Interview| Broken Toy


MCBN: Let’s just start off with a big shout for all your sets over the 3 days at Rezonance. Super Evil was mind blowing, Nesono was out of control and Broken Toy was, well Broken Toy! How else can we put it, Sunday bliss. How did you find your three sets, Super Evil, Broken Toy and Nesono?

BT: Well , let me start off talking about the work behind the scenes for Rezonance and then get into how the sets turned out. With such a massive workload, I had to have a serious game plan to keep ahead of it all, and that basically meant that almost all of the effort went into perfecting the midnight NYE Super evil set.

Arno and I pulled 3 sessions a week for a month and a half before the time and wrote about 4 new tracks in search of the perfect NYE opener. Amazingly enough , this ran perfectly smoothly with us finishing 3 days ahead of schedule even after me having to take one of the weeks off after a certain alien safari melted my brain! hahaha

Nesono was next in line, and I was literally clueless about what I was going to do. If you know Nesono , you know that it’s a completely scattered-ass project going in every direction possible. A week before the time, I found out I was playing after Jam jarr and realised that I was about to get upstaged by 2 mother fuckers on top form doing more of a performance thing than me! I asked one of my good mates JP vogel AKA Hednod AKA Woofdawg to do some turntablism/scratching during my set to even the odds and he agreed – even though we didn’t have time to rehearse anything!

He also really helped out a lot in pre-production as we focused on tracks we`d worked on together with more of a  Miami ghetto tech/dancehall and dub step /breaks vibe. I took a few old Nesono 4/4 tracks and gave em breaks remixes and within 2 days, I had a whole collection of fresh tracks to debut that were blowing ME away! I couldn’t believe it!  

And then Broken Toy took the hit as I`d laid the groundwork for my BT sets well before season started and I`ve been keeping all those tracks exclusive so they can’t get old before their time. Never mind that with BT, I get in trouble from punters if I don’t play certain classics, so that set could run on its own steam no problems.  

So – my impressions. Arrived at party, walked to technodubfest arena, and was shocked! Hands in the air, chicks on dudes shoulders and whoop whoop craziness all round! Jam Jarr had the place frothing as I knew they would, and we took over and smashed the place with all manner of silly bass and grooves ranging from 87bpm to 130bpm. I’ve never played a set with such crazy variety before and the crowd was eating it! Such a pleasure, and to have my homie JP on stage representing took things to a whole new level. On sheer exceeded expectations, this set was my favourite of the weekend and hopefully a vision of good things to come for us. I can’t wait for more!  

By the time this set finished, I was a crazed madman and just wanted to run over to the main stage and bust out yet again. Mega-ampedness!  

Artifakt played a flawless set before us with an epic selection of tracks to lead up to the countdown which he synchronised from the 60 second mark. I got to say that this was all a complete blur for me!  Game face had taken over and I think my memory of this and the first few tracks have been deleted due to brain-stimulus overload! Such a massive crowd in front of you hyped up to that level is pure insanity!

Mad respect to Arno for playing a flawless set – how good is that mofo? He’s a born performer so he just ate up that massive crowd and spat that energy right back at them. I know it was a big moment for him and he`s still walking on air about it. All in all it was a magic moment and a true honour to be asked to play a set like that. Unless we get the chance to do it again sometime, I doubt we`ll get a dance floor experience to match that in a while.

Two days later, with the weather looking dodgy, imagine my surprise to arrive back at the party after a brief trip home to freshen up and discover that the dance floor was packed yet again with the kind of crowd that has worked themselves in and are at cruising altitude – ready to go on forever. I myself was cruising and totally relaxed having smashed out two epic sets already so i can only describe my BT set as pure, absolute fun. No trace of nerves or second guessing – just smashing it. Magic!

 

I feel sorry for the rest of 2011 , because by the 2nd of Jan, I think I’ve already played my best sets of the year! 

MCBN: You are fairly well travelled. Where in the world have you been to DJ?

BT:  Meh- Been to around 25 different countries if you`re counting- all the usual places. It`d be more interesting to say that I’ve never played in the States or china. Done pretty much all the rest broadly speaking.

MCBN: You have been in the scene for a while now, how did you first discover trance?

BT: I went to my first psy party back in 98. Friends of mine had told me that it was dance music but different to the rest of the rubbish that was considered such. I was getting into making music with computers and moving away from playing in bands etc , so i was curious. One bite and most people are hooked I think. Same here. (Editors note: We definitely agree)

MCBN: When did you begin DJ’ing and was it a slow progression into production or did you dive head first immediately with Broken Toy?

BT: Interestingly enough, I’ve never DJed before. I`m a bit of a snob in that regard because I always felt I was on a different mission to everybody else and nobody made music that I wanted to play – especially back when I got going around 2002. Now things are a lot more generic and acceptable, but back then most of the tunes I heard didn’t have the right balance of funk, power and intrigue to entertain me, so I had to make it myself. Also seeing as I’ve come from a background of playing musical instruments that take a lot of practice, I went straight for maximum results. To this day I can’t justify the time it would take to play one tune after another well – I’d rather sit there and write new tunes or learn a new instrument. By the same token, I hardly do anything else with my free time. I dont understand people who play computer games etc, because making tunes is the ultimate video game – a game that when you`ve clocked it, you get to take the result and rock parties with it. Booyah!

I`ve pretty much learnt on my own how to make tunes over the years with not much help so its been a slow process. I strongly advise against doing it my way though! Get as much help as you can along the way! Its much harder to un-learn the wrong things than it is to learn the right things.

MCBN: If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, dead or alive? Who would it be and why?

BT:  Oh dear – I’m not really one for collaborating , but just for the fun of it I’d say:

Broken Toy VS James Brown , Bootsy Collins and the rest of the band. You know some good shit would go down there.  

Super Evil VS Tool. Nuff said.

Nesono VS 2Live Crew – The filthy phatness would be off the chain!

James Copeland VS Cymande – a lesser known funk band from the 70s with an amazing subtlety to them. Deep complex funky shit. They`ve been sampled to death over the years by everybody from the fugees to the beastie boys because everything they chucked out was gold  – from expressive conga breaks to solo bass lines etc – magic stuff in those tracks.

MCBN: MyCityByNight has a big love for Skrillex, your remix of his “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” track is absolutely brilliant. How long did it take you to throw that remix together?

BT: I did that in half a day , but it gets a reworking after every gig until I’m happy with it. That’s similar for most of the good tunes I write. Tunes that don’t stand have their own personality and direction after a day are pretty much a waste of time. I`m not saying I havent had epic battles with tracks that spanned 6 months to a year , but I always ended up hating those tracks and hardly playing them. 

MCBN: Who has influenced your sound over the years, local and international?

BT: Well , initially in psytrance back around 2000, it was all about Psychaos aka Joti Sidhu ( coming to SA this year!), Dino Psaras aka Tortured Brain , and Delta/Xdream. All of these guys knew how to make serious music that was unique and banging without having to resort to today’s formulas of lasers VS chicken sounds.  

This was all before the term “Full on Psy” was invented, so it was good times. Total freedom with the music and every artist sounded completely different to the next. You can’t say that about psy now!  

Locally, I was involved with Timecode in the early stages of its Creation (back around 2002) and being in that small community of pioneers was hugely inspirational. To this day I consider Artifakt to make some of the best music coming from SA as it ticks the right boxes – unique, awesomely produced and still pushing the boundaries and exploring new ideas all the time.

MCBN: The countries you named above must have had some awesome crowds to play to, how does Cape Town compare to parties overseas? I have said this in previous interview’s that I feel Cape Town has one of the biggest and most powerful trance scenes in the world.

BT: Without a doubt – Cape Town is back on the map as one of the top trance destinations. Psy was trendy in some countries for a while and the trend has moved on, whereas in SA , its only slowly grown stronger and stronger. This season so far, it’s been a big surprise for me to see how much the scene here has progressed. The quality AND quantity of events has increased by about double, and it’s a thriving situation.

Punters have nothing to complain about. This is it.  

MCBN: If you could sit down and get drunk with three people, again, dead or alive! Who would it be?

BT: I definitely prefer getting rat-arsed with good mates around than trangers because on the 50/50 chance that my full-of-shit streak comes out, my mates tolerate me. I`d dig to get hammered with Sinatra and the Ratpack , but they`d probably end up beating my ass in an alley by the end of the night. I`d be even worse off with Al Capone and his crew.

So in the interest of actually giving you something interesting to read, I’ll give you 3 peeps in the psy scene who I’ve regularly had some epic sessions with. Arno, my Super Evil buddy, who is the most pleasant drunk ever. Just gets happier and happier the more he drinks until them T-rex hands come out! Matt Artifakt, the ass-spanker of any unfortunate honey walking by after a few whiskeys and a great appreciator of fine quality beverages. And then the maddest self-proclaimed booze-aholic-drink-to-get-fucked international hell-raising loveable badass Mikael aka Emok from Iboga records. Dude knows how to party.  

MCBN: Could we expect a Broken Toy album or are you focussing more on your other projects at the moment?

BT: It’s hard to juggle all the projects at once and at the moment I`d really like to get a Super Evil album out to firmly establish that, but I have a concept for the BT album which I have already started on and that ball is already rolling fast. Its a top priority to get a 3rd BT album out.

The main problem is just that record labels aren’t interested in pressing cds anymore because the costs are high and nobody buys them. It makes more sense to do digital releases more often. The problem is, that the disposable nature of the digital releases fails to get into people’s imaginations and all form of concept or flow that you get from an album is lost.

I`m a big fan of artwork and all of this forming a massive part of the image that the album is trying to push and how that all comes together, but unfortunately this all costs money and there isn’t any in releasing albums anymore. What to do? Suck it up and try your best to do all of this on zero budget just for the love of it and hope a handful of people actually appreciate it.  

MCBN: Can you give us a little break down of your other projects you are working on at the moment? We get the feeling you’re quite the musically talented guy!  

BT: I`m happy with all the different projects I have now because they all fulfil different musical needs for me. When I started Broken Toy, it was my only project and I threw the kitchen sink at it. I tried to get every possible influence and style that I liked into the one thing and the results were often too weird for any dance floor. Testament to that is that only 10% of the tracks that I started actually made it to the dance floor. Far too much wasted effort with no reward!  

Now all the new projects take the pressure off trying to do the wrong things with BT. For example , if I want to do  something harder or tougher, I’ve got Super Evil for that now. BT can just be its twisted , groovy little self. Super Evil is where we whip out the big guns. I mentioned earlier that I’m not big into collaborations, but I’ve known Arno since I was 5 years old and we bought our first electric guitars when we were 12.  We`ve been writing tunes together since then, so we totally understand and trust each others` melodies and judgement. That’s why we started the project – not to try and do some psy/guitar cliché. I wanted to see what would happen if we made some tunes together and this is how it turned out – awesome. It feels like we`re finally continuing what we started almost 20 years ago.

This brings us to Nesono. Sigh – The problem child. For the longest time this was my whipping boy that I took out all my musical frustrations and weird ideas on. The result has been about 2 years of genre mixing to the point that nobody has a clue what I’m trying to do. Australia was the only place that got it in a big way and thanks to that its still going.  

However, I identified the problem and am very excited about the future of Nesono. A lot of people thought that I was making breaks/urban style tunes trapped by a 4/4 beat , and they were totally right. I started Nesono to be a minimal or techno project , but the wobble bass and dirtiness that ensued didn’t work in those genres. It was too trippy for electro in general, but it just happens to be perfect for glitch and break beat stuff where it’s acceptable to be more abstract.

So the solution was to throw the tempo rules out the window and make it’s a simple, massive bass project. So that’s what it is – No rules other than its got to have ridiculous bass. This means that its going everywhere from dub step to electro-breaks and so far it’s got me AMPED! I`m very excited about this finally going the way it should.

And then last to arrive on the scene is the new James Copeland project. So sick of trying to find pretend names, I just went OG on it. Why not ? If people like Digweed or Lutzenkirchen can get away with their surnames, I think I can! hahaha.

Anyway – the point of this was to do something totally different to the rest of my projects in terms of sonic texture and vibe. All of the other projects have something in common – they all sound like they were made in a space ship. Lots of synthesiser and futuristic sounds –  pushing technology to the limit sort of vibe. JC is an attempt to only use “real” sounds to get a vintage or live tone with less cleanliness and more depth. I`m forbidden to use anything futuristic on it – only jazz and laidback tones in the same realm. The nearest genres to it would be tech house, electro-swing, or even Balkan beats , so you can see the different doors this has opened up for me.

I also have to say that within the first 3 months of writing a tune in this style, I already had a release out on a label not related to anything or any contact that I had before, so that was a sure sign that something exciting was going on. The amount of momentum behind it that was created all on its own without me pushing it is crazy! Its such a relief because I’ve tried so hard with all my other projects and this one is just rocking on its own! I`ve already got Brazilian tour management for it sorted, a label in Germany and the UK sussed, as well as some super cool remixes done and approved – all within half a year. Wow – such a bright future for this one.  

James Copeland Presents – 30min Showcase mix by James Copeland

MCBN:  Now for the famous MyCityByNight “Would you rather” question?

Would you rather only make music for Britney Spears for the rest of  your life and not make any money off of it?

Or

Would you rather walk home from a trance party at Nekkies after being there for 3 days only to realise that when you get home you have left your house keys there and have to walk back?

BT: Whoa! That’s a tough one, I doubt that I would walk all the way back to Nekkies again – I’d smash a window to get inside my house or at the very least organise a ride back – but if it was the only way to avoid getting “Speared” , bring it on!

MCBN: Thanks very much for chatting to us Jimmy. Looking forward to some Super Evil this weekend at MMD and then Broken Toy and Nesono at Origin. I tried to throw some comments to get Super Evil on that line up as well, it would have been awesome to see all three, but Nesono and Broken Toy will do just fine. Take it easy bro!

Rumoured to have the blue-prints for Krang's TechnoDrome, stolen straight from Dimension X, he’s the type of guy who exudes so much coolness that he adds whole countries on Facebook at one time instead of just people. Always up for a party and a Tequila shot or two this is the guy who we always call first, both before and after a night out…

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