No genre boundaries too rigid to blur. No act to new and unknown to support. No groove too gully. No bass too dark… Left/Right and Zander’s Dallas-based BRØKEN Syndicate has been a key incubation station for underground bass music since it launched in August 2015.
Flexing releases from the likes of Daze Prism, Echo Knight, SaidWho, Khesis and even respected breaks OGs such as Evil Nine and Rico Tubbs, BRØKEN have gradually developed a distinctive freeform, UK-rooted but internationally-minded signature with every free release. The label’s output regularly enjoying plays from big guns across the bass board – My Nu Leng to Noisia, AC Slater to Skepsis – and has been increasingly relentless with its forward-thinking as it grows. Last year was such an exciting year, our editorial team cited the label as one of their favourites of 2017.
If Conspiracy is anything to go by, 2018 could be an even bigger year. The label’s first album, it’s an impressive collection of stone cold bass work-outs that sit right at the forefront of 130 low end music. Each one of the 10 tracks a murked melting pot of futurism; shades of garage, breaks, house, tech and dubstep all play a role in this landmark album as the likes of Celladore, Figures Of Eighty, Morelia, Tyler Clacey and many more exciting new names join the fray and give us a taste of tomorrow’s dancefloors. If you’re looking to freshen up your radar with some serious next generation talent, Conspiracy is the perfect place to start.
We caught up with the Dallas beat cowboy Left/Right and Canadian basssmith Zander to find out more about the label and get them to personally introduce the talent on the album. Get to know:
Take us back to August 2015 when Broken launched. What was the trigger? What was the goal?
Left/Right: This was an interesting time I think for both of us. We were both coming off the back of launching other event projects – FUTURE and Prime – and wanted to create a side-outlet for a lot of the new bass music we were discovering. It really was a sound that crossed over between us and was pretty unique.
Zander: Agreed. The main goal was just to push new heavier sounds, musical culture and make it accessible to a broader audience. We really wanted all the music to be free, too, and just grow the brand and the artists first. We started out throwing some cool shows and debuted a lot of UK acts.
How have things developed?
Zander: Things have gone really, really well… We’ve put out a lot of tunes we’re proud of and gotten support from a lot of our favourite artists. Adding our label manager and producer Isenberg to the team has really upped our game too.
Left/Right: Yeah, our Soundcloud and Spotify in particular have been growing steadily since we launched, we have over half a million plays in 2 years and we expanded into official releases too on Beatport, Itunes, Juno etc… primarily for visibility’s sake. All our back catalog is still free… We just release our newest tunes for purchase-only for about a month.
Have there been significant moments when you could feel things really level up?
Left/Right: Definitely. I think the big one for me was when we started getting nods and spins from artists that had inspired us to create BRØKEN. We started seeing our tunes on radio shows across the globe.
Zander: Agreed, that was a big one and when we started seeing loads of submissions that were all super unique from people who were clearly starting to tune into what we were doing.
Which DJs are supporting BRØKEN releases on the regular?
Zander: My Nu leng have been a big one, we’ve also had support from Noisia, Taiki Nulight, Skepsis, and different shows on RinseFM for some time.
Left/Right: A lot of the early support was in the UK. But we’re excited to see a lot of crossover support in the states as our sound grows… Support from Pasquale Rotella on Night Owl Radio, Bijou, Born Dirty, AC Slater and Tommy Trash as well.
You’ve had some well established murk merchants on the label such as Rico Tubbs and Evil Nine but the majority of the names are always super new and exciting. It’s part of your signature. Where do you find them?
Zander: Some of them find us, but we also dig really aggressively to find hidden gems and fresh raw talent that we feel are pushing something cool.
Left/Right: Yeah both of us are pretty big diggers for our DJ sets… I think we both share an aesthetic to be different, which I think can be rare these days in the overall EDM scene. A lot of people are trying to be like whatever’s trending. We just want material that people haven’t heard before and crosses boundaries.
Tell us about the Conspiracy album….
Zander: The compilation is a kind of representation of some of the range of selection we are fucking with and to send the message that it’s not about genre specifics but more about a feeling.
Left/Right: Yeah I love what we accomplished in terms of range and yet the album still feels cohesive. Since it was our first compilation there was a lot of internal debate on the selection, the order, who to invite but we’re really happy with how things have turned out. The support has been overwhelming and we are excited to share it.
What’s the biggest conspiracy in the world?
Zander: The idea that you need to conform to be successful.
Left/Right: Dang! Not sure I can beat that. I like this quote: Don’t let who you are get in the way of who you want to be.
There’s a lot of new names to introduce on the album. Tell us what we need to know….
“The Figures Of Eighty guys are a really unique duo that are pushing that dark rave feeling. We love how original all their productions feel. We are excited to be working with them as we feel they stand for everything broken stands for and that is dark bass / cutting edge dance music.”
“Khesis is easily one of our favourite producers in eastern Europe. This Hungarian has a real penchant for pairing surreal soundscapes with heavy bass and cool percussive rhythms. Definitely one to watch.”
“The Heat is possibly one of the heaviest tracks on the album. SaidWho is known for bringing the heat out of Bristol; using impeccable sounds design and excellent engineering, he grinds out some insane sounding synthwork over aggressive drums and tight broken beat madness.”
“Originally we discovered Morelia under his D&B/footwork alias MANNEQUIN when signing some footwork to PRIME, but upon hearing Poecilotheria we knew it was massive and a perfect fit for BRØKEN. He is a truly talented producer with a wide range of skills and a passion for pushing genre limits and styles.”
“The Corporation is made up of Dallas producers Greed and ZBRA that are close friends and are really pushing to make moves in the market. Nik P is also from Dallas and possibly one of the most creative producers we know with no limit on style. He works closely with our sister brand and Zander’s main squeeze PRIME.”
“Daze Prism has really rocketed up his output this last year and we are proud to have had multiple releases with this burgeoning talent. Bass-heavy, dark, and hard-to-define, Follow is classic BRØKEN vibes.”
“Another prolific underground UK Bass producer to watch, Tyler has released several amazing tracks with us in the past and never disappoints. The End is a perfect fit in his repertoire and on the album.”
“BRØKEN alumni, friend, and filmmaker, Cellardore brings a sultry vocal and low-slung beats to the Conspiracy compilation. Being another genre-bending producer, we love hearing whatever Cellardore will pop out next.”
“So Schway is a South African cat that is absolutely tearing it up, with a wide variety of releases and but consistent and unique take on four on the floor groves. Hit sound design caught our attention when we heard a tune from him on a friends label… We are excited to be working with and supporting him, he has releases with loads of other friends.”
“Womba’s Come In is a huge one, and we really love that it’s been received so well. We’re suckers for rave and jungle music and this tune is exactly what we want to be hearing and playing at late night warehouse parties across the country. Womba is also half of UK duo Affiliate, who we really love as well and are putting out huge tracks, we are putting out a project from them this year as well.”