Breakcore with a melodic twist.
If you thought breakcore had withered and died, then you'd be mistaken. The catch-all sub-genre, which has been deemed more of a strategy than a sound, may not be as abundant as it used to be, but it is still quietly bubbling. Rising out of the squat scene of the 1990s in pockets of Europe, Australia, Canada and the US, this maniacal mashup of dance styles (jungle, ragga, breakbeat, hardcore, gabber and so on) has since mutated, spread and retreated back underground. There are a few bastions plugging away—PRSPCT in Holland, Bangface in the UK—but it's mostly a cloistered scene. Nevertheless, the Toulouse-based Ruby My Dear is an artist who's been getting props beyond the breakcore sphere.
Naming himself after a 1947 ballad by Thelonious Monk, jazz, opera, funk, rock and French and Asian folk sit among the gamut of dance styles he's experimented with over the last six years, releasing on labels like Peace Off, Acroplane Recordings and Ad Noiseam. But it's his grasp for melodies that's made Ruby My Dear stand apart. His 2012 breakout album, Remains Of Shapes To Come, used the ingenuity and punk ethics of breakcore but left all the silliness behind. It was a mature and serious listen, with enough sass to be both highbrow and fun. It's a balance he also achieved on Form, its follow up. Ruby My Dear has a tendency to pack plenty into his compositions—and his RA podcast is no different. If this is your first encounter with breakcore, don't panic, you are in safe hands, but be prepared for a white-knuckle ride.
What have you been up to recently?
I released my last EP in December on Kaometry Records. I am glad with the result and want to come back to some more breakcore stuff. These days I'm working hard to mount new hardware in my studio—an equaliser, Pultec style. Happy with it. I think I will start to build new stuff soon. I'm also focused on my third album and very impatient to release it. I just came back from a gig in Antwerp, Belgium. It was my first time there but always good to play in Belgium. It's one of the greatest place for breakcore (and beer).
How and where was the mix recorded?
It was recorded in January at my studio in Toulouse with Ableton live.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
For this one, I start with some IDM-acid tracks and finish with breakcore. The idea was to include what I like about this kind of music: melody and punch. I found this nice release from John Frusciante's Renoise Tracks 2009-2011, I really love it. Nice mix between IDM and drill. I am not a DJ, so composing takes me a lot of time. So this mix demanded me to search for new sounds and I found some really interesting new stuff from friends.
What's breakcore like in Toulouse these days?
There is no breakcore scene in Toulouse. There was one maybe 10 - 15 years ago. I feel like a part of a new generation of French breakcore artist. Labels like Peace Off and Bedroom Research are focused on breakcore and electronica in France. But now the place for this kind of music is in north of Europe, like the UK, Belgium.
Ruby My Dear isn't your only alias, can you tell us about some of the other projects you're involved in?
These days I work on two projects. One is called Borderouge, a trio of bass, drums and laptop. The drummer and bassist also play together as SEC—listen to it. They are a part of the DIY rock scene in France. We are about to record our first EP and play our first gig in Toulouse. Hope to release that in a few months. The other is Digital Velvet, a live act with a singer, drums and laptop. We have a new album which will be out on Blood Music in Spring. We will play our first gig outside of France in July, at Freqs Of Nature Festival.
It's pleasant to play with a band, more energy. They are two very different projects. Borderouge is more rock digital punk stuff and about noise and energy. Digital Velvet is an IDM trip-hop side and a work about voice and ambiance. It's interesting to work with different people who take me out of what I usually do, who push me to work in a different way.
What are you up to next?
Focusing on all my projects. Bangface Weekender in April. And a new RMD album. This next one will be a melodic breakcore metal album. I started by remixing an old French track, "La Galere" (my friends from SEC used it first). Because of the melody, sound and ambiance, I feel like it's more visual than my previous albums. I try to use real instruments and ask friends to participate; Laure Leprunenec will be on it. On all of the tracks I work out the melody first with a MIDI piano. The majority of them can be solo piano tracks. I hope to finish it for the next months.