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Layo & Bushwacka! - L&B Go To Rio

Author: Cyclone
Monday, 10 March 2008
They were the original breakbeat coupling. Hyped up before Plump DJs. Destroying dancefloors ahead of Stanton Warriors. Indeed, London’s Layo & Bushwacka! are the masters at work of breaks – or are they- 3D’s Cyclone investigates.

Layo Paskin and Matthew “Bushwacka!” Benjamin spurn pithy characterisations.  In fact, as with the defunct Tyrant Sound System, they always were eclectic. Layo & Bushwacka! never really belonged to the nu-skool breaks movement. Instead they mashed-up tech-house, electro and, yeah, some breakbeat.

Now Layo & Bushwacka! have overseen a compilation for Global Underground, a brand generally equated with prog house. It’s titled Rio. Layo & Bushwacka! adore Brazil but, ironically, Rio isn’t their favourite city to DJ.

“Our true base in Brazil is Sao Paulo,” Matt confesses. They named the double-CD Rio because it’s “a much nicer backdrop”. But more on Rio later.

The Brits, returning to Australia for the first time in three years, aren’t the most accessible of DJs. This interview takes weeks to organise. With Layo unavailable, Matt eventually steps in, but he sounds hurried. The guy is feeling poorly with a headache.

Layo & Bushwacka! presented their third album, Feels Closer, betraying a distinct Brazilian influence, two years ago. That they released it via their fledgling Olmeto Records during a volatile patch in the music biz meant it was neglected.

Since then, Matt has aired solo tracks through the label. Layo & Bushwacka! have no intention of cutting a fourth ‘artist’ album anytime soon.

“On the production front at the moment we’re working on a lot of 12 Inches for our label Olmeto. We’re doing a few remixes as well. We don’t plan to do another ‘artist’ album this year, as it stands. What we really wanna do is put out a lot of good 12s, keep working the circuit, and just stick to that, before we embark on another album project.

“It’s not that we don’t want to do [an album]... What we really want to concentrate on for the moment is just straight-up tunes for the dancefloor.”

At any rate, GU33 Rio should get Layo & Bushwacka! back in the international spotlight. It could be the most diverse GU yet. Rio is a prog-free zone. The first CD constitutes ol’ skool tunes, many from Chicago and Detroit. Dream Girl by Pierre’s Phantasy Club, Cajmere’s Brighter Days with Dajae, Richie Hawtin’s remix of Kenny Larkin’s We Shall Overcome – these are the records that inspired Layo & Bushwacka! back in the day.

In contrast, for the second disk, they delve into contemporary electronica, particularly minimal, selecting tracks by Phonique, Henrik Schwarz and Martin Buttrich. It’s what Layo & Bushwacka! currently spin in clubs. There’s even material from the boys themselves.

And Rio isn’t just a prog-free zone. Where are the breaks anthems- Matt is bored with them.

“There’s not much that excites me on the breaks scene,” he says. “In fact, I haven’t heard a single tune that’s really done anything for me for quite a long time. I’m sure there are some [tunes] out there, but nothing that’s come along my way.

“That scene was really cool, but it didn’t move on. There are a lot of diehard specialist ‘I only listen to one kind of music’ fans out there who would disagree, but I’ve heard it all before. When something new comes along, I’ll be the first person to go, ‘Wow, this is new and exciting!’ But I think it died, basically.”

WHO: Layo & Bushwacka!
WHAT: Play the Gaelic Club / GU33 Rio through Global Underground/EQ/Stomp
WHEN: Saturday 22 March / Out now