After six years on ice, the label that gave the world seminal, breakthrough records from some of the biggest names in drum & bass has returned… BBK is back!
Launched in 2003 by DJ Fresh and Adam F, Breakbeat Kaos was responsible for genre-shaping and career-defining tracks from the likes of Brookes Brothers, Nero, Camo & Krooked, Chase & Status and of course Pendulum. By 2012 the label had run course as Fresh was busy scoring landmark bass music moments such as the first drum & bass and dubstep UK number ones and, a few years later, reforming Bad Company UK.
During this time Fresh has never written off a BBK relaunch and hinted in interviews that it would always happen if the time was right. That time, coincidentally the label’s 15th anniversary, is now. No longer performing live, due to his successful battle with cancer, Fresh explains how he’s got more time to focus on the things he loves again and capture the new energy in drum & bass right now.
New energy like this infectiously hooky jump-up jam between Fresh and SaSaSaS all-stars Phantasy and Macky Gee. If you’ve so much as walked within 5 miles of a major rave this season you’ve probably heard (and whistled it on loop in your head for the rest of the night) Banger alert…
Some people are calling Civilization the Mr Happy of our time. Even more people are just happy that BBK is back. We pinned Fresh, Phantasy and Macky down for a moment to find out more.
BBK relaunch! This is significant news. What inspired the move to bring it back at this particular time?
Fresh: Time! Now I’m not doing gigs I have time to do the things that I enjoy.
How long have you been plotting this label return?
Fresh: I’ve been thinking about it for a while. The ethos of BBK is quality not quantity. I only want to release things that I think can stand the test of time. Having a release on BBK is supposed to be like having a trophy to put on your wall. Those kind of tunes don’t come along often.
How did Civilization come about?
Phantasy & Macky Gee: Fresh spoke with us about his plans and about us getting into the studio together to work on some vibes, we did and we came up with a few bangers. We’re buzzing that Civilization has been getting so much love from everyone. It’s an honour to be involved in this project and for our track to be the first release on the relaunch of such an iconic label as BBK. The label has had a massive influence and its footprint is all over the whole genre of drum & bass in general. BBK has influenced not just us but an entire generation of music lovers and producers with its forward thinking approach to music. And from the plans Fresh has told us about, this will continue into the future. We love being part of the journey.
Who else will follow on this journey?
Fresh: All I’m going to say at this point is that BBK is a family, and some of the relatives will be popping by.
The label spawned and encouraged so many big names in such a high impact space of time. Brookes Bros, Pendulum, Chase & Status, Sigma, Nero – you know the list better than we do Fresh. What are your favourite memories of the label’s influence during the 2000s? And is that legacy benchmark daunting as you relaunch the label?
Fresh: Pendulum obviously was the gamechanger for us but we’ve been fortunate to work with some awesome artists. And the family ethos has led to signings. We like to get tips from our own artists. For example Brookes brothers brought Nero’s Act Like You Know to us… It’s daunting financially. Sales aren’t what they once were but I’d like to think great music will win in the end and if it’s out there I want to be part of giving it a platform.
Will you be focusing on developing new talent again as much as you did during the label’s first run?
Fresh: Absolutely. That’s why even though Phantasy especially has been around for a while what the guys have built is a new sound that signposts where part of drum & bass is at now and I want to capture that. Showcasing new artists is hard because you sometimes have to help them find their feet by releasing what may not be their best work. I don’t want to do that going forward but I do want to help new artists release their best work and help with feedback!
Phantasy / Macky. Can we expect more from you guys?
Phantasy & Macky Gee: We do have another follow up track for BBK, which is another massive banger. If we carry on going at this rate, we reckon Dan might be offering us shares in the label, haha. But seriously, we cant wait for these tracks to drop. Keep an eye out on our socials for little snippets of whats to come.
Fresh, what else do we need to know right now?
Fresh: Watch. This. Space….