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The Nextmen - A Yarn With Brad Baloo

Author: Jess Moretti
Friday, July 6, 2007
The first time I tried to call Brad Baloo at his London home he was busy changing his baby boy's nappy. A far cry from his practiced stance behind the decks at clubs and festivals the world over. I try to imagine Brad and fellow partner-in-crime Dom Search performing domestic duties. It just doesn't wash.

These guys have been teaming up with some of the most prolific hip-hop, reggae and soul artists of the last decade to produce a bevy of beat-laden albums and mixed tapes which have been doing the rounds of ghetto blasters across the globe. On top of that, their live DJ sets are known as the ultimate party mash-ups.

Yet, down the line from his London home, Baloo is simply happy to sit back and have a healthy yarn about music, life and his soft spot for Melbourne.

Dom and Brad joined forces musically when Brad blagged a remix for London Posse which ended up on Radio 1. It put The Nextmen on the map and in 2000, they released their debut album, 'Amongst The Madness'. However, the truth of their initial meeting is a little more interesting, so I pried deeper.

"Yes it's true. I did meet Dom when I tried to sell him a bag of weed. I completely tried to overcharge him. Dom was quite an arrogant character back then so he didn't take it that well. He was like 'What the hell are you talking about, mate-' I knew of him from around the traps. He had quite a reputation, because he was one of the youngest DJs involved in the hip hop scene around Cambridge and he was battling all these big names. This was back in the day when people still battled and he certainly held his own," says Brad.

Dom started spinning records at the ripe young age of 15 and Brad wasn't far behind selling his drum kit at the age of 17 to buy turntables. His music appreciation developed from a young age, largely due to the fact his dad had a record collection that would be worth a mint today.

"The first things I remember listening to were - like every other kid at that time - 'Thriller' (Michael Jackson) and 'The Blues Brothers' soundtrack. I also listened to a lot of my dad's stuff. He had a huge collection - the likes of Miles Davis and Ian Carr. I love Ian Carr, I got into him from a very young age. My dad also had a huge Reggae collection - all the Trojan stuff. Most his records would be worth 40-50 pounds a piece now," says Brad.

So maybe we should be thanking Brad's dad for the recent Trojan revival, spurred by the release of The Nextmen's 'Blunted In The Backroom' compilation, completed last year. It was a headlong plunge into the depths of the Trojan collection and was a resounding success, not least because the two tracks exclusively made for the album - Blood Fire (featuring Dynamite MC), and Piece of the Pie (with Demolition Man - became the starting point for their latest release, 'This Was Supposed To Be The Future'.

"Doing the Trojan compilation really gave birth to making this record. Sanctuary owns all the Trojan stuff, so we had access to all the back catalogue. They literally rocked up at our place one day with five boxes of old Trojan Recordings… it was just incredible."

It's been four years between albums for the boys and they are well aware they have been "lazy bastards" for not getting something out earlier. So to avoid another four-year gap, they have already started on the next album. "There are just so many great artists that we've collaborated with now that there's a lot of scope to do some pretty good new stuff," he says.

The boys have even clawed their way into a few celebrity circles. Last year, they played at Elizabeth Taylor's private party and at Pierre Cardin's palace.

But despite the grandeur that comes with being internationally renowned party starters, The Nextmen is still keen to get back down south to our fair shores.

"We're coming back t