Bombastic kick drums, splashing breakbeats, sugar rush rave samples and guttural wobbs – these are the ecstatic sounds of Samurai Breaks. As committed to footwork as to hardcore and bassline, his style can best be described with the name of his newly founded label Super Sonic Booty Bangers or, if you will, the title of his hooversound debut “Turbo Rave Artillery”.
In the year our long-awaited return to raving finally arrived, it’s no wonder that Samurai Breaks’ music was so well received by audiences that it earned it the Best of British Breakthrough Producer Trophy. But when we call the Leeds-based artist, he admits he almost thought it was an April Fool’s joke.
“I had the feeling that I was slacking off,” he says of his assessment of the year 2021. From the outside, it’s quite the opposite; In addition to the aforementioned release for SHERELLE and NAINA’s label and the inaugural EP of his SSBB imprint, he also released a five-track collaboration with Origin on Trax Haven and recently his first vinyl release with a two-tracker for Racked Records. But, he says, there should have been more – like the sequel to his wildly boisterous 2020 album “Acid Puma Racing Stripes” for Off Me Nut, along with several other EPs.
“I always gave music 110% because I thought I could do something with it and make a living out of it, but then lockdown came when I felt like I was about to break through,” he explains. “In my eyes 2020 would be the year I would break through and then all of this was a hit and I couldn’t give as much as I was because I burned myself out to make it. “
Without gigs and without vacation pay, Samurai Breaks – real name: Sam – had to find work elsewhere and could no longer concentrate on the music as before. Thankfully, with the lockdown ending this year, that focus has returned, as has its ability to test tunes on real rigs. “It was really a boost for me to be so busy when I got out of lockdown, and then that price was the icing on the cake,” he says. “I could not believe it.”
Sam talks about his hyper-fast, hybridized sound palette and explains how the years of playing multi-genre events have helped him understand what a dance floor is all about. “I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to get people to dance to things they wouldn’t normally dance to, like interesting bootlegs or other types of music,” he says. “For example, you can reference grime sounds in a jungle song or a footwork song in a way that tickles people’s ears. It’s about using clichés in many ways – that take you back to a place or stir an emotion in you, but then play with them in ways that people don’t expect. “
It’s about finding a balance between minimalism and maximalism, he continues – by combining a simple, catchy element like recognizable vocals with cluster-bomb drum edits or banging a 4/4 kickdown between crazy synth lines .
Having fun comes first, with high production quality at the same time. “I don’t really take myself seriously. What I do is very important to me, but I like to have a party, I like to be stupid, “he says, adding that he finds that quality in abundance in the Off Me Nut crew .
This is also one of the reasons why Sam couldn’t believe that he had won a Best of British Award. “My sound is so tongue-in-cheek and silly; it’s not as demanding as what some people do, ”he says. “I have the feeling that my music is more like a laugh. I just did my thing and it’s nice to see that being appreciated. I guess behind the lockdown, that’s what people want – people don’t want serious things, they want to laugh. “
Going forward, Super Sonic Booty Bangers will be Sam’s main focus; the second release comes from label partner D’TCH and there will soon be drops from ERAM, Lakeway and others. Sam is hoping to foster a family atmosphere among the label artists, and he and D’TCH have already started taking the show onto the streets. On the production front, he’s got another vinyl release in 2022 (this time with the occasional collaborator Arcane) along with the promised second Off Me Nut album. Although the pandemic put them on hold, it’s safe to say that Samurai Breaks really broke through, and now the sky’s the limit. BEN HINDLE