EVM128 steps in for our next instalment of the Tuckshop Mix Series and a little chat with resident Don Ray.

The resurgence of Broken Beat culture has been confidently transforming and mutating in the background, with established and emerging artists alike pushing a fresh look on a genre who’s backbone is deeply rooted in UK history. It has often encapsulated a powerful connection to some of the most profound musical movements and is always seen as an exciting prospect for many to expose new avenues in their approach. Jazz fusion, Funk, Jungle and UKG have all been seen as common points of influence, particularly within the scattered and swinging percussive elements found in much of the drum work. In a world where genres merge, sub-cultures cross paths and the general public lose interest quickly, what’s next for the Brit-born movement?

Without going too much into its rich history and complex social imprint, we wanted to shine a light on an artist who has whole-heartedly been part of the movement since it’s sweat-laden, dance floor centered adolescence; an individual who has been one of the BRUK torchbearer for some time and rightly so. We spoke with Dance Regular label boss and CoOp mainstay EVM128 on where he’s at, his thoughts on the scene and where he feels the sound is headed. He also provided us with an hr mix brimming with forthcoming material and plenty dubs to sink your teeth in to.

This mix is really a collection of tunes i’m feeling at the moment, stuff on the Dance Regular label and tunes that show the eclectic sounds within dance music that we’re into.”

 

Broken Beat seems like quite an isolated scene in some respects. What was your path and how did you get involved in pushing the sound?
 
I wouldn’t say isolated as it’s had a hugely re emerging lately and I like to think that we (who are many) have played a part in that re igniting. It’s just that people are still discovering it, it’s great when the younger generation are losing their minds to the sound cos they only just found it ! There’s still a huge dance scene around Bruk and has been for years it’s just underground I guess but things are changing. I linked up with ShyOne originally for a track on my Nova album then met Henry Wu, K15, IG Culture and Alex Phountzi before being introduced to Seiji, Afronaut, Mark Force and Simbad and others and after a few CoOp presents parties and a seminal Boiler room session IG came up with Selectors Assemble and we started pulling in anyone we knew making good music, not even necessarily Bruk. But make no mistake, Bruk is back and in a big way ! It’s something you need to come to the dance and experience. Like nothing else! 
 
Can you tell us a bit more about some of the guys you’ve been keeping tabs on, as well as the talent you’ve brought on at Dance Regular? 
 
There’s so many, and its all people around our same circles and people that release on CoOp presents as well, Dance Regular was another means to get more music out there cos we have so much! Names to watch are James Rudie who I run Dance Regular with, Danvers, Cengiz, Entek, Oliver Night, Xtra Brux, Szajna, Wonky Logic, Gonzi, Trev ( who we have a killer EP coming from ) More releases specifically on Dance Regular are Footshooter and Duke Hugh both delivered really amazing music ! Risa T, Haze City, Karmasound, Jock Club, Wheel Up and Ishfaq.  

For those who don’t know how would you sum up Dance Regular?

This is a Vinyl and digital record label putting out quality Bruk, House, Jazz, Soul, Raggage, Bass and whatever else feeds the soul! Myself and James Rudie set it up purely so we can have another outlet to put music out on as we had too much of it around us from too many talented producers. As a label you can only put out so much in one year (If its done right and not just thrown out there willy nilly! ) So we wanted to make sure we could accommodate all the amazing music we were being sent. We’ve been going for a year and a half, we have some real dope shit coming out on the label with a schedule that’s already up until the end of 2021! We feel lucky to have the people around us that we do. With Selectors Assemble, CoOp presents and Dance Regular we are striving to put this shit on the map and push the movement further to a worldwide audience that may not have discovered the sound yet. We work with the dance community worldwide which is HUGE as we feel that music and dance is an integral part of this movement. Dance is so important! Its why we make music ! It’s also good for the mind, body and soul. Big Up Summer Dance Forever, Jazz Between, House The Vibe, 4 To The Floor, Empire House Family, Bruk Up and everyone else thats pushing this forward! Rhythm Section, Touching Bass and Eglo Records also need a shout out!  

Apart from the obvious (Dego, Kaidi, Domu etc) who are some of the OG heads that people keen on learning more about the infrastructure should look at?
 
IG Culture, Alex Phountzi, Seiji, Mark Force, Afronaut, Bugz, Simbad, Marc Mac, Lady Bugz, Alex Attias.. Theres NuFF!! Check ‘The beats are Broken’ on resident advisor for a good starting point 😉 I always say that Broken Beat is the last big UK sound since Garage and Dubstep that somehow got overlooked (probably because it was so ahead of its time)

We saw you’ve started ‘Pass The Bruk’, a remote production collaboration. For this that don’t know what that is, Can you explain what it’s about?

Yeah basically myself and James Rudie came up with this idea a while back to collaborate remotely which actually ended up being the INPUT album I put out a year ago on Studio Rockers .. That was the first time we remotely started to work with other people and pass beats and ideas around. Then when this Lockdown happened we figured lets do this again but kind of in real time between the Selectors Assemble and Dance Regular and show people the process and stages. We thought that would be good way to bring people together during this awful time we are in and to also keep the crews spirits up. We’re on PTB 2 now and the first one is available on passthebruk.bandcamp.com and they are sounding pretty damn good! I mean, you get around 5 or 6 producers in one track man! Its not often people have the time for things like this .. Input took nearly 2 years to do! This is much quicker due to the situation.

What have you been spinning in your spare time besides broken beat – Any current favourites on repeat?

I love lots of different stuff, although Bruk is definitely close to my heart, inspiration comes from many sounds. I’m really feeling SWSH ‘How you feel’ on Jamz Super Nova’s Future Bounce label. ITS A TUUUNE!!! She’s dope! I’m loving Zito Mowa’s album ‘The Colour of Water’ on Stay True records, wicked swung jazzy house shit! Also Sivey ‘World Series’ on Wicked Wax is getting rinsed at home too. Fleet Dreams Ft Aj Magic, also Dips & Lo Wu stuff, also theres this track I die for , its a wicked HipHop slow jam with a bad ass bassline.. Its called 1-O.A.K ‘Every Day’ (ITS ACE U NEED IT!!!)

 

You work with IG Culture on the Co op presents label and have become an integral part of the Selectors Assemble team, how did you guys originally connect?

To cut a long story short, he called me up after an article in the Guardian about Myself, Henry Wu, K15 and Shy One being at the forefront of the ‘Brokenbeat revival! This wasn’t a strategy .. its just that we were all making Bruk / Jazz stuff the time and I guess IG wanted to know whats up! I mean, he is the original Bruk General so no Bruk comeback can happen without them lot! So we linked and he had this Selectors Assemble concept with Alex Phountzi (the other half of NameBrandSound ) which I started to help out with, which release music on the CoOp presents label, we did a Wicked CoOp Boiler Room session to solidify that Bruk is back and is strong ! As well as a sick show with Henry Wu and IG Culture at Jazz Cafe. The releases were coming out thick and fast. Now we’re unstoppable haha! We got beats for days man! As a family we push each other and that’s what keeps us fresh and energised! There’s plenty stuff coming, I also have an EVM128 EP coming out on CoOp Presents later this year called Dance Don’t Sleep. You can catch the CoOp Presents Selectors Assemble show on Worldwide FM every third Thursday of the month 1pm – 3pm GMT, we been doing that for a couple years now (Maybe more?) so u can dig into the archive shows, we always play new bits so its a good place to hear the exclusives.

We really rated the more jazzy/ house approach Duke Hugh brought to his recent release on DR – do you have plans to explore any other sounds on the DR label?

Yeah Duke Hugh’s Common Ground EP is out this summer after the Footshooter release. We just wanna put out good music! Body music is what we call it cos if it moves us we’ll sign it! We’re proud to be eclectic. We ain’t about hype, were about longevity and good quality music.

Keep up with all things ‘Bruk’ via the ‘Dance Regular’ Bandcamp here.