Pounding out UK hardcore and new style Gabber for close on two decades, the UKâ€™s DJ Brisk knows how to work a dancefloor into a sweaty froth. Heâ€™ll be doing just that when he lands at the Planet later this month.
You've been in the game for a long time; how do you maintain your enthusiasm for the industry and getting the dancefloor jacked?
Yes, itâ€™s been a while now. Studio work can sometimes be an arduous task for me as Iâ€™m not the most patient of people, however, it definitely pays dividends when you get to roadtest your material in front of an audience. Itâ€™s very satisfying watching a dancefloor go mental to one of your productions and itâ€™s that feeling that keeps me hooked on what I do. Music is the drug!
Back in the day rave music was the only kind of dance music; were those years a lot more pure in terms of the music and culture that surrounded the scene? Or is dance music today equally rewarding for you?
The main change over the years has been that of musical segregation. In the late 1980s and early 90s, many different styles of music were played on the same dancefloor with DJs such as Carl Cox, Grooverider and Top Buzz all playing early â€˜raveâ€™ music, before they were individually organised into genres such as drum n bass, techno and hardcore. Itâ€™s good that each individual style and sound has its own identity in its own right, but itâ€™s also perhaps a little linear and restrictive in terms of what, when and which types of music get played on todayâ€™s floors. It would nice to see more variety and get back to the original rave ethos applied to the modern events (although I do understand that only certain styles will work with others of course).
Technology has obviously played a major role in the art of the DJ - you've seen the evolution of the craft. Aside from track selection, are any elements of what made a great DJ back in the 80s/ 90s still relevant to the current breed of DJs who are learning to play off programs such as Serato?
Technology has evolved from both a production aspect and a performance aspect however, regardless of the format you use to deliver the music a good DJ has to have his own style, selection, technique, flair and charisma. These are invaluable in the field of the DJ and these cannot be purchased, only experience can provide these tools.
When it comes to your sets today, do you still find yourself learning new tricks / ways to approach a mix?
With the advent of the onboard effects units in certain club mixers Iâ€™ve definitely incorporated some tricks into the set. However, my style is one of continual mixing (tracks permitting) so thereâ€™s limited space to add too much of this as Iâ€™m constantly focusing on the next track in the set. I think there is a fine line between being effective with tricks and perhaps suffering from overkill; sometimes less is more. That said, Iâ€™m currently playing with Ableton amongst various other products to see how I can further enhance my performances. There are definitely a lot of cool and innovative products in the market right now.
Aside from your DJ work, you've been as influential in the scene as a label co-owner. Is it as rewarding to be pushing other people's music on punters as it is to play to thousands of folks?
Definitely. I enjoy listening to new ideas and ways of working and itâ€™s always exciting to hear quality music from new producers. As a label we are always looking to find and support new talent and itâ€™s even better to be an integral part of their development as an artist.
Australia as a hardstyle community - where do we rank worldwide in terms of appreciation and development of the scene?
Iâ€™ve always thoroughly enjoyed coming to Australia and part of the reason is the enthusiasm and knowledge of the crowd. You guys may be pretty remote down under, but you all know your stuff! There have been many more Australians making an impact musically in the harder dance scenes in recent years too. Iâ€™m regularly playing tracks from various producers across the country and itâ€™s definitely buzzing there right now.
Catch DJ Brisk alongside Toneshifters, DJ Weaver, Suae and a local line-up at 3Styles Reloaded, at Planet, Friday November 27.