"I whispered in his ear, ‘Imagine this in front of 10,000 people in Australia’, and we both sort of looked at each other with a big grin, and we thought, ‘Yes’…"
“We're just working on a couple of bits – we're just working on a little remix of Tricka Technology seeing as we're sort of coming back together and re-presenting that brand we started back in the day,” relays an animated Adam Mills aka A.Skillz in the studio with his old partner-in-crime, Martin Reeves, better known as Krafty Kuts, who chimes in, “It's sounding good, we're excited.”
Reunited for an Australia tour this Christmas period, including of course a stop-over in the west for Breakfest, which just last week won another Perth Dance Music Award for Best Event, the twosome are quite happily digging back into the old record crate for a few sneaky re-dos from their classic 2003 album, Tricka Technology. Sounding every bit the pair of old mates who've shared some seriously good times over the past, and the energy and excitement in their voice as palpable as they discuss what brought them back together this year.
“Basically, we realised it's been 10 years since we did the album and I dunno, we have been doing shows together on and off over the years, but the opportunity sort of presented itself for this particular tour and we've always had a lot of requests to play together but it doesn't always work out. And we've both got busy schedules so we just decided, 'Alright, lets make this work – let's get together and actually plan some new things we can do together'. And of course we both love playing in Australia so it just seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something together,” Mills explains. Reeves elaborates: “Some of the best times that we've had have been in Australia and we both know some of the best music we've made is together and really given us so much joy over the years.
“Even now, we still listen to the Tricka Technology album and the tracks still sound pretty fresh. We set the tone for something special at that time you know? Without sounding too… It's hard to explain but we're just confident in what we do and with our DJing and it's just carried on in our solo careers as well.” Reeves has cause for confidence, the two of them have remained at the top of the breakbeat heap ever since, and continue to do so – Mills' set at last year's Breakfest an absolute stand-out for most in attendance.
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But has breaks failed to really grow since the album? Reeves is philosophical on the genre, where it's been and the exciting times that lay ahead: “It's like all music in general, it's been through, not so much radical changes – breaks has still kept its foundations, it's gotten a little bit harder or more electro should we say – but I think the foundations are still there and in fact I think it's actually grown better in terms of the music 'cause there's a slower tempo coming up and I think there's a lot more 110[bpm] music.
“So breaks music is having a bit of a resurgence and the artists are realising – you know the older artists like Plumps and all that are all still really strong like Stanton Warriors and Plump DJs and Yoda and Jaguar Skills and all these people.”
And while the duo's names are synonymous within breakbeat circles, they've never really tailored their DJs to that specific sound, wandering between all kinds of genres – and that's what really shifts their gears, to add a touch of Plumps to proceedings. “It's a tough thing sometimes when you're making music and you're expected to play just that style of music that you make, it can be a little bit limiting,” Mills reasons. “But we definitely like to see ourselves as DJs as well as producers, so as DJs you have that kind of free reign to explore different genres when you're playing and I think we're definitely people that are quite open to not being too set in sticking with that one sound and we're quite happy moving through different genres and just embrace the current styles that are emerging all the time… And it makes more of an impact or a shock when suddenly the tempo changes and bang and then you're into this groove. We just thrive on that style of DJing really.”
The latter half of 2012 has seen the twosome back thriving behind the decks together, and while they've never exhibited any signs of tiring or being over it, it's pretty bloody obvious they're excited to be sharing wheel spinning duties once again. “Really good,” states Mills, on how their shows have been together. “Bloody good fun,” adds Reeves.
“We've really just started taking on a few more bookings this year to test the water and see how it feels to play together. Like, just last weekend we played in Manchester…” Mills begins, Reeves interrupts, continuing not unlike twins mid-sentence. “There was a moment, we got into the hotel and we got together and thought let's try this, just a quick mash-up and it was a moment when we dropped it and the crowd was zinging and I just grabbed Adam – I never really talk much during the set – and I whispered in his ear, 'Imagine this in front of 10,000 people in Australia', and we both sort of looked at each other with a big grin, and we thought, 'Yes'… And that was the magic moment we found. It's times like that, they're just so much fun, and we just hope it's the same with the big shows over the Christmas period, especially Breakfest.”
The ensuing discussion about WA's epic Boxing Day Belvoir beatfest can be found in a separate breakout box on this very page, but one interesting point that Mills raised is how much the festival stresses him out more than other shows. “Funnily enough of all dates on the tour, Breakfest is the one I'm most nervous about. Even though it's not necessarily the biggest, the crowd – they know…” he begins. “They're educated,” agrees Martin.
“But at the same time they're totally up for a party. It's gonna be good. Even with all the nerves it's going to be amazing,” Mills beams. “Just coming back after last year and making sure everything's fresh. And also, in all honesty, the guys that are on the line-up, they're actually people we're really closely connected with and we share our most special little edits with each other. We're all inter-linked with tuneage so we've got to start reigning in our own tunes and not sharing so much towards Breakfest. We would normally be like, 'Oh here's a little Jaguar Skills edit', or he might play something of ours or whatever, so we've all got to try and keep them to ourselves.”
“Marten Hørger's the one... Marten Hørger, you watch him. He is like a top performer, he's a really happy, nice guy and he gets in the studio and he will work his magic to just find tracks that will blow people away,” Reeves insists. “So that again makes me and Adam think, 'Alright, what do we have to come up with? We need at least another five big hitting tunes that nobody's got that we can take to the stage.' I think we've got one…well a few.”
At this point both of them burst out laughing. “Bloody hell, one!? You can't tell the people of Perth we have one good track,” Mills shouts. “We've got one new track that no one else has got,” Reeves stresses. “Yeah, that's because we just made it,” Mills retorts. “Yeah we can't say a bloody word about that,” Reeves insists, before continuing, “I think it's good to be a little bit more cagey and a bit more like, excited about what we've got… Basically what we want to do as artists is play an hour-and-a-half of really the best music you could hear.”
“Is it really an hour-and-a-half?” Mills exclaims.
“Yeah, so we're doing an hour-and-a-half and hopefully we'll absolutely nail it – that's what our intentions are.”
One gets the feeling Breakfest is in pretty safe hands.