BFTR Interview: Brookes Brothers

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It was June 2011 when their self-titled debut album, Brookes Brothers [Breakbeat Kaos] was released. This year, Liquid D&B’s favourite siblings have at last dropped their much anticipated sophomore LP titled Orange Lane courtesy of Viper Recordings. Talks of it have been buzzing for quite a while. Us here, at BFTR, deemed it necessary to interrogate one of the brothers, Dan to take us through this impressive and iconic release in order for us to grasp as to why it is undeniably amongst the best Drum & Bass releases of 2017.

BFTR: Let’s start with you guys explaining to a wondering fan out there the reason why Orange Lane LP had to come after six long years. Like, was this part of the plan or…?

Daniel Brookes: We didn’t really start properly writing the album until 2014! It was finished and mixed by early this year but then towards the end, we had some setbacks with regards to tying it all up…

BFTR: So, how long did it actually take to start and finish the whole album; from the first, up until the last track? And, what does it signify for the Brookes Brothers?

DB: Probably a bit too long. Definitely at least a couple of years although we do have a lot of leftover material to work with…

For us, the project is about moving in new directions without changing our core ideas, and to try & push the genre into places it hasn’t been before. It sounds clichéd but we always want our albums to be listening experiences rather than a collection of club material. And then, it’s about making it work as a whole.

BFTR: What are you hoping to achieve with it, besides the album being merely just another hot Drum & Bass release?

DB: It’s quite experimental in many ways. Ultimately, we want our fans to really enjoy it whilst hopefully appealing to a new generation of music enthusiasts. We wanna encourage a more artistic approach to DnB albums. Drum N Bass is more than just club music. Super-distorted club music is great on a mad Friday night but, we wanted to tap into that Monday-morning market too 🙂

BFTR: The list of featured artists herein has contributed towards creating and giving life to the album obviously. So, in just a few words and in any way, how has the whole collaborative experience impacted you be it as a duo or individuals?

DB: Yeah! It definitely adds an extra dimension to the album. It helped us to develop whilst adding some other colours and vibes to our music. We’re self-taught, and had some help with the vocals on the first LP so it took a little time to learn the best ways to deal with layering and mixing vocals; overseeing vocal sessions etc. We learnt a lot!

BFTR: I see Danny Byrd was rightfully included as well, coming through in ‘Climb High’ which is one of the notable bangers in here. We’ve seen a number of hits you guys cooked up together in the past, how does this tune compare or differ from the previous ones in terms of how you see it?

DB: It’s always great having Danny on board- we see it as an extension on our previous collabs though, I think this one is a little different with the use of breaks over the usual heavy hits sound. It’s always fun, and a challenge to keep us all happy.

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BFTR: Give us just three of your favourite songs on the album… Go!

DB: ‘The One’, ‘All About You’, ‘Waiting Right Here’.

BFTR: I’m also curious to know as to how you guys became Brookes Brothers, the artists/producers including; how you guys got into the genre; all the way to the musical influences behind your unique sound… Shoot!

DB: We were born and raised in London and DnB was always a thing. We went from nutty skateboarders at 16 to keen ravers in our late teens- hitting most of the DnB events like Movement; Ram; and Swerve, catching the night bus home at 4 in the morning. That’s when we discovered a bunch of artists that we connected with, and we could hear the beginnings of something fresh. Eventually, we persuaded our mum to lend us some money for an early Roland Fantom, and the music started from there. We always had a wide array of musical influences, and over the years we’ve tried to incorporate as much of that as we can into our work. We think individuality is paramount in music so we always focused on pursuing our own creative path.

BFTR: You’ve been dropping tunes since 2005, and have ascended with consistency to be ranked amongst the titans in the D&B music scene. What was life like before all of this?

DB: Very different! Anyone in the music industry will tell you what an unpredictable journey it can be. We’ve been lucky I think. We have some higher power looking out for us. Life before this, hmm! We were living with our parents in Lewisham tryna convince them we weren’t just wasting our time smoking weed upstairs in the studio. Phil was working for the News of the World cold-calling, selling ad-space for lingerie, I think. Thankfully, our parents had a feeling we were onto something and gave us encouragement and room to develop our abilities.

BFTR: As for the future, what’s to follow Orange Lane? What can we expect from this point if I may ask?

DB: We’ll go wherever the journey takes us… We want a steady output of material over the next 12 months so, we’re gonna make that happen. Some more basic dance floor stuff too, as a fun album break. There are some collabs we’ve got planned. We wanna continue to follow our own path and gain new listeners and fans whilst pursuing what we feel is the right direction for us. We’re on a really positive energy now and are experiencing more and more freedom as artists. We also have two remixes coming out: for Tieks feat. Chaka Khan; and Kamille feat. Avelino.

BFTR: Lastly, are there any parting words you guys would like to share with us maybe? It can be anything really.

DB: Big thanks to you guys for the support, and anyone reading this who has supported us over the years. Much love X




Words by: Tsheola Asavela