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Baked Not Fried - An afternoon with Brewster B

Author: Will Jackson
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Late afternoon/early evening at the baked potato cafe on Bridge Road, I'm sitting across from breaks dj, radio dj and occasional promoter Brewster B, who's munching down on that Irish delicacy smothered in coleslaw and mashed up egg.

Today Mr B is wearing a lumpy silver puffa and, as he tells me he only just woke up, he kinda looks like it. Apparently he was in the studio till the wee hours working on some new secret project or other, tinkering with his toys, layering groove upon groove to create some crazy concoction to rock our worlds with.

Brewster has been doing the Melbourne circuit for a while now, starting back in '92 playing chill rooms at raves. He may not be known as the godfather of any particular genre of music, but he's probably one of the better breaks djs in Melbourne at the moment and is a strong proponent of way funky broken beats.

Most of the times of I've managed to catch him has been around the late ams, post international, playing fucked up tech-breaks - his version of funky rave for the naughties.

And it seems as though Brewster has managed to pick the right genre to be spinning at the moment, as many people say that this syncopated form of dance music is the "next big thing". Brewster says this may be much to do with the cyclical nature of trends.

"It's funny actually," he says gathering up the last crumbs of his dinner/breakfast with a fork. "The era of disco lasted about 7 years and Disco/House was something that came from the 70's. 20 years later in the 90's there was another big Disco/House era which lasted a bit longer than that, if you look back now, hip hop made a big impact on the scene back then (just after Disco/House), and I think we're in a 20 yr cycle. I think we're going to see, over the next 4 or 5 years, breaks are going to explode. (I'm not sure) whether it'll be new skool still, but I think breaks in general are going to explode. That's just my view."

Biased as he may be, with a clear conflict of interest on the whole music style thing, Brewster may be onto something with the trend away from four on the floor.

"It feels like people are just a little tired of hearing the same old thud-thud groove. Breaks seems to have a lot funkier base lines because of the way they are structured and the way they swing, they swing differently. Even gigs I'm not playing at - it's not just my records, it's my fellow djs as well - you watch people when they're hearing breaks they seem the smiles seem to be more on their faces. They don't seem to be so sort of just lost in the beat, they seem to be having good time, the swingŠI don't know how to put it into words. I just think it's better party music. I think people are just sick of hearing thud-thud-thud-thud for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 hours at time."

While Brewster tends to play a very tight 'n techy form of breaks, he is reluctant to be labeled with the new skool tag. Rather, he considers himself to be a break beat dj in a more general sense.

"I consider myself a dj who plays broken beats rather than new skool," he says. "People seem to start pigeon holing people into sounds and they don't come back out of it, so I'd rather not be definitely known as a new skool dj, but I do play a lot of that sound."

So what defines this new skool sound-

"I think it's more to do with the way it's produced and the way it sounds rather than anything else. I mean it's still broken beats, and they're still 4/4 a lot of them, with funky bass lines, but its more the production technique. It's a lot of hard disk audio production and that's why the sound is really tight and the bass lines are really big because they are digitally manufactured within computers, most of them. That sort of defines the structure of the sound. It's mainly a digitally produced sound."

While the break beat sound may be getting more of a following around Melbourne, it has yet to become the dominant genr