Photo Credit: @_glvp
Bredren have had a good run so far, and it looks like their future is set to be even more promising. With releases on major labels like Overview, 1985 Music, and Darkmttr, there’s no stopping this Belgian trio. At the beginning of 2023, they’re showing up already, with releases on Flexout Audio with ‘Primo’ & a Trail remix of their track ‘Foundations’ with MC Fokus.
But other than making music, these three friends also organise events and label nights. With artists like Enei, Lenzman, Alix Perez and Workforce being some of the guests in the last years, their events have been a huge success in the Belgian bass scene. We sat down with Bredren and looked back at some of their biggest achievements, as well as peaked into the future already.
Great start of the year for you guys, congratulations on your release on Flexout Audio! Can you tell us a bit more about that project?
Sebastien: Our track kind of started as an experiment, because we wanted to use only drums from Reason’s ‘Rytmik Drum Machine’. The vocal sample of Brandy’s ‘What About Us?’ turned out to be a very good addition to it.
Adrien: The artist who remixed our track then is Trail, a guy we’ve been following for some time now. We didn’t hesitate when Tom requested it. We got to know about Charles through Toulouse, thanks to our connections with Visages and Monty. I’ll never forget playing at one of their Dusk dnb parties, years ago, when they weren’t that big yet, that was a memorable invite. I also don’t want to forget mentioning Phil (MC Fokus), he’s one of the first and only vocalists we’ve worked with, we go way back. He’s an original in the scene, with bars for days. Big up brother.
And then the label itself, Flexout Audio, we’ve been working with them for over ten years now. It’s really been a part of our Foundation, the title of the EP is really fitting to us. All started going full speed ahead since the Flexout releases. It’s where we got to build our name, they gave us a platform to share and shape our sound. Flexout brought us to where we are now, so we really have a special bond. Tom and his entourage became friends over the years, and they still are.
Let’s look back at 2022, because you had a pretty good year last year. How are you looking back at it?
Dieter: It for sure has been interesting. After Corona, everyone took their time starting up with events again, so we didn’t have a lot of bookings at the start of the year. But for the past months now, we’ve had more gigs and bookings coming in, so we do notice everyone wants to dance again.
Adrien: Yeah, you have to know, 2019 was the busiest year for us, with playing almost every festival. Dour, Rampage, Let It Roll, Sun and Bass… And to now only have a few gigs the entire summer, that stung a bit. We nearly thought it was over, haha. For now, we’re happy the bookings are coming in again, because I think we’ve all missed playing gigs, or at least I missed it at times. Events are one of the places you can really see the scene evolving. It’s amazing to see how every subgenre is finding its own audience in Belgium and in the rest of the world. There’s jump up, neurofunk, deep, liquid, jungle, breakbeat,… It’s something that’s really been growing over the years.
Maybe not a lot of gigs in the first half of the year, but some quality gigs in the last. You played Sun and Bass again, how was that?
Dieter: Yeah awesome, it wasn’t the first time playing there, but we love the festival. Everything started with the 2014 mix competition, where we came second, after Phase. It gave us the chance to play at Sun and Bass in 2015, we went b2b with DJ Philth that year. Then in 2019 I went to Sun and Bass with Adrien, and last year I went with my girlfriend, as Adrien had already booked a holiday by the time we got the booking.
Adrien: Our set at the 2019 edition is one of the best live sets we ever played. Everything was right, it was near perfect.
Dieter: After that, covid hit, so they skipped two editions. Like I said earlier, last year I went with my girlfriend. I have to say, it was a completely different experience, more of a holiday than a festival. But that’s the thing about Sun And Bass actually, it’s not your typical festival.
You have different clubs in a village near the coast, and that’s where the magic happens. A fun thing as well, is that there’s no backstage at the festival, and everyone is just walking around the island during the day. I met Fabio at the supermarket, saw Goldie and Lenzman walking in the streets. And because of this, it’s much easier to meet new people and to network, it’s way easier than on a normal clubnight. That’s what I love about Sun And Bass.
Adrien: Everyone who loves drum & bass is going there, everyone shares the same passion, it’s really unique.
Last year was a big year in releases as well. Tell me about your 1985 EP and your track on Overview with LaMeduza.
Adrien: Our track with LaMeduza is a typical Bredren track, but we’re very proud of it nevertheless. We saw the fans were liking our collaboration, which made it even more special to us. It was sitting in the Beatport Drum & Bass Top 10, that was nice to see.
We were so fortunate to be a part of the entire project, everyone really outclassed themselves in my opinion. Phase, GROUND, Waeys, Solace and of course Krizia (LaMeduza). She put her heart in and achieved something timeless that people will remember. Everyone did such a good job.
Sebastien: The creative process of this track was a little longer than most of our tracks, I think we spent two and a half months on it. But think about it, we’re already three guys, and then the vocalist on top of that, that makes four people who are working together on one track. All in all, the collaboration with LaMeduza went smoothly and a good track came out of it, that’s the most important part.
Adrien: And then for our 1985 Music release in July, well, it’s been a second dream come true. Alix Perez has always been one of our big inspirations. Ever since I started listening to him back in ‘07, he’s been making amazing music. For me, his 1984 EP will always be one of the best drum & bass albums ever made. He’s doing such an amazing job with his own label now and it’s beautiful we’ve been able to be a part of that.
There’s been more music coming out than ever. Do you guys feel any pressure to keep releasing?
Dieter: We do feel that pressure, it’s a fast scene we’re in. But on the other hand, we like to put quality over quantity. We want to be 100% happy with the tracks we put out, so I think that’s why we take a bit more time to release.
Adrien: We also don’t have much studiotime together, once a week, Monday night. There have been times where it goes less well, and some weeks where we create a track in a few hours. It’s just like that sometimes, it’s part of the creative process. And with releases coming faster and faster in a somewhat oversaturated scene at the moment, you also have to consider waiting times with some labels. For example, if you want to release on the bigger labels now, you could be waiting an entire year before your track comes out. I reckon that’s also one of the reasons so many artists are setting up their own labels nowadays. Jubei, Kyrist, Workforce to name a few. It’s just because there’s so much new music and also as an established artist you start gaining the confidence to curate your own music more.
Apart from gigs you’re playing at and tracks you’ve been releasing, you also have your own event in Brussels, Bredren Invites. Last year you had two editions. One in April, where you invited artists like Enei and Breakage. And in September you did a 1985 Music label night. How did they go?
Dieter: It’s so cool to be able to work with the people who inspire you. Label nights always have something special, though. It’s some kind of collaboration. The line-up is decided, artwork is being finished together… After that, it’s up to us to make it the best label night possible. But it’s also nice to invite some artists ourselves, like we did in April with Enei and Breakage. We try to invite artists who rarely play gigs together, we think that’s nice and it’s also something we’d like to expand even more in the future. Like scheduling a dubstep and a techno artist in one night, why not?
Adrien: We wanted our next edition to have some 140 and some breakbeat/jungle for example. I always thought it’s good to have some progress during a night. First some dubby, chill music to get into it, crossing over with breaks, then flowing into some rollers, to end with the harder stuff. If that works out, we’d like to continue exploring different genres. This one is scheduled for April 14th at Fuse Brussels at the moment. Taking into account the new measures imposed by the Brussels environment agency. We don’t know how this story will unfold in the future but we’re keeping close watch on the situation.
Okay, nice idea! You’re telling me you want to work with different genres, is that also the stuff you listen to when you’re not working on your own music?
Sebastien: For sure, the music you listen to always has some kind of influence on the music you make. I grew up in the electronic music scene, listening to dance, trance, house, all things underground, whereas Adrien and Dieter listened to rock and punk more. Our bootleg of ‘Meet Her At The Love Parade’ literally happened because I was at some party, where I heard the original track. I got a nostalgic feeling and wanted to try and give it my own spin.
Adrien: True, Sebastien’s inspiration comes from techno and dance, my initial inspiration came from punk and rock / hard rock. I listened to bands like AC/DC, Linkin Park, Nirvana and Pennywise a lot when I was young. I noticed later that a lot of punk songs have the same drum arrangement as drum & bass, just a bit faster. Just like I noticed that if you invert Reggaeton riddims, you get the drum & bass two step. In general though, for making drum & bass I get inspiration from other drum & bass artists, like for example Skeptical. He’s always been an artist that stood out for me.
So you all get inspired by different things. Do you also have a different way of picking tracks to play out then?
Dieter: I’m playing a lot of gigs together with Adrien. What I like about him as a DJ, is the fact that he can drop a fat classic out of nowhere. It gives me goosebumps sometimes, really.
Adrien: Well, for me it’s the opposite actually. Dieter is good at finding and playing out the big tracks of the moment, I’m a bit more nostalgic when it comes down to selection. Just love to surprise people by pulling out that one everyone forgot about. But those are the types of tunes that bring a moment of hype during the set, so I love that Dieter does play them. It keeps our sets interesting I reckon.
Sebastien: I don’t come along to gigs that often, but when I do play, I think I’m the one going for the harder stuff. Most of the time it’s me and Dieter playing the rollers, and then Adrien breaking it up once in a while with some lighter tunes. I like that, because people do need a breather sometimes.
I want to do some more looking back with you now. For some time now, you’ve been playing together as Bredren. I’m sure you have a lot of great memories together, can you tell me about some of them?
Adrien: Dour, that was one of my best memories for sure. We didn’t expect a lot from it, as we were playing at the very start of the day, but it was mad to see the people flow in from behind the fences that just got opened, filling the Red Bull Elektropedia Stage. It even looked like there were more people at our set than the later ones, like Skeptical and Alix Perez, which was pretty reassuring to see.
Our first time at Outlook Festival in 2012 was legendary as well. We brought a photographer, a videographer, and a promoter from Brussels with us, so we captured the entire thing. This was also the year we released our very first vinyl, on Inception Audio. We also played a festival close to Vienna once (Nuforms festival in 2015) where we were playing on a small stage outdoors. During our set the sun was setting in front of us. That’s a memory that sticks, it was so beautiful.
Dieter: A memory that sticks, was our first time in Vienna in 2012. We played in a complex, a kind of sauna, which got transformed into a club. It was our first time playing for Contrast, and since then we’ve been invited every year.
Adrien: Another good one for me, was the 1985 Music Label night in Cardiff, right before covid hit. It was such a rowdy rave, in an old vault, behind bars. Everything went good and bad at the same time.
Dieter: Good, as in, the music and the rave were awesome. Bad as in, everyone lost a lot of sweat that night, but they just kept going, because it was that good. In terms of releases, my greatest memory is our first release on 1985 Music, and our first vinyl on Inception Audio.
Adrien: Same here, we started playing tunes on vinyl records, so it’s something close to our hearts. There’s something about being able to touch, pick up and show your music to people, whereas a digital tune gets lost in the masses more easily.
What does the future hold for Bredren?
Adrien: We’ve had a few requests to go and play in New Zealand and Australia. Canada as well. A few gigs in the UK too, which is nice. A few less in Europe, because a lot of concepts quit during covid, sadly enough.
Dieter: We do have a lot of events planned in Belgium though, like Rampage, but also some smaller local ones. Other than that we also have a remix coming out on vinyl for Dispatch, but I guess that’s about it. For now, we’re researching labels to work with and we keep creating music.
Seb: That’s the thing, we first make tracks and afterwards we look for labels to work with, not the other way around.
Adrien: We keep doing our own thing, stubbornly, that’s what worked best for us. Sometimes I can put more pressure on the boys, or I try to steer in a certain direction, but that never really works. It has to stay fun. We already spend a lot of time on making music, more than we ever planned or expected so we don’t want it to become too stressful. The formula we have now, has become something more durable and beautiful.
Dieter: As long as we keep coming together, Bredren will continue to exist.