Calling on the phone at 9am London time, I was a little embarrased to hear a croaky "hello" on the other side, followed by a "can you wait a minute?". Thinking I had woken him up I said, "Yeah, sure", only to find out later he was in the middle of his morning routine brushing his teeth. Not only do I find someone who's eager and willing to give an interview and talk breakbeat, but someone who's down to earth and down right friendly. Comments that were off topic (go the Wallabies!) and the occasional laugh are not included in this interview!
Whereabouts in the UK are you from and how long have you been DJ-ing for?
I'm from London and I've been DJ-ing for about 8 years
How would you describe the Tayo sound?
I try and play breaks with a bit of bounce to it. It changes quite a lot underneath the breakbeat banner. This year, I’ve had a few good proper electro records. Aquasky have made a few good records over the past year and I’m feeling that more than the techy stuff.
Upon hearing your releases, I can hear influences of reggae (Fire Good) and 80's funk (Ride The Funky). Who would you label as being major influences to your sound?
I started running Friction with Adam Freeland and he’s been a long time friend, and definitely FreQ Nasty due to his energy. I’m also influenced by the Plump DJ’s and even the swinging stuff like DJ Marky down in Argentina. They can still play it hard and keep it bouncey.
What made you turn your hand to production?
Even though I haven't done half as much as I should have done, it was a logical step really. I’m able to spend more time in the studio lately as I have someone else running the day-to-day operation of the label. Whether you write, make model trains or whether you make music, you need to have some creative output. If you’re DJ-ing all the time, you’d want to make records in your own image. Wicked Dub, done by me alongside the Acid Rockers, just got released on Skint – that’s me. I’ve also just remixed Plastic Dreams, an old rave track by Jaydee and we’ve manage to give it a little skank and a lot of dub sounds in the tradition of Mad Professor and King Tubby – springs and reverbs.
You've been labelled as one of the originators of the "nu-skool" breaks scene, which started around 1997, alongside like-minded luminaries such as Adam Freeland, FreQ Nasty and Rennie Pilgrem, yet at the time, big beat was the popular sound. What was it about "nu-skool" breaks which made you stray from the big beat sound at the time?
Friction was a good club for the sound which Rennie, Adam and I started. I was also involved in marketing for quite a few of the labels like TCR and Botchit & Scarper so I’ve seen it all happen.
I was more into breakbeat with a techy edge to it. I wasn’t a massive big beat fan, there were a few good records out there, but I wasn't into the “spill your beer and pogo up and down” which is what a lot of the big beat stuff sounded like. Fatboy Slim released great records on Skint, but other tunes felt a little too comedy. I guess what we were trying to do is make the breaks influenced by acid house, rave, drum’n’bass – a more UK sound. Recently it has gone full circle, as we are starting to see a rock influence in breaks.
Initial Research aka Pulse & Tango started off as drum'n'bass producers, Phil Keiran and Santos dabble in a crossover 4/4 house breaks sound, while the Stanton Warriors add a little commercial sensibility to breaks. What do you think it is about the breakbeat sound that gets artists to crossover?
All we’re really talking about is a break a certain kind of beat – it hasn’t got a straight 4-4 beat - and with that in mind, you can do whatever you like. If you speak to Phil Keiran it’s all about moving a few beats around – he isn’t one to get bogged down by all the different labels and sub-genres. A good example is the amount of bootlegs that have been emerging this year – take a tune and stick a break under it. The Stanton bootlegs have been of great quality and others, which will remain nameless, have just been shite.
Being labelled The Head Of The Breaks mob, can you run through a typical day that a record label mogul goes through?
You’d be bored to tears by the time I got to lunchtime – it’s not that exciting! You've actually caught me on an interesting day, today I've got my breakbeat show on the radio to do, I've got a couple more interviews lined up and of course I've got a whole load of records to go through.
Mob Records is known for representing all sounds of breakbeat - nu-skool, tribal, 2-step and breakstep. What qualities must a track possess in order to qualify as a Mob record?
To be honest, I just have to like it really. I’m into different stuff whereas other labels have been a little more genre-specific. The label reflects the person running it really. Marine Parade is definitely in Adam’s image – the sound you’ll hear when you see him play out. Rennie and TCR have been doing it for longer than us and you can see the phases – like when he did his Tribalizm thing. I’m feeling a lot of the Initial Research, a lot of the Aquasky “drum’n’bass guys doing breaks” thing. You know that raw, tear out sound! The hardest thing about running a label is hearing a track and you live with it for ages and ages and you try to keep your enthusiasm about it. Believe me, I‘ve heard it a lot more times than you have by the time it comes out.
As someone who has been there from the start, where do you think the breakbeat sound will be heading in the future?
Oooohhh... I don’t know, there are so many people making different stuff right now, even though I get it all and I represent it on the radio. I got asked this question last year and even more so at the end of each year. I wouldn’t have predicted the bootleg proliferation that came out this year. I think producers will go out making tear out dancefloor records. With downloading, sales have taken a bit of a hit this year so DJ’s are going to get records that are gonna make people move.
In the space of two months, you quickly came out with two mix CD's - Y4K and Mob Deep. Do you find that you enjoy DJing more than producing tunes?
I find it’s easier as I see myself as fledgling when it comes to making tracks. Acid Rockers and I have struck up a partnership this year. For me it’s all very new right now. I’m certainly a better than DJ than a producer – I’m a DJ who’s beginning to make records. I get a hell of a buzz when I’ve played a said that’s gone really well, and everyone’s “bigging you up” so to speak. Recently I saw Adam Freeland play at Fabric having people going nuts to Wicked Dub – so that was awesome. Then I got into my car and heard Annie Nightingale was playing my mix of Plastic Dreams – again that felt pretty fucking amazing!
In regards to the Mob Deep mix, you neatly mixed 16 tunes from the Mob catalogue, including remixes which are exclusive to the CD. Will there be future volumes in the pipeline? Who would you want to mix the next instalment?
Yes, definitely planning on coming out with another volume and I might get Klaus "Heavyweight" Hill to mix the next one. It might not be out for a while though as we used a fair bit of the current catalogue on the first one. I'll need to get a few more tunes signed to the label before we make any plans to do another mix – I’m planning to do another remix of Fire Good.
Any news on future releases planned for Mob, without giving too much away
Klaus "Heavyweight" Hill - Northern Lights – shit hot
Rennie Pilgrem - Some Place Funky (Plump DJ's mix)
Santos – Sabot new Evil 9 remix on it and a Santos mix on it
Care In The Community
You've done several shows in Australia including gigs at Vibes On A Summers Day and packing out the Cave bar at Good Vibrations, what is it about Australia that keeps you coming back?
I just enjoy the fact it feels challenging. The crowd keeps you on your toes, as they know their shit and the other DJ’s are good. I do go back every year and make sure it’s different not just for me but the people that check it out as well…
… plus you’ve got the people standing around the decks trying to see what records you’ve got playing…
Yeah, you’ve got all those guys there. If they weren’t there – if I come out one year and they’re not bothered - then it’s time that I know that I’m resting on my laurels a bit. The sushi there is really nice!
What are your current top 5 tunes?
Jaydee - Plastic Dreams (Tayo & Acid Rockers remix)
Vampire Dub – Tayo & Acid Rockers
Rennie Pilgrem – Some Place Funky (Plump DJ’s remix)
Friendly – 2black2gay
Klaus “Heavy Weight” Hill – Northern Lights
Finally, any last words of wisdom to give Australian audiences before you come out?
I hope I break my Adelaide jinx – it’s the one place in Oz which has been kinda patchy – I haven’t had a rocking gig. I hope they’re feeling the breaks a little more this year and if anyone knows where to watch the football in Hobart that would be great. I’m just looking forward to coming back really. We get such a buzz from the crowds there – that’s why you’re going to get invaded again!
Those who are in Sydney for New Years Eve can catch Tayo spinning his dub, electro breaks set at mobilehome at Wharf 3.
HIs other dates are:
Fri 26.12.03 - Byron Bay - C-Moog
Wed 31.12.03 - Sydney - Mobile HOME
Thur 1.1.04 - Melbourne - Esplanade Hotel
Sat 24.1.04 - Perth - good vibrations
Sun 25.1.04 - Adelaide - Traffic
Mon 26.1.04 - Brisbane - good vibrations
Fri 30.1.04 - Canberra - Babylon
Fri 6.2.04 - Auckland - 5am
Sat 7.2.04 - Wellington - Sandwiches