Wrap Up And Watch Out: Breakbeat
From touring all over the country as a drummer for the multi-platinum group N-Dubz to breaking out as a solo artist with his own brand of drum-laden rap, Breakbeat is a creative force in hius own right. Putting down his sticks to talk with The Wrap Up's James Walsh, the man born Aaron Fagan discusses early influences, his own distinctive style and the EP that pays homage to his roots; 'East London's Diamond'...
The Wrap Up: Hey Breakbeat. Who was your biggest influence musically when growing up?
Breakbeat: He's not here anymore; but my father was very influentialn to me. He was a session bass player and worked with a lot of bands; he would take me to the studio and rehearsal sessions all the time. My mother used to sing a lot too, so my parents combined is where my love of music comes from.
TWU: Which artists did you listen to when you were younger?
Breakbeat: There was always a wide variety of music available and reggae, blues, soul, gospel and jazz were always on at home. Artist wise, it was the main guys - Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Luther Vandross and more recent artists like The Fugees. I was also a big fan of searching pirate radio stations when I was a kid and I loved the energy of jungle music.
TWU: You were a drummer first and foremost right?
Breakbeat: Yeah, I got my first drum kit when I was about 14 and that got me off the streets of East London. I was always rehearsing and getting better at my craft - I believe that what you do with your day is what you are. I became the young kid on the drums at 'Music Box' on a Monday night and there were always lots of American artists there; through ‘Music Box’ I got to work with John Legend.
TWU: At what point did you want to become an artist in your own right?
Breakbeat: About a year after I got my first drum kit, I went to Powerhouse in Acton to study music and get a wider knowledge of everything, that had always been in my plans. Then Gerald Hayward, a legendary drummer, heard me play Jools Holland with Estelle. We connected and he gave me a lot of advice. He gave me a lot of confidence; it's a beautiful thing to be able to stand alone as a solo artist.
TWU: How would you describe your sound and how do you differ to artists already on the scene?
Breakbeat: My sound is electronic hip-hop meets soulful melodies and rock; It's an amalgamation of all of those styles. I drum, produce and rap. I see myself as a musician; you'll hear guitar riffs in my music as well as 808 drums. Because of all the styles I can't be boxed in to one genre.
TWU: What has been your career highlight as a solo artist so far?
Breakbeat: I would say releasing my first track 'Give The Drummer Some'. To see its growth from an idea, to my laptop and then up on iTunes… it was great. It was the first move I made without consulting people. I bit the bullet, put it out and the response was great.
TWU: What are you working on at the minute?
Breakbeat: The EP 'East London's Diamond' is currently on iTunes and it's all about pushing that; I've been all over the country promoting its release. It's five tracks to give people a taste of what I'm about. People would have heard 'Standing Tall' and 'Sirens' but the other three are new tracks.
TWU: Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2012?
Breakbeat: I've got collaborations with Skitz Beatz, Zuby and Mr ShaoDow in the pipeline. I'm also producing some tracks for Dizzee Rascal and Tempa T. It's a busy time! As well as the music I also own a clothing line called ‘Kiss My Beats’. Gok Wan has endorsed the snapbacks and I'm looking to include denim jackets and footwear soon. You can keep up to date with that side of things on the site!
Stay up to date with Breakbeat on Twitter.
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)