Regardless of what sends you to the toilet when it comes to a breakbeat, everyone loves a hefty slab of nasty-arse bass, especially breaks deity Rennie Pilgrem. Rennie is a name synonymous to the breakbeat scene; a character that has been there since day one and seen breaks evolve from its early hardcore and drum ‘n’ bass roots right through to its various modern day incarnations. Probably the most hyped of these incarnations is your friend and mine Nu Skool breaks, a term originally coined by Rennie and a few close mates.
“Myself, Adam Freeland and Tayo gave our night Friction that [Nu Skool] tag to describe the forward thinking sounds we were playing rather than the big beat stuff that was around at the time. 'Nu Skool' is less relevant as a term now 'cause big beat is no more (thank god) but hopefully producers will continue to push things forward without disappearing up their own arses,” explains Rennie.
Rennie started breaking beats in 1989 as a member of the hardcore breaks act Rhythm Section, who had massive underground hits with cuts like Check out the Bass in 1990, however it wasn’t until Rennie established his own TCR label that the beginning of the Nu Skool saga began to unfold. It all started in 1995 at A Place Called Acid, a tune that has become a standard in the breaks fraternity.
“I had my first ever DJ gig which was in Florida and I wanted to make a breaks tune that used a 303. [A Place Called Acid] was inspired by the music I heard in Orlando a few months before which was house, electro and acid all mixed with breaks and quite unlike anything going in the UK at that time (1995),” Rennie reminisces.
The sound that Rennie helped spawn with A Place, fusing funk, trance, acid, electro and mashed-up breaks, laid the groundwork for modern breakbeat. Be it dark nu skool trips or groovy 2-step numbers, somewhere on the breaks family tree they were linked to A Place and the sound of Rennie and his minions. But where is that breaks family tree going to extend to in the future, given many are hyping up breaks to be (or probably already are) the next big sound?
“I think [the breaks sound is] very diverse, going in many directions which is one of the reasons it's very healthy. You've got the 2-step influenced stuff, the housier stuff and the tribally stuff. Basically it's getting its influences from everywhere, which is very exciting. [I see breaks getting] more clubby, more groove oriented, more funky and more sexy. Less aimed at boys with toys.”
“The hype is gone POW and the scene is just getting bigger and better organically.”
Rennie’s corking new Tribalizm mix is out now through Thursday Club / Inertia.