Funk Fallout

19 July 2012 | 9:39 am | Troy Mutton

“Music doesn’t sell the way it used to at all. Even the biggest stars don’t sell that much. So the concept of writing an album and then selling it is kind of outdated.”

With beginnings in acid-house stretching back to the early '90s, Lee Coombs has been around the traps long enough to know what works for him and what doesn't. Over the past decade he's been a big purveyor of his patented tech-funk sound – a mix of 4/4 beats with elements of breakbeat - through his own DJ sets and as head-honcho of Thrust Recordings.

And after shelving the broken beat part side of things for a few years, it seems like the breakbeat is back in a big way. “We all started making a lot more breaks recently,” Coombs begins. “There were a few years where not much breakbeat featured in the tech-funk sound, but now it's back big time. I have really been enjoying making tech-sounding breaks and applying all the new production techniques we have gained in recent years. Music has never sounded so good as it does now.”

For a dude that's been manning the wheels of steel for over two decades now, it's great to hear him still getting buzzed about a sound or genre,, and the search for new music is a constant driving force. “I love underground music. I'm a lifelong fan and will never give it up. I'm not in it for the money. If that was the case, I would be making pop music. I also love making the noises for the tracks. I use 100 percent analogue hardware synths. I love the organic process of creating fat sounds.”

And while the hunt for new tunes is always on the agenda, Coombs isn't averse to looking back to the gold ol' days of acid. “It is well and truly back in my world. I left it alone for a few years, but about a year ago I picked up my TB-303 and made an acid track. Now I have a load of them ready to release. In fact my latest single Fallout is probably the biggest acid track I have ever made.”

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Coombs is also old school in the sense he's not averse to releasing an artist album, as 2009's well-received Light & Dark will attest to. And while he has seen the album's format decline over the years, he's not completely buying into it. “Music doesn't sell the way it used to at all. Even the biggest stars don't sell that much. So the concept of writing an album and then selling it is kind of outdated,” he explains. “But, an album is great as a representation of your work, and kind of works as a business card in a way. It means so much more than just releasing a single. People can really see the scope of where your talents are. I have a new artist album planned hopefully for the end of the year.”

And no doubt he'll be releasing on his label Thrust Recordings, an outlet for Coombs to release mostly his own music – a smart move in our digital climate. “In today's world, if you are an artist that releases lots of music then you kind of have to do it yourself. With all the Internet work that needs to be done, the artist themselves is the only person that will do that properly,” he reasons. In addition to running the label, he's got another project he's pretty excited about. “I have another band called The Freakazoids with Nick and Lanx (Drumattic Twins) where we do purely old school electro funk. We are writing an album and have some really exciting music written due for release later this year.”

Before then though it's a trip to Ambar, a place he is fond enough of to name a track after. “I always have a great time at Ambar! It has never failed to be one of the best gigs on the Australian tour circuit. Great crowd and a really nice vibe in there. The track Ambar was totally inspired by my sets in the club and I look forward to playing it there!”