He recorded his new mix for my Basstion show (on Polish public radio Czwórka) and it is entirely comprised of his unreleased and highly explosive new material - mostly his latest breakbeat and electro productions. If you like Special Request, rave and good fat beats and breaks, i'm sure you will love this new Borai music. Oh, and here's an interview with the man - hope you will enjoy it. Original version of this article (in Polish) you can find here : https://goo.gl/e9rqa5 .
Borai: I have been producing music for about 15-16 years. I was about 15 when I started to get really interested in how to write music and what kind of skills and equipment you needed. I decided to study Music Technology as my main subject at college (The UK system is School till 16, College till 18 and University till 21 or so), so I could learn the basics and have access to equipment, as in those days computers were only starting to be used for recording and the price of equipment was still relative high (especially for a 16yr old with only a weekend job). My first family computer had a 1gig HD and 256Mb of RAM, but I managed to buy a second hand Atari STfm with a copy of Cubase 1.2 for me to use with a Roland XP-10 keyboard that I had been given for Christmas. I slowly began to build up my studio and the first major piece of equipment I bought was a Yamaha A4000 sampler that was over £500!
What do you consider as your biggest achievement to date?
- I would say that my biggest achievement is probably my “Anybody from London” EP for Hotline Records. The title track has resonated with people like nothing else I’ve done! My first solo EP for Tasteful Nudes was very warmly received, but the reactions that I have been told about and witnessed to “Anybody…" have blown me away and given me confidence in pursuing a more Jungle and breakbeat sound. I’m also incredibly pleased at how the whole EP looked and was presented. I have a lot of love for the guys behind Hotline and it was a complete honour to have those tracks picked up by them.
Your earlier music, very often done with October, is mostly deep and warm house and techno. After "Anybody From London" you've started producing more rave'y stuff based on breaks. What's so special in breaks and jungle?
- I have always been into the jungle and D'n'B. It’s what got me into producing and wanting to explore how the tracks I was listening to were made. I wanted very much to be like my heroes, people like Dillinja, Goldie, J-Majik, Photek, Ed Rush & Optical etc. Growing up in the 90s in Bristol there were also plenty of local artists that were working in the Jungle and Drum & Bass world, crews like Ruffneck Ting and Full Cycle were showing how to do it in the best way possible.
My collaborations with October came about out of our long standing friendship, we first met in a record shop that specialised in Drum & Bass (Breakbeat Culture) and we bonded over a love for that kind of sound. I have always tried to bring a jungle sensibility in just about everything I’ve written regardless of the genre, I’ve learned over the years that almost every dance music genre has some similarities and it’s mostly just about tempo and feel that separate many of them. Early jungle and drum & bass was really influenced by Detroit for example and you can hear that especially in the pads used, in fact there are plenty of tunes that directly sample Detroit techno records and I’ve only found the early Detroit track many years later, thinking the later track was the original.
I suppose I started to use breakbeats in my own productions because I’ve always been into them but I don’t really want just write straight up Jungle or DnB. I haven’t really been into the scene for years and haven’t got a clue what’s currently popular, why not try and use a similar sound and approach but keep the tempo slower and try and do something new. I’ve spent years learning the intricate art of Jungle & DnB production and I want to use it to explore other genres and sounds.
Now seems to be a good time to be working with breaks and jungle influenced production, I think that we are only gonna see more of that kind of thing in the future as people are definitely feeling it and I think its more of a younger crowd. Those who weren’t there at the time but have listened from a far and are influenced by the whole 20-25 years that Jungle has been around rather than just the sound that they grew up with or know. The net enables you to listen to tape packs and rare tunes that you wouldn’t of heard and gives you access to years and years of material that you would never had back in the 90s, and this I think has helped create an environment of acceptance that didn’t previously exist until now. Techno fans are listening to breakbeats and Jungle fans are listening to Techno, it’s like a return to the very early 90s when Hardcore had a bit of everything and Jungle had yet to break loose.
You live in Bristol. Can You tell us about the current local club scene? What's good these days?
Bristol has always been hub for creativity and music for as long as I can remember and the scene today is no exception. Parties like Dirty Talk, Housework and Idle Hands have shown that it's still possible to be groundbreaking and new in a city with so much going on. A massive shout goes out the whole of the Peng Sound/Bandulu/Young Echo/Etc crew, they have been putting on events of a very high calibre for years and have no signs of stopping. Batu’s Timedance is both a label and party to watch out for, consistently forward thinking and always pushing the boundaries. DJ wise I cannot forget the Kelly Twins, Sean and Dan have been at the forefront of the Bristol scene for the last few years and have proved that a love of 90s R&B is not something to be ashamed of. Artists like Rhythmic Theory, October, Hodge, Addison Groove and many others I have no doubt forgotten to mention are doing great things and Bristol is not short of artists, dj's and parties that are some of the best in the world right now. Oh and I must not forget to mention my own night! It’s called Higher Level and we had Riz la Teef down for the first one just last week, there are plans for more in the future so keep your eyes out!
You work at Dub Studio. What is your job there? What You do?
- I have been working with Henry Bainbridge the boss and founder of the Dub Studio for close to 10 years now, I started off by helping him out with a backlog of emails and my role has grown from there. I am now cutting dubs and this has mostly taken the form of short runs of maybe 10-15 copies of the same dub. It has taken quite a long time to get me up to speed on the cutting lathe as I’ve had to study the whole cutting process and take my time getting used to how the equipment works and what problems to look out for when cutting. I have the advantage of having Henry to guide me through the process and he has been an invaluable resource when getting to know the lathe. I still answer emails and the phone so clients can talk about the ins and outs of cutting a dubplate. I answer the general queries that come in and that leaves Henry free to get on with the majority of mastering, cutting and the day to day running of the studio.
Dub Studio clients (to name just a few): Kahn, Neek, Joker, Pinch (Tectonic), Dubkasm, Danny Byrd, Cyantific, High Contrast, Pearson Sound, Rob Smith (RSD / Smith & Mighty), Ishan Sound, Compa, etc.
When it comes to Djing which format do you prefer and why?
- I prefer vinyl, I’ve always listened to and played records right from an early age. I guess that just stayed with me. I have used CDJs and they are handy for playing tracks that aren’t on vinyl or testing mixdowns of my own stuff, but I don’t really like them for playing a whole set. I never really got on with Sarato either, something about turning round to have a look at what tracks I have in my bag is a big part of it for me… I don’t like having to use a scroll wheel or laptop to pick my tunes. But i don’t look down on anyone who doesn’t use the same, I feel that what works for you is the best way to go and anyway the crowd never care what format you use, just that you have good tunes.
Tell us about the mix you've prepared for Basstion...
- The mix is exclusively made up of tracks that I have finished in the last 5-6months that all fit a certain style, there is some electro as well as breakbeat based tracks, but I feel that they all share a similar sound. I don’t get that many DJ bookings so I wanted to try out some of my new material and put the tracks into the world and get people listening rather than them just sitting on my hard drive. It's very simply mixed so I can let each track breathe and give the listener some time to digest the music before the next tune comes in.
What should we expect from Borai in the coming months?
- I have a Techno EP on Halocyan Records based out of the USA that is due to drop in early December. It’s 4 tracks of dark and moody deepness that I have been having some great feedback from. I’ve also signed some more material to THEM Records who put out my track “Super Cats Four Five” on their recent compilation, so look out for that. I am also starting my own label so I am preparing everything to get that completed, It’s called Higher Level Recs and will feature my own productions and tracks and remixes by other artists from Bristol, I will make sure to let everyone know when that’s ready to roll.