Legendary UK dance collective Freestylers, first started life back in 1996 when DJ/producers Matt Castor, Aston Harvey and Andrew Galea decided to join forces. Working with just about everyone, from Pendulum to Beenie Man, the Freestylers have cemented their place as true pioneers of the scene. With a career spanning hits over several decades, including a huge legacy of albums and compilations under their belt as well as a thunderous eleven piece live act. The Freestylers have been educating the masses all over the world with their innovative slant on breakbeat and drum step for a long, long time.BBM managed to speak to main-man Aston, who put aside his busy schedule to talk to us about their new album, the future of the breakbeat scene and destroying rubber ducks in blenders…
Hi guys, how you doing?
All going well thank you!
What have you been up to lately?
We’ve been busy working on our new artist album, a new DJ mix compilation, and have been playing gigs here and there, so we’ve been fairly busy.
With your new single, ‘Over You’ feat Ami Carmine, you’ve moved away from your signature reggae/dub sound. What prompted this?
We’ve always tried new styles and concepts as Freestylers. Our musical tastes are pretty eclectic, so we like to change things up once in a while.
When are we hearing the new album? What’s it like?
Again, it’s a pretty eclectic mix of dance music styles. If anything we’ve done a few tracks that have a more housey feel to them this time. There’s also some dubstep elements thrown in there, but it’s still quite unique to us. We’ve been working with lots of different up and coming singers and rappers too so some fresh vibes in there!
Who came up with the ‘rubber ducks in a blender’ idea for the video?
Some crazy Dutch guys! The label we’re signed to ‘Rub a Duck’ is based in Holland, so we got them to come up with something mad and fun.
What do you think of the breakbeat scene at the moment?
It’s definitely not as big as it was, but it’s still holding its own. I think it’s looking like there will be a resurgence soon. There’s a new sound known as 140M Breaks which a lot of the dubstep guys are getting into as they can easily mix the tracks into their sets as the tempos are the same as the dubstep tracks.
Do you think it has had its day or is it still evolving?
It’s still evolving. All types of bass music evolves which is the great thing about it. The music is always being pushed so it’s always fresh.
Who are you listening to right now? Any hot tips?
Breakswise there’s these wicked guys called Pyramid and also Wizard. Lot’s of Good drum and bass around with Tantrum Desire, Break and Delta Heavy to name a few. Also we’re feeling Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, Emalkay on a dubstep tip.
Tell us about your live band project – how did that come about & who is involved?
It’s not a live band project, it’s just a live band. We’ve been touring with a live band since we started doing Freestylers. It was the suggestion of the record company we were signed to when we made our first album. We’ve had a bit of a hiatus the past couple of years, but once we’ve finished the album I hop to be back on the road in full effect.
Any chance we’ll be seeing that show in Aus anytime soon?
I hope so. We toured The Big Day Our in 2005, and also in 2006/2007 we did a live band tour which were both great.
Who’s the most interesting person/band you’ve ever worked with?
Rob from Pendulum, Lenny Kravitz and the rapper Ice T. Strange combo I know!
What, if anything, do you guys still want to achieve with your music?
To win a Grammy or an Aria and go triple Platinum in Bolivia.
What have you guys got planned for this tour?
Lots of good party tunes. We’ve got lots of our new music to play, plus lots of exclusives from various artists we like. We DJ on 4 CD players. Matt drops the beats and I mix and scratch accapellas and effects over the top. I get to be creative whilst doing this and every set is unique and quite unplanned. That’s what makes them special.
What’s the most interesting thing (rumour, headline etc) you’ve ever heard about yourselves?
Can’t think of anything really. We’re not famous enough, so nobody gives a shit what we get up to. Lol.
If you could change your careers for anything else, what would it be?
I’d either be an airline pilot or a porn star, and Matt would be a professional angler.
Thanks for your time and look forward to seeing you out in Oz soon.
You can catch Freestylers at Chinese Laundry on 31st March 2012, head to www.bbmlive.com for more information.
By Rebecca Jones & James Stapleton