Friday, 7 October 2016

Old Skool Festival 2016 - DAMAGE INC. Exclusive Interview @ Strictly Nuskool Blog

Interview by GL0WKiD

A long time riddle in the Hardcore Breaks scene is about to be solved and become clear with the help of this interview. It's all about the DAMAGE INC. proper mashup talents and leading Hardcore Breaks act with a great number of gigs all around the globe!
During my stay in Poland, I had the chance to catch up with DJ 2nzy (Gareth) and Finchman (Peter) two essential members of DAMAGE INC. which is I'd described like "Hardcore wu tang clan" consisting of 5 members in total, born in early 90's and always hungry to keep the flag of Hardcore over everything!
A proud and down to earth act in our scene formed, raised and running my good friends who treat like a fam. And that seems to be the key of happiness inspiration and success.
The key of this music that we love in general! 

So, Finchman appears and is a new artist, but since I'm interviewing you as part of Damage Inc. can you explain, where does the name come from?

PETER: Aha, Damage Inc. is a group name, there are 5 of us involved, my name is Finchman, which my friend Tweedy gave to me!

So how did Damage Inc. start?

PETER: Me and Gareth met in 1990 at school and we liked similar artists like 808 State, KLF, Adamski, Nomad and other early Rave tunes, this is around the Deep Heat era.

I asked him to come round mine and we'll have a mix, Gareth turned up with a bag of records thinking we were going to DJ mix!
At the time I had learned how to sequence and write tracks on the Amiga and Atari ST, I showed Gareth what I meant and then we started putting his records to good use and sampling breaks and stabs from them to use in these tunes.

We experimented with pitching up Hip Hop breaks to get those old Hardcore beats. Because of the limitaions of the old Tracker sequencers we could only use 4 tracks at a time, we tried playing 2 breaks at once, dropping an instrument when another came in, dropping bass stabs in between notes. Anything we could do to get the maximum out of the 4 channels we had!

Other problems we had back then were bad sound quality of these basic systems, we had to complete a track and session in 1 attempt back then as it was very hard to save projects!

We tried Cubase but could not understand it at all back then, this is where Gareth met Patrol who ran Sonic Fortress and did produce on Cubase. He worked with Gareth and taught him Cubase who also taught it to me, once Patrol explained it, all the pieces fell together and it just made sense!

Finchman you have 2 tracks out currently on the superb 'Sounds Of Summer' compilation and your tune 'Desire For You' seems to be very popular. Can you tell us more about it?

PETER: Yes, I have 2 tracks out on that compilation and that track was made after being inspired on a previous trip to Lodz!

What is your role in Damage Inc. and will we be seeing more Finchman releases?

PETER: I am the main musician in the group and yes, I'm sure I will be releasing more solo material in the future.

You're also into Metal and play in Heavy Metal Rock Bands. How do you combine that with Rave music?

PETER: Well, The Prodigy do it?! I can do it!
Uh, I love the energy that Rock has and I find it very similar to Rave, they're both alternative music styles. I love Guns & Roses, Slayer, Metallica.

Damage Inc. is actually the name of a Metallica track! But I was into Rave before Metal, I did actually play the guitar on our remix of 'Weather Experience'!

Feel free to check out any of my 'Gross Affray' tracks.

What are your favourite Old Skool acts or tracks that got you into this?

PETER: 4 Hero, Shades Of Rhythm, 'The Exorcist', Kickin' Records material, 'Mr. Kirk's Nightmare', 'T99 - Quadrophonia' - 'Bizarrec Inc. - Plutonic' and many more!

Gareth, what are your favourite Old Skool tunes?

GARETH: Tough one... '20 Seconds To Comply' - 'Anasthasia' - 'Night In Motion' - 'Far Out' - 'In Effect' - 'Dead Dred' - 'Valley Of The Shadows'.

Each year/era has it's own monsters!

What are your views on the Old Skool and Hardcore Breaks scenes?

PETER: Personally I don't think the new stuff goes with the old, you can tell the difference, but it is the evolution of that old sound and style.

There are tracks charting by Chase & Status, The Prodigy, DJ Fresh etc. so it shows this music could blow up with just a bit of luck and pushing in the right direction.

PA's are back, theres so many fake DJ's that PA's have come back in popularity and the new tech makes it easier for them to play this music live.
Plus with social media it's much easier in 2016 to make contacts than it was in '92! The Old Skool scene is so much friendlier than any other scene I've come across, and in Poland,even friendlier!

GARETH: OK, Old Skool scene is full of love and nostalgic vibes, you don't get the vibe that Old Skool has with any other scene, a lot of the UK promoters have got stale tho and need to try harder or dig deeper to make their events exciting and not just the same 10 tracks with the same 3 DJs.

Hardcore Breaks is just the natural progression of Rave music, it's the continuation of the early 90's style, keeping the hardcore alive!

Your Favourite Damage Inc. tunes?

PETER: 'So Many Times'!

GARETH: 'Crowd Pleazer' (1st D.I.Y. tune. It had received massive support from the DnB scene and possibly our biggest selling).

'Better Off Free' (1st Hardcore Breaks tune, released same time as 'Alieneye' and a real game changer, sending us on the retro route!)

'Some Kind Of Rush' (Hardcore Breaks Anthem that blew up in Poland!)

'I Found You' (Upped the quality level and maybe the second biggest selling, requiring a repress!)

'The Slammer' (A favourite to finish a set with and supported by Krome & Time themselves)

I remember you were into progress of making an album including Prodigy remixes featuring also some of the best nuskool producers at the moment putting their own remixes.
Any update for that album?

GARETH: It is very near completion. I am just waiting on wavs from a few last producers, possibly a very special dubplate may appear on it.
It will be an exciting compilation I feel for the fans as it brings a lot of new versions of classic tunes we all love and introduces artists that maybe listeners are not aware of.

Tho I am looking forward to moving on to other exciting projects!

You're having a great amount of dubplates and seriously mental. How long does it take you to finish a tune?

GARETH: Pete and me work totally differently I think. We both can make great tracks but are much stronger together, combining our skills.
I would say normally it takes 50 hours but unfortunately with my workload currently taking a lot of my time and leaving me too tired to be effective in the studio,my mojo is a bit battered, but I have a lot of ideas and as soon as the workload lightens I'll be back with a vengeance!

I'm glad you like the dubplates. I'm very priviliged to have worked with lots of my heroes and have a serious dubplate collection I've built!

PETER: It depends really. Some mash ups and remixes we do are pretty straight forward in terms of the music so may only take a couple of sessions and other tracks where we go in and basically re-write the music take alot longer maybe 3-4 sessions.

Original tracks take the longest as we are starting from nothing, these can take maybe up to 10 sessions. Our sessions are usually 5-6 hours each, this doesn't include mixdowns and mastering. 
Thats Gareth's job lol.

What's your working equipment in production?

GARETH: Top of my head are Cubase, Nexus, Massive, Halion, Sound Forge, Fabfilter, Izotope, Korg M1, Roland Alpha Juno 2, Alesis mk 2's, 

PETER: We are using the latest version of Cubase and running vst's and plug-ins.
Massive and nexus vst's are staples in our music but we love to use more obscure vst's such as Cyclops, rave generator, Glitch...
We have quite a lot of hardware synths aswell which we are slowly bringing more into the music, Roland, Korg, Akai, E-mu,Virus.

We have this synth called an OB-12 by Oberheim. It was a flop when it was released in 2000 but the sounds on it are what guys are trying to recreate today!
Big fat dirty wobbly bass lines!!

I've started using Ableton live, integrating into a live set up where we can perform our music live along side Gareth dj'ing is something we are working on will give people the full on Damage Inc experience!

Who are your top producers/djs/acts in the scene that you rate these days?

GARETH: There's loads of guys out there but top of my head the best currently are:
Producers: Nefti, Abyss, Oliver Heldens, Metrik
DJ's: Faydz & Remixx

Acts: Shades Of Rhythm

PETER: For DJs, I would say I'm loving the Polish scene right now so Nefti, Oneplayz, Tornado but also Slipmatt, Fat Controller, Luna-C...
Producers and acts I love The Prodigy, N-Joi, Shades of Rhythm, Production House, Altern-8, Nefti, Luna-c.

You've been so long into the game since early 90's.
Just to focus more into Hardcore Breaks & Nu-Rave how do you see the scene at the moment?

GARETH: I see the scene (sadly) struggling at the moment, but in 2016 EVERY scene seems to be struggling, it's true, name the anthem of 2016?
Not just Breaks or Nu Skool, try and name the anthem of 2016 in any genre?

House, Garage, Drum & Bass, Rock, Pop... Every genre seems to have a hard time currently with no big tunes coming through and it's nearly October! Can only mean it can get better after such a dead year.

Most genres seem to come round and round, Breaks seems to suffer in that it was big just before the internet exploded. Genres that stood no chance like Dubstep became worldwide because of this 'new' tech, tracks were shared, blogged, posted in a way that had never been done before, and Breaks is back of the line unfortunately, but coming through as this new generation discover Breakbeat music.

PETER: I think the scene is pretty healthy at the minute, theres a lot of new 'original' music coming out and DJs aren't relying so much on just "new rave" versions of old classics.
Also a lot of the older acts are doing live P.A's now which is great.
I can't wait hearing new hardcore breaks from some of those guys!

Are there any labels you would like to sign with?

GARETH: Signing to Sonic Fortress years ago made a huge difference for me and im happy to stay put and operate independently.
But im always happy to work for any artist or labels after a remix or track for a compilation and of course if any major label want's to buy me a Lamborghini!

PETER: It would be great to get something out on Kniteforce records. Being a big fan of Suburban Base and Luna-C. It would be awesome to have something out on his label.

You best personal gig experience

GARETH: Even though Old Skool Festival 2016 was much bigger, my 1st gig in Lodz and another that is right up there is my first gig in Thailand, both of those gigs changed my life and were huge experiences.

PETER: Has to be the Damage Inc. PA at Brixton, in 2006 I think, warming up for Slipmatt!
Was amazing that it was a PA and not just a DJ set!

People asking me very often about Damage Inc. stuff when is coming out or any plans about your tracks. So, any forthcoming releases from Sonic Fortress and Damage Inc. ?

GARETH: Ahh, do they? Well, we have an EP we are completing of original work, that should be able to be released early next year. This compilation is wrapping up, so hopefully that will be available soon.
'Sound Of Eden' should be available very soon, just polishing it up.We've done a 'Walking Dead' tune which should be out next month - in time for season 7 also as we find and polish old tunes we made we will add them to the back cat available from our Bandcamp page.

If you want to keep up to date or contact us please visit our website or the Sonic Fortress page on Facebook.

PETER: I think we are sitting on a lot of material at the moment, some of it just won't ever be released and only for us to play at events etc. but hopefully we will start kicking some more tracks out soon.

We are very picky with production and mastering etc. so we don't release stuff very quickly.

Shouts out to anyone from you and Pete?

GARETH: Gotta give shouts to the other Damage Inc. boys that aren't here right now. Patrol, Egg and Bash.The fallen Sonic Fortress guys, II Real and F8, R.I.P... man, there are so many names that should be listed, it would be huge, better to give shouts to all the Artists, DJs, Producers, Promoters and of course the supporters out there! Big up!

PETER:  Shouts out to the Polish massive, Nefti, Oneplayz, Tornado, Radz, Greg and of course to you Glowkid!





1 comment: