Plump DJs - Fat Beats
Monday, 21 July 2008
The hype surrounding nu-skool breaks has diminished, but its progenitors are absorbing everything from electro to nu-rave to hip hop, revitalising the movement. In 2008 the Plump DJs are back with Headthrash - and it's no predictable breakbeat album.
The UK duo, who first disseminated the Y2K EP, consolidated their overground rep with a mix-CD, A Plump Night Out, comprising many of their own productions. In 2003 they crossed over here with a debut 'artist' album, Eargasm (Gary Numan cameoed). The Aussie favourites are returning to these shores behind Headthrash for Parklife with a new four-deck show.
The DJs' last significant issue was another comp, Saturday Night Lotion, but they also generated a buzz with their novel track Mad Cow, inspiring a dance. Mad Cow isn't to be heard on Headthrash, but the duo have included the underground smash System Addict, named Breakspoll's 'best single of the year' for 2007.
'System Addict was the first tune we actually made,' Lee Rous says, 'and it seemed to be one of the stronger releases from the album. That was great 'cause we'd been road-testing that record and playing it out in our sets for nearly two years before the album came out.'
Encouraged by the response to System Addict, Rous and production partner Andy Gardner explored different directions for an LP. They've come up with 'songs', chill-out numbers and, of course, club bangers. In the past the deo have stated that a DJ's job is to interpret trends. They've dabbled with two-step, pre-empted the electro revival, and, lately, developed 'minimal breaks'. They've arguably spearheaded the mash-up craze. Headthrash finds the DJs 'boundary-hopping', as Rous has put it. They even wander into disco.
Rous himself is turned on by 'ballsy' music, with the DJs heavily into Ed Banger. The French 'sound', he reveals, is an ongoing influence. However, he concedes that the duo will be forever linked with all things breaks.
'People just know us in the dance world now for being 'breakbeat' artists. We broke through making breakbeat and, when people hear us play, they talk about us being breakbeat artists,' he says. 'But we've always just tried to make music that we like and we've experimented with various drum patterns and musical ideas.
'We don't think about categorisation too much. We don't pander to it, that's for sure.'
The breaks ethos is inherently open, yet Rous admits to encountering their share of purists. (Although, of the nu-skool breaks phenomenon, he says, 'I don't even know if that exists as a scene!')
Rous believes that the DJs, still affiliated with the indie Finger Lickin', subscribe to their own purism. 'Within any subgenre you experience narrow-minded but enthusiastic people - and they could be seen to be 'purists'. But I don't really know why the actions of narrow-minded enthusiastic people could be seen to be 'pure' in any way - I don't understand that. I mean, we're purists in our ideal, but our ideal is really an open-minded ideal.
'We're still pure and true in our approach to what we make, so we could be seen to be purists, in some respects. It's a bit of a confusing phrase.'
WHO: Plump DJs
WHAT: Headthrash through Finger Lickin'/Inertia / Play Parklife, Kippax Lake
WHEN: Out now / Sunday 5 October
MORE: inertia-music.com / parklife.com.au