Metronome #166: DC Breaks
Insomniac’s Metronome series features mixes from some of today’s fastest-rising electronic stars, as well as championed legends. It takes listeners deep across a wide range of genres, movements, cultures, producers, artists and sounds that make up the diverse world of electronic music.
DC Breaks are a UK-based duo who spent their formative years hunkered down in the D&B barracks, grinding it out for the underground. The seasoned vets are now sitting on a back catalog that has not only stood the test of time, but has also kept itself on the crest of the genre across multiple generations. Case in point: Two of the cuts from their 2010 Halo EP that originally put them on the map—“Mankind” and the titular offering—are now getting the 2019 VIP treatment for groundbreaking D&B imprint Viper Recordings.
But turning the underground on its head was only the beginning for them, as the DC boys have also found a way to break through to the mainstream without making dreadful compromises. They’ve gone from strength to strength, supplying their signature sound for elite labels like RAM Records, which led to remix work for major players like Sony and Island Records. Since these super-producers are so well known for their first-class production level, it only seems natural that they’ve teamed up with Sample Genie, a hub for drum & bass production samples and tutorials.
DC Breaks is now crashing our Metronome series, and they’re pumped to share with you a 59-track mix of seismic proportions. Get ready to shuffle your ass off while jamming out to the tunes up top, and then dig in to our solid catchup with them after the jump.
You recently shared your excitement for the play from Rene LaVice. After all these years of massive spins and recognition on radio, can you recall the first time your heard your music on the airwaves?
Chris: My first tune played on the radio was a track called “28 Days,” under the name DJ Kryptik, which was even before DC Breaks was around. It was played by one of the most influential radio DJs in the world at that time, BBC Radio 1’s legendary John Peel. It was around 2002/3, I think. That was a real landmark moment for me personally, and gave me a huge amount of confidence to persevere with making music.
Dan: Not so much the first time on the radio, but certainly the biggest spin we’d had at that time was Pickett Line on Pete Tong for Radio 1. For such a house-specialised show, it was a total surprise to be supported there.
There has been some chatter in the EDM Twittersphere about how D&B needs to be brought to the US. What is your opinion on that topic, since you’ve already been playing here for quite some time?
Chris: D&B has been threatening to explode in the US for quite a while; maybe this is the year it really kicks off. Whenever it was a few years back that dubstep was declared “dead,” there were quite a few US-based EDM producers who started dabbling in making D&B, which has probably helped a bit. Playing the big US festivals, we find that more and more people are there for the D&B. Like D&B fans the world over, they’re all super passionate about it. We usually find a bunch of people tweeting us after the show, saying they’ve been converted to D&B, having heard it for the first time, which is always great to hear. So, yes, bring it on—the US needs more D&B!
Dan: Chris has covered it, but I think we should have a special mention for all the original US junglists—especially those promoters who book so much talent from across the world, throw their own events, and keep the scene bubbling, purely out of their love and passion for the music, and not their wallets! We love you!
With that being said, what would you say is the biggest difference between the crowds here and the crowds back home?
Chris: The EDM rave culture in the US is pretty unique. There’s a massive emphasis on dressing up (or should that be dressing down, given how little clothing a lot of people choose to wear, haha!), bright colours, etc. There’s also a lot of headbanging. You don’t really get that almost anywhere else, to be honest—although the headbanging is very much a dubstep thing. I feel like the D&B fans in the US are actually quite similar to those elsewhere; they’re just currently outnumbered quite a lot.
Dan: US crowds seem to be very happy! More of a crowd mentality than at home, I find.
We are so excited to have you play Electric Forest this year! What have your heard about our special fest in the forest? Have you ever raved in the woods before?
Chris: As soon as I posted about it on Twitter, loads of DJs who’ve played there were saying how sick it is. The pictures look amazing, and we’re super excited to play! I used to go to outdoor free party raves in the woods when I lived in Scotland, which were really fun but nothing remotely like Electric Forest. It was more just a bunch of people in a forest in the middle of nowhere, dancing in the rain next to a van with a set of decks in the back, haha.
Tell us about your relationship with Sample Genie.
Dan: They approached us last year about contributing to their latest “season.” Basically, that means creating a large sample bank and a few production tutorial videos for their members. If you’re interested in production and need some samples, definitely check them out. They have lots of talented artists contributing and seem like a really solid company.
We can’t wait to check them out. What is it about your banks in particular that makes them unique?
Chris: We really went IN on the latest one. All the synth presets and drum samples were taken from existing projects. I think with some sample packs, there’s a producer mentality that’s like, “I don’t want to give away my best stuff.” But we thought, “Let’s just make this as good as we can.”
Dan: Exactly that—our sample packs reflect us and our style because they are us! We only include things we would use ourselves.
What are your top five all-time favourite breaks?
Chris: You have to say the Amen, right?! Then, probably Think, Boymerang, Worm, and Apache. Special mention to Hot Pants.
Do you have any basic tips for beginners looking to strengthen their own sampling methods?
Chris: Dig deep, and be original! There are some great tools out there like Splice, but if everyone is using them, how original is your track going to be? I prefer to try and let samples find me. Whenever I hear something that grabs me, I make a note of it. My phone is full of little notes and links saved. Sometimes, when I hit the creative wall in the studio, I’ll flick through and find something in my notes, and that will give me some inspiration. Lastly, when you do find that little bit of magic, try to do something cool with it. Some of the best uses of samples for me are when they’ve been twisted up or used in surprising ways.
Dan: Try and keep those samples organised! It’s rather hard, and we definitely struggle to do it…. but it really helps. Build up your own banks and libraries so there’s ready-to-go original sounds for you to use when you need them.
What are some hobbies you guys turn to when trying to get your mind off music or the industry in general?
Chris: I dabble (badly) in golf, and if I’m near a beach, I also dabble (badly) in surfing. Other than that, I really enjoy cooking and BBQing.
Dan: I have two small children. It’s a miracle I can even do any work, to be honest, let alone have any time off!
Speaking of unwinding, what are some good self-care tips for the producers and DJs out there?
Chris: Rule number one: look after your ears! Damage is permanent; there’s no cure for it, and it can be seriously debilitating and mentally damaging to lose your hearing. I used to find myself getting so involved in making tunes, I would sit there for like nine hours-plus solid—no moving, no eating, nothing! That’s obviously really bad for you and actually not very productive. I find it much better now to take regular breaks, come back with fresh ears, and reevaluate what you’ve been doing.
Dan: Whatever genre you are producing, it’s really important to go and see it performed live—get a vibe for the energy, which kind of tunes connect with people—and enjoy it. It’s made to be played live and loud, so get involved!
Are there any up-and-comers we should be on the lookout for?
Chris: There are a lot of great new producers around right now. Lately, I’ve been finding myself playing a lot of Levela tunes. Bou has some really cool, super simple rollers that always fit in the mix nicely, too. Also keep an eye out for Muzzy, Flowidus, Jack Mirror and Giganti.
- DC Breaks ‘Metronome’ Mix Track List
The Prototypes “Millenia”
DC Breaks “Mankind 2019”
Crissy Criss & Funtcase “Malfunction”
Prolix ft. DC Breaks “Beat Down”
Chase & Status “No Problem” (DC Breaks VIP)
Crissy Criss “Bad Boy”
Smooth “Womper Stomper”
DC Breaks ft. Prolix “Infinity” (VIP)
Raiser “The Weapon”
Future Prophecies “Dreadlock” (Drumsound and Bassline Smith Remix)
Culture Shock “Bunker”
René LaVice “Drop It”
Dimension “Whip Slap II”
Mefjus “If I Could” (Loadstar Remix)
Culture Shock “Take Control”
Wilkinson “I Need” (Wilkinson & Metrik Remix)
Delta Heavy x Muzzy “Revenge”
Mefjus “Fractured” (Calyx & Teebee Remix)
A.M.C “Look Out”
René LaVice ft. David Boomah “Lights Out”
Dossa & Locuzzed ft. B Motion “Love Blind” (VIP)
Dossa & Locuzzed “C’Mon Feet”
Giganti “Let’s Make It Hot”
Fisher “Losing It” (Prototypes Bootleg)
Sub Focus “X-Ray” (Metrik Remix)
Cyantific “Bloodline” (Tantrum Desire Remix)
Dimension “In Bleach”
Sub Focus & Dimension “Desire”
Gydra “Hearing Damage”
Jauz “Higher” (Prototypes Remix)
DC Breaks “Shaman” (VIP)
Flowidus “Pocket Drops”
Pendulum “Watercolour” (Matrix & Futurebound Remix)
DC Breaks “Halo” (VIP)
Jack Mirror “Utopia”
DC Breaks “Never Stop” (S.P.Y. Remix)
Night Shift “More Than Human”
Calyx & Teebee “Tone Down”
Opposition “Grim Fandango”
The Prodigy “Need Some 1” (Friction Bootleg)
Loadstar “One for You”
Dimension x Wilkinson “Rush”
Opposition “Out of Here”
Opposition “Control the World”
Criss Criss ft. Inja “Launch”
Annix “Dog Knows” (VIP)
Culture Shock “Low Frequency”
Metrik “Fatso” (VIP)
Matrix & Futurebound “Mystery Machine”
Crissy Criss “Need You Now”
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