REALLY want it to be successful. You have to want it more than financial security, more than a nice car, more than kids, more than sleep, more than your friends, more than sex and ESPECIALLY more than partying. If I am going to hand someone an opportunity I need to make sure it counts and nothing says ‘I waste opportunities’ like squandering your precious moments on earth working some shitty job you hate.

Grow a pair and take the plunge, you won’t regret it.

Pay It Forward

OK: so you’re committed, you’re in it to win it, you’ve made some great music but you’re all alone in the business and nobody gives a shit about your music. If only you could get on the radar of someone who can help you make connections… How? Giving everyone in the music industry copies of your album? Hell no! Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! Paying your way in via music lessons or consulting? Fuck no! That’s A) insulting, B) lame and C) we don’t need your money. So what DO you have that someone established in the music industry might want… hmmm….. ?

Time.

If you are a successful person chances are you are busier than a rabbit in mating season and would LOVE to offload some of the boring stupid shit that is in your way. This is why whenever you watch music business documentaries you will often hear of famous producers and bands getting their start running errands at the recording studios that they eventually ended up buying. You don’t have to just fetch coffee or whatever though, you can help people in other ways. For me it was teaching people about Ableton and making music tools. I built a sound library for Bassnectar, I shared my templates with Pretty Lights, Beats Antique, Dj Vadim and all kinds of other people. Now whenever I need a favour I can just email those dudes and t hey will hook me up hours later.

Now while we are on the subject of calling in favours: studies have shown that asking people for a small favour will actually INCREASE your worth in their esteem. Paying it forward is a great policy, but you also need to make sure you’re not being a doormat or a sycophant. Find your balance and watch the doors swing open!

Don’t Be A Dick

I really do wish that I didn’t have to belabour this point but it’s a sad fact that I have seen musician after musician destroy their careers by being dicks. Yes: you’re special. Yes: you’re talented. Yes: your art has the power to transform lives, BUT; the magic vanishes as soon as you get all cunty about it, it really does. How many times have you heard ‘I used to like ARTIST X but then I met them at a show and they were all cunty to me and now I can’t enjoy their music anymore’? It happens ALL THE TIME.

Here’s the thing: when a fan (or another musician) comes up to give you praise, chances are that they have made a ‘big friction’ deal’ of it in their mind and have a raging case of the butterflies. Studies have shown that emotions are all basically forms of excitation. The only difference between is in the interpretation of that excitation. This means that you need to be very aware that you are playing with fire when you touch people inside. The line between super fan and deranged hater is both fine and blurry, be aware of that and know when the best ‘presence’ is a palpable absence. If you aren’t going to give fan interaction your all, then just let the music do the talking and try to maintain a sense of mystery. It’s also a good idea to remember than you meet the same people on the way down that you do on the way up.

Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to the top. Stay strong, stay passionate and above all: don’t be boring.

Much love!

ill.GATES

Pre Order ‘More Tea’ from iTunes now

Beat Assassins Interview Plus ‘Space Yardie’ Video Premiere

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You started out DJ’ing at a DnB/Breakbeat night called ‘Mofo’, how did you go about setting up the event and how did you get into mixing?

I started Mofo in the mid nighties at The Borderline Club just off Charing Cross Road (London). The night was weekly and this was in the very early years of breaks. We gave The Plump DJs one of their very first booking. We had the Freestylers down and the Fingerlickin Crew. But we also used to play a lot of drum n bass.

At the time I was promoting at the Wag club on a Friday doing commercial events for money and I heard the Borderline was free on a Tuesday night. So I put a proposal in and they accepted it. To put on a weekly event like that in these times would be very difficult but back then students were always out partying because they weren’t in fear of having a massive debt at the end of their degree.

This was a time when DJs delivered their sets on two Technic turntables and a bag load of vinyl. Beat matching was a real skill back then and took time to learn. I knew a bit about mixing but I generally always gave myself the warm up slot and have a guest in. I would always stand behind them in the DJ box pretending to fiddle with the lights but really I was picking up DJ on tips. The result from this was I learned to mix really well on turntables and I’ve carried that through to today. I know DJs don’t consider mixing such a skill anymore but I do hear a difference in the way vinyl learn’t DJs perform. The Old skool guys still have an edge and I can always hear that in their mixing.  

Tell us a bit about Mofo Recordings, what was the ethos of the label?

In 2004 alongside my DJing career, I also worked as a music journalist. I established a free music magazine called Mofo (taken from the night I was running) that specialized in breakbeat electronic music. i.e  drum n Bass, electro, breaks, hip-hop and of course breakbeat. I started getting a lot of unsigned music sent to the magazine so I took the natural step of setting up a record label called Mofo Recordings which has released over 30 tracks to date.

The ethos when it started was to support good breaks that needed a platform. I released everything on vinyl and I loved the whole process of signing a track, getting it mastered, getting the test pressings back from the distributer. Designing the artwork, getting sleeves pressed, it was a real buzz. You were creating a product to sell in the shops. Now of course we are digital and internet based which does take some of the excitement out of running a label but I still really enjoy it. Today I just release my own tracks through Mofo Recordings I don’t think I’d have the time to make music and run a roster of artists.  

You have had a bit of a hiatus from making music, what made you step back and what got you back into making beats in 2016?

In 2006 I launched Beat Assassins with Joe Lenzie from Sigma. Beat Assassins became a fundamental part of the breakbeat scene winning various music awards and DJing at major music events around the world that included Australia, USA, Russia and European countries such as Spain and Germany. We released our tracks through my label Mofo Recordings, most of which went straight into the top 10 in the breakbeat charts in DJ Magazine & download sites such as  Beatport.

However By 2010 the Electronic music scene had changed so much with the introduction of dubstep alongside other exciting new genres such as fidget & bassline house, that Beat Assassins found ourselves no longer musically relevant. Our DJs booking started to dry up and we realised our style of breaks was no longer popular. So we decided to call it a day and go our own separate ways.

I didn’t actually take a step back from making music. In 2012 I started a Trap project with DJ Sai called Koshii. Our remix of Missy Elliot’s Get Ya Freek On went viral over the internet and our remix of Big Beat Bronson’s New Me reached number 3 in the Beatport charts. We also hosted a trap night called “Its A Trap” in Camden London coining the phrase “Camden Trap” whilst also DJing at a few larger events hosted by Basslaced.  Around this time I made a grime track called Back For Another One ft Hype Man Sage that made it onto “Youngers,” the famous Channel 4 comedy drama.

But Trap never took off that well in the UK and I soon got bored of writing trap tunes so I decided to get back to my roots and produce some drum n bass. I spent 2 yrs shut away in the studio making dnb whilst thinking of how to go about releasing my tracks. All my friends kept saying, “just do it under the name Beat Assassins.” It just made sense to do that plus I couldn’t think up a better name. So I rebranded and relaunched and here I am again.

Now you’re back and have recently released ‘The Raid’, tell us a bit about the inspiration behind that tune?

The Raid features a real live recording of the police busting an illegal rave. My friends were DJing whilst recording the party. They were recordings their set using external microphones to capture the sound of the crowd. Next thing they knew they were getting busted and got the whole thing on tape. I used to play the sound bite quite often on radio shows for a laugh but never actually thought of putting the sample in a track because the old Beat Assassins style was more block-party, booty-breaks. Now I’m doing drum n bass the sample felt right in a dnb roller. I love DJ Calide’s remix he did of The Raid, proper jump up filth.

Which brings us to your new track ‘Space Yardie’ with Sifu Chan, it’s quite unique and a great tune, can you talk us through how it came about?

Yes I guess it is quite unique and very quirky. I thought it was actually going to be too quirky for the drum n bass scene. That’s why I got the 1000DaysWasted Remix done especially for the Headz. However when I got the reactions back I was pleasantly surprised. The dnb scene got it and it put a smile people’s faces. A track called Space Yardie is hardly taking itself too seriously.

It all came together one night in the Beat Assassins studio. Sifu Chan was actually there to rap on a grime track I’d done. At the end of the session I was out getting the drinks in when Sifu happened to click on an old beat that was lying around on my hard drive. On returning I found Sifu at the mic chatting about, “a Space Yardie, a party and the North West streets.” I fell about laughing it was hilarious and it ended up as a track.

What’s in the pipeline for 2016?

Absolutely loads. I plan to put out a release every month this year. Next up is a track called Drop It Hard. It’s a straight up drum n bass banger that I’ve had great reactions to in the clubs. Then I’m releasing another track ft SiFu Chan called Ramm Out. Inch aka Nicky D’Silva is on the remix. I’ve already heard a clip and it sounded immense. I can’t wait to hear the finished remix. It’s gonna be sick!!
Later in the summer I’m releasing a track called Deny ft a gospel singer called Eli Li. She has an insanely good voice which is mega loud. It took me 4 goes to record her. She smashes everything in the red when she belts it out. Eli Li is a wonderful person and a very good friend of mine and she has had to deal with some serious shit recently so I really hope this track does well for us. She deserves some good things to come her way this year.

Any Final words?
Thanks for the support and showing interest in what I do and remember, never be that person who eats plain poppadoms. They should always be eaten with chutney or other condiments.  

Interview With JC Unique of Unique2Rhythm

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You won’t find a house imprint the calibre of Unique2Rhythm either side of the Atlantic, the label is undoubtedly one of the best with a back cat that speaks for itself with an ethos that champions pristine production and melodic goodness first and foremost. We are very pleased to share this exclusive interview with label boss and producer JC Unique, read on for some pearls of wisdom for aspiring label owners and artists…

For those who don’t know, tell us a bit about Unique 2 Rhythm Records and how it began. How did you get into music production? What were the initial steps?

As a teenager in the late 80’s I was drawn into sound technology starting out with a mates Sequential Circuits Pro One synthesizer, a Tascam cassette portastudio and a Boss hand clapper stomp box. Probably the first tracks that blew me away and made me want to produce were driven by drum machines such as Cameo, the SOS Band, Prince, Chaka Khan in fact just about anything that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were involved with. I must have spent years trying to get record deals meeting up with A&R people and taking their ‘position of power’ attitude on the chin. None of it was particularly constructive and we all went through it, but in one such meeting, an A&R guy trying to sound clever actually provided a moment of clarity. He said “if you think your music is so effin’ good, why don’t you go and see your bank manager and put it out yourself?” – at the time I replied “You ARE the bank manager you smart-arse !” but it did make me explore the possibilities and by the late 90’s I was releasing white-labels on P&D deals and making the regular trips to Brick Lane. (more…)

Octo PI’s Top 10 Viper Recordings Tracks

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Please tell us a bit about yourself. What have you been up to lately?
I’m Jon aka Octo Pi, a DJ/Producer, I’ve been making Drum & Bass for about 12 years now and slowly and steadily getting my name out there.

How did the release on Viper Recordings come along?
I had a previous release last year on the 2015 Summer Slammers Compilation with my track ‘Matter’, I sent it to Brendan aka Futurebound and he thought it was great, since then I’ve kept sending him my tracks. ‘Pay off’ was originally an instrumental, and Brendan responded saying he loved it but maybe it would work with a vocal. That’s when I thought of Sam aka Modify Perspective, he’s a great friend and also a great producer with an amazing voice, we had always talked about him singing on one of my tracks, so I sent him the tune and in my opinion he absolutely nailed it!

What are your plans for 2016?
I have a lot of sets coming up over the next few months, including a few back 2 back with Sam. I’m currently writing an album, so lots of music to get out of my system, and a few more releases lined up too.

OUR TOP 10 VIPER TRACKS:

The Sound Of Drum & Bass 2016 Viper Recordings is out now buy here

 

Free tickets for Viper Night on 9th March

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Viper Recordings is hosting a LIVE STREAM event at DJ Mag’s venue in Angel called www.work.dj; and they are giving away 100 free tickets via this link: www.viperrecordings.co.uk/livestream Be quick!!!

Streaming Live on the Night:
- Matrix & Futurebound
- Brookes Brothers
- Cyantific
- InsideInfo
- Koven (DJ Set)
- Mob Tactics
- BMotion
- Insomniax
- Six Blade
Hosted By: Rhymestar & Miss Trouble
Album megamix by Loko

Catching Up With Indigo Virus

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Tell us a bit about yourself

EZ all ! I’m Brett aka Indigo Virus , I’m From a small town in Berkshire where there’s not a lot to do really. I prefer to keep to myself in that regards
Wasn’t a lot to do growing up except hang around smoking and chugging down white lightning in parks. That wasn’t my idea of fun so I spent most of my time with close friends playing games and listening to music, because of that I developed a real love for all kinds of music. They way it can take you away from your surroundings and get to you to feel so many emotions, It’s a fantastic form of expression.

I have a real passion for making all kinds of music so I’m honoured to be able to share my work with people!
I love spending time messing around with my synths and drum machines, probably too much time and not enough music making really ! Heh!!

During my late teen years I had amassed a huge collection of synths and back then I hardly ever went out. It was going in that room as soon as I woke up then I’d stay there all day and night.
My hobbies seem to be far too expensive as It’s either studio gear or the dream of buying an R34 GTR!
I’m a massive lover of studio hardware especially synthesizers (hence where my name came from!) and I’m constantly having to hold myself back from spending money I don’t have on more!
Moving forward I’m looking forward to being able to share more of my music with everyone!

I also really………..really hate following trends  (more…)

Noisily Festival 2016 (Koan Sound, Reso, Culprate)

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Noisily Festival returns in 2016 for its 5th birthday. Whilst the event is synonymous with the highest grade Techno & House and its Liquid stage has been dubbed the UK’s Psychedelic Mecca, it’s the Treehouse Stage we think you might be interested in…

The bottom line in Bass Music: Glitch Hop, DnB, Neuro and Breakbeat, in 2016 the Treehouse Stage will play host to DJ’s & live acts such as Koan Sound, Reso, Far Too Loud, Pitch Black (live) & Culprate to name just a few.

Stream this taster mix here:

Event Date: 7th-10th July 2016
Event Address: Coney Woods, Noseley Hall, Noseley, Leicestershire, LE7 9EH

Buy Tickets Here

Vinyl Junkie (25 Years In The Game) / Fairways & Circus Warp Reunion Party / Ghetto Blast (Launch Night)

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On Saturday 20th February at the Blue Mountain club, Bristol, Vinyl Junkie will be celebrating 25 years in the game from the outdoor raves of 1991 to the present day. Along with a star studded line up of legendary rave DJs and some rising stars. Expect a great night of Oldskool, Bass, Breaks and DnB/Jungle, not to be missed!!!

Get Tickets

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