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Interview - Skool Of Thought

Author: Sparklechops
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
There was a time when breakbeat meant exactly that - bass-heavy broken beats and nothing else.

But these days, a trip to a breaks club is akin to buying yourself a bag of licorice allsorts, with jungle, D&B, dubstep and the like all featuring heavily in mix. As with everything good at the moment, there's a veritable smorgasbord of beats 'n' treats, referencing just about every funky thought you ever had.

Two pioneers of this all-encompassing sound are Ed Solo and Skool of Thought, who operate the Supercharged label from the south coast of England.

They have just released Random Acts of Kindness, a collection of sublime grooves featuring a host of guest MCs and more variety than you would find in a Heinz factory.

Dance music has undergone quite a transformation in the last decade, with releases a lot more eclectic than was previously the case. You're obviously enjoying the freedom that brings-
Yeah, but it's been there for a while. Probably the most influential album for me was Coldcut's Journeys by DJs, which is at least 10 years old. Those guys have always promoted the eclectic style and that has filtered through to me. I've always liked the specialist side of things too, like drum n bass and breaks adn stuff, but mainly I'm more down with the eclectic thing.

Although you draw on many styles, there is a break beat theme running through the new album. What is it about that genre that inspires you-
It just has everything for me. Things maybe a bit more electronic these days but it still has the feel of James Brown, coming from his '70s funk breaks. I personally think that's the core of all good music. Then there's the influences of other styles…the groove and build of house, the raucous influence of drum 'n' bass. It just encompasses all of the things I like about music into one genre, which works for me.

In Australia, the breaks scene peaked in around 2001, before a lot of the DJs and producers defected to house and electro. They're coming back now, albeit with a less purist approach, but did the UK follow a similar pattern-
I don't think it dropped off to the same degree, but it's certainly undergoing some changes. And that's a positive thing, 'cos you don't want to carry on in the same style forever.

Perhaps if people listen to some different music and try some different things, they'll all come back with some fresh ideas. It's gone a bit more underground, but it's certainly not dying. Dub Step has been really popular over here and with those sorts of sounds there's a lot of cross-pollination.

Right when breaks was firing down here, two-step reared its head for about five minutes. What happened there and does two-step garner much respect in the UK-
Not really. It was very big here, but it arrived quickly and left just as quickly, which is the problem with new fads. Breaks took a long time to build and that's why it will have longevity. Two-step burst onto the scene and was gone within the year.

What's happening with the Supercharged label-
It's a very exciting time for us. We have four new albums coming out next year and a string of singles from each one. We've also signed a new band called Black Canvas, who are a bit more [of a] cool dance-hall vibe, not a million miles away from Fat Freddy's Drop.

Then there's electronic stuff like Splitloop, Deekline and Krafty Kuts. So it's a busy time for the label and, club-wise, it's just the same. We do about 70 shows a year in Brighton, so we're just doing our thing and flying the breaks flag.

Are you taking the show on the road-
We've done a few gigs and did a semi-live thing at Fabric a couple of weeks ago with Darrison supporting the vocal side of the tracks. Hopefully we'll make it to Australia early next year.