- Rob Day
Label Spotlight: Gimme A Break
One undoubtable silver lining that we can all take from this year's lockdown is the abundant surge of new creative projects. Leeds has been bristling with ideas since the pandemic snatched away our right to go out, and the momentum doesn't seem to be slowing down. Effortlessly demonstrating this is newly established Leeds label Gimme A Break. Created in the midst of the UK's breakbeat and UKG revival, Gimme A Break has been a brilliant emerging platform to follow in recent weeks. After a series of guest mixes and 'Edit Room' track releases, they have decided to think bigger, arriving at the idea of 'We Are Viable'; a 16-track compilation album of UKG. breakbeat, techno and jungle edits from up and coming producers from Leeds and beyond. With the album's release approaching, we wanted to have a chat with Gimme A Break to find out more about the birth of the label, their upcoming VA, and what they have in store for the future.
We Are Viable will be available to purchase this Friday on Bandcamp. Preorder HERE.
For people who haven’t heard of you, how would you explain what Gimme A Break is all about?
Gimme A Break Records is a recently launched label representing up-and-coming DJs and producers from Leeds. Musically, the label is grounded in the UKG and Breakbeat revival currently occurring in the UK’s scene. However, we have an equal passion for all types of fast music including jungle, acid, electro, donk and booty house. From shaking the parties of LS6 with our soundsystem (insta:b1tchsoundsystem) we discovered the shocking pretentiousness of the tech house community and felt a duty to destabilise this segment of society.
How did you come to create the label in the first place?
As two DJs with initially contrasting tastes (Louis: massive donk head and Luke: choppy dnb head) UKG and Breaks offered a meeting ground in which GAB was born. Finishing our time at uni under COVID restrictions we felt a strong pull towards a creative project and therefore over the summer began to discuss the foundations of the label. James Ward, founder of Pretend Online, provided an entry point into the UK scene by inviting us onto his Threads Radio show for a guest mix. Like a lot of independent labels we wanted to represent our musically-talented mates, as well as creating a platform for our own music and mixes.
What has the reaction from the Leeds community been like so far?
Overall, we have been majorly gassed by the reaction from our fellow Leeds heads and somewhat surprised by the willingness of local artists to engage with a babi label like dis one. Having developed popular mix and edits series we decided to cement our position within the Leeds scene through our forthcoming “WE ARE VIABLE” compilation. Collaborating with MAP Charity has not only allowed us to connect with a range of producers due to the enthusiasm surrounding Cosmic Slop, but also has gifted us an opportunity to support alternative music education in Leeds.
Would you say that the label so far has been a reflection of your own personal tastes, or has it gone beyond that and exposed you to new things?
Fundamentally, our personal mixes and track of the day features have worked off the back of the current UKG/Breaks revival. However, playlist selections from our good friend Sam Jackson, as well as a diverse range of guest mixes have exposed us to a broader range of music and some rare old school cuts.
With playlists, edit room uploads, and guest mixes, it’s clear you are providing a great platform for Leeds based creatives. Why do you think this is such an important thing to do at the moment?
COVID has had an enormous impact on Leeds’ nightlife and electronic music scene. For this reason, GAB hopes to offer an outlet for creatives, constricted by both club and studio restrictions. In a similar manner we have tried to offer creative opportunities to the many visual artists GAB has represented in our first few months. More broadly, however by tying together producers, DJs, visual artists and graphic designers we hope to construct a multidisciplinary community of friends with creative ambitions.
Could you tell us about your upcoming compilation album?
“WE ARE VIABLE” will be released on Friday 13th November! Over the last few months we have been extremely lucky to work with 15 producers from Leeds and further afield to curate an album of UKG, breakbeat, techno and jungle edits. This developed quite naturally from our Edit Room series and was inspired by the hugely successful 199 album “IN ARMS.” All of the proceeds from this compilation will be donated to MAP charity who provide alternative music education to young people who cannot access mainstream schooling. In these trying times, we must support charities such as MAP which are integral to the North’s creativity and vibrant music scene.
This compilation has also given us a great opportunity to work more closely with visual artists, Alex Kubis and Ben Mercer, who have produced the sleek album artwork and accompanying tote bag design for this project.
What other plans do you have for Gimme A Break in the coming months?
We are currently working with a number of Leeds-based creatives to produce EPs of original work. However, slightly further down the line GAB would love to take the leap onto physical distribution. Nevertheless, our mix and edit series will return in full force following the compilation’s release. Finally, we hope to get back on the dance floor when clubs reopen and engage more broadly with the UK’s scene whilst maintaining our focus in LS6 and providing a stage for the talent we have discovered.