When it comes to record labels in the golden era of Breakbeat music, Fat! is up there as one of the most consistent, original and standard setting on the global scene... Along with their legendary night 'Chew the Fat' at the End in London, the label pioneered a sound in music that will live forever in the souls of ravers all over the world.
Atomic Hooligan and Jay Cunning are revisiting the labels glory days with Fat! Breaks volume 1 a retrospective look at the labels most seminal beats. We caught up with breakbeat legend Atomic Hooligan for a chat about the release and the state of the breakbeat scene at present. There is also an exclusive old to the new mini mix that they have exclusively recorded for Juno customers - showcasing the best of the old and new that Fat! and they breakbeat scene have to offer.
Number 1 is this Fat! Breaks compilation. Fat! asked me and Jay to compile our favourite moments from the era of the label when it was releasing classic breakbeat. It was honestly quite hard to only pick 14 tracks. Me and Jay used to have bags full of Fat! records when we went out to play at gigs.
Other than that, myself and Jay have our PR company and we are really pushing our DJ School at the moment.
I'm still DJ'ing out a fair amount and running my own label Bass=Win with Rico Tubbs.
You say it was hard to pick just 14 tracks from Fat!'s back catalogue. Why is that?
The label is legendary. It helped define a sound and a time in the music’s history. Botchit (the label I was signed to), TCR, Marine Parade and Fat! were the daddys of the scene. But Fat! always had their sights set on the dance floor. They had a distinct sound that appealed to DJ's like me and the punters we played too. I think this probably had a lot to do with Chew the Fat, their night at The Bug Bar in Brixton and at The End. Jay & myself played at both these spots many, many times and there was always a synergy between the night and the music the label put out. Releases by artists like Merka, Apollo Kids, Baobinga & I.D. and so on had a sound that was perfectly suited to raving in a dark room full of like minded people. It was a magic time in dance music and to be restricted to only 14 tracks is a bit of a liberty to be honest hahahaha...
If you had to pick only one tune off the album that represents this era perfectly, which would it be?
Woof.. that’s a tough one. I would have to say Apollo Kids - The Wrath. It’s got everything a classic breaks tune needs. Big rumbling bassline, classic Hip Hop feel, big rolling drums. I would also have to say Kickflip - King Conga. People just don't make tunes like that anymore. As a DJ the structure is perfect. Nice long beat intro that drops smash, bang wallop into a dirty big bassline.
Have you got any stand-out moments from when you played at Chew the Fat?
I remember playing in Room 2 at the end about a couple before our track 'Just One More' came out as the first single from our 'You Are Here' album. So the promos had not even gone out for the track and I was still the only one with it. The room was going off, as it always did. It was a really small room with massive sound system. I played the tune into the breakdown and as the breakdown was playing this girl stood right next to the door of the DJ booth and started running on the spot in time with the drum build of the track, if you have ever heard 'Just One More' you will know it’s got a really long and drawn out breakdown. This girl just kept running on the stop and as the build got more and more intense she was stomping her feet hard and hard and I noticed she was getting really red in the face and strained. When the track finally dropped again she threw her hands in the air and did this star jump kind of thing just as her friend was bring her a plastic pint glass of water. She smashed it out of her friends hand with the star jump and didn’t even notice... the water went all over her mate and soaked her from head to waste. The star jump girl then just walked back around to the front of the DJ booth and started dancing again normally. I was in tears.
How do you think the Breakbeat around at the moment compares to the golden age of Breakbeat in the 00's?
I personally love it all. I think it was cool for people to say 'Breaks is dead' and all that rubbish. But I think there is now and always has been some great music knocking about. As with all scenes, they morph and change and sometimes there is more hype, sometimes there’s less. But, I don't think that ever really effects the quality of music being made by people in the studios or bedrooms. There is just more music around now days in general, so it can be harder for the cream to rise to the top. When a label released your music back in the early 2000's and before, it was almost like they had to take a mortgage put just to get the mastering and manufacturing done. Now, you can release a tune digitally for next to nothing. So I think the A&R process is not as stringent... But... There is still great music. There are still people out there wanting to listen to great music. It’s as simple as that. Nothing will ever re-capture the halcyon days of the late 90's and early 2000's when it comes to Breakbeat, but why should it? There always needs to be new and fresh and there always will be.
Why should people buy this album?
If you are new to Breaks and getting into the sound, it’s the perfect history lesson to find out where this music came from. If you were around for the golden era, this is the first time a few of these tunes have been available on digital, and every tune on here has been re-mastered and they all sound amazing. If you're not into breaks at all and love folk music.
Lastly, tell us about the exclusive mix you have done for us?
I tried to get a few of the tracks from the album in with some new Bass & Breaks tracks to showcase that yes they are classics, but they are very relevant now and can be played with a lot of up front stuff!
Fat! Breaks Old To The New Mixed by Atomic Hooligan
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