Touching Bass: Brackles
Whilst the UK bass scene flourishes in a beehive of genre cross-pollination, DJs such as Rinse FM’s, Brackles, have taken the music itself by the scruff of the neck and weaved their own imprint. Taking influences from UK Funky, garage and dubstep he’s earned himself a title as one of the best DJs across them since initially making heads nod with ‘Glazed’ back in 2008.
Brackles also pilots a new mix series for Touching Bass – which will become part of every feature from here on in – showcasing some track from his extensive record vault.
What was your first memory of UK Garage?
It would have been at an underage disco when I was probably around 14 with Craig David’s Rewind or A Little Bit of Luck. The really obvious ones. At the time, and when you first hear it, it’s obviously very different to anything you’ve heard before. I remember thinking it was quite alien, but everyone was into it and there were plenty of girls there (laughs).
As soon as everyone heard garage in school, there were tapes flying around with people always chatting about what radio stations they listened to. Even though we were out in the middle of Hertfordshire (laughs). There was this station called Y2K and that was the one that we got the most out there.
On the topic of UK Funky, many have spoken of its death. But what do you think?
I don’t think it’s near what it was in 2008, when there was a rave or something to bring it all together. There’s still loads of producers from that world who are still here and making good tunes. There’s Funkystepz, Naughty and others like Ill Blu, so the producers are still there but I’d say there’s no actual scene for it any more. You’d have thought it would have gone a bit further because it had all the elements, like the poppy vocals. I remember at carnival in 2008, you could hear Donaeo tunes everywhere so there must have been people into it.
At which point did you realise that music making was for you?
The first thing I ever finished and was happy to put out was probably back in 2006-2007 with Glazed. I had other stuff but I was never really happy with anything before that.
Would you class yourself as a perfectionist?
No, my mix downs are really bad (laughs). I’m not a perfectionist, but there was just nothing at that time that I thought was really good over four to five minutes until Glazed. It was the first track where I thought that the arrangement was perfect.
What were initial reactions like to ‘Glazed’?
Yeah, people seemed to really like it and I remember Appleblim playing it and it also being played down at DMZ. It was pretty special to have not heard any of your own tunes out to then hearing it in your favourite clubs.
Shortstuff was involved with that track, if my memory serves me correctly. How did you meet up in the first place?
We went to university together and we shared the same halls. I met him on the very first day. He had quite a large bong and I had the Dizzee Rascal album, then we were just mates from there on in.
Now the Rinse compilation is done, do you feel more comfortable at that sort of release length?
I’m happy with the album, but to be honest I didn’t see it as an album and more of a collection of singles. I didn’t really intend it to sound like an album and I’m sure Rinse didn’t either. It was more of a showcase of the artists so, I’m not sure if I’m ready just yet to make some type of concept album. It’s something I’d like to do in the future but it’s way off. Ideally, I’d just work with one vocalist and work with them on the project because at the moment it involved quite a lot of features, so it’s not necessarily as coherent.
If there were to be a concept album, any ideas for a wacky main protagonist or storyline to tie it together?
I like the thing that The Streets did on their second album with a storyline, so maybe some kind of character-based thing like that. That could be fun.
Blunted Robots on Soundcloud says E5. Is there a certain affinity with Hackney?
We used to live in Hackney for a couple years and Rich (Shortstuff) still lives out in Clapton.
In terms of the Blunted Robots label, is there anything coming out from there?
We’ve put it on the back burner for the minute because we’re moving in different directions at the moment. I’m into more of the vocal-led stuff whereas Rich is into more of his Swamp81, instrumental type stuff. We haven’t really heard much that we’re feeling lately so we didn’t just want to thump out music for the sake of it. We might bring it back if we hear anything and if so, we’ll have a home to release it on.
What’s up next?
I’m working towards my next single for Rinse, which will probably be dropping by the end of the year. I’m also working towards the next Rinse mix (due after T Williams) that should be coming in early 2013.
Brackles is the man behind the latest ‘Rinse Presents’ compilation, which is available now. He also plays tonight at Lightbox alongside the likes of Lil Silva, Slimzee and DJ EZ for The Upfront Project
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