This year at Together we are pleased to be bringing legendary New York DJ Breakbeat Lou to Boston as a part of Soulelujah‘s night on Saturday, May 16th. Lou’s partnership with the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series is the stuff of djing legend, and there’s no denying his massive influence on the style and progression of mixing in today’s music world. As part of a lengthy piece on Ultimate Breaks, medium.com spoke with Lou as well as his partner Breakbeat Lenny among many other key players in the early NYC beatmaking scene. Here’s some choice selections from Lou.
On meeting Lenny:
As far as meeting Lenny? There was a feedback committee meeting that we had at S.O.S. Record Pool. There was a comment about a particular record and I said, “Yeah, I know that record.” He said, “How do you know that record?” That’s where the connection with breakbeats came in between him and I. I started seeing early Cold Crush routines; they were using “Love Rap” as a breakbeat. “Feel The Heartbeat” is another one they used to use. It seemed to be the norm for people rapping over other people’s records when there were a whole plethora of breaks from the original inception.”
“I felt if you really wanted to know about the culture you should know where the foundation really comes from, and the foundation is these breaks!”
On his own records:
“In the beginning we didn’t care what kind of vinyl it was, because we didn’t know any better, but the UBB stuff we made sure was pressed-up on virgin vinyl. Volumes 1 through 9, we used to go through a commercial jingle studio in New York, and most early engineers do not like to push the envelope — so technical that they will keep stuff a certain way. When I started getting involved with the actual recording and doing the editing myself, I decided to push the envelope on the levels. Dance music started coming into play, and there was a mastering guy named Herb Powers in New York that was responsible for having the “omph” in music — it had a little more of a kick to it. Herb being a DJ himself, he decided to push the envelope, so that’s what I did. I didn’t mind going into the red when I was peaking into my recordings. If I had to run it through a board to beef it up a little bit I would do so. Plus, we made sure we didn’t go past the seventeen-minute limit per side so we had full sounding grooves.”
We really did our homework in getting the best sound that we can get; we just made sure it was a powerful sound.”