Beyond the Breaks Ep 470 An Elite Force Tribute

I as many of you have been a huge fan of Elite Force for many years. Simon played and produced some of the best music I have ever heard and his sets were nothing short inspiring. He has chosen recently to move on from the EF moniker we all know and love to adventure in to different realms of music. These realms are well known to a lot of us and Breaks all be it my stomping ground for many years was not where I grew up.

I started playing House and have had and always will have a place in my sets my heart and my head for House Music. Many of you will know I sometime branch off mid set to some tangential 4/4 interlude where everything becomes house driven sometimes even Techno (a genre I spent many years in the early 90s enjoying).

So it is not without a matter of understanding that I recognise the pull of that sound, the lure back to familiar but scary sounds. House music will never die they say and I have to agree; but for now its all about the Music of Elite Force.

Below are some of Simon’s thoughts on his “departure” from Breaks…in my opinion he will always live on, no matter where he goes. Have a read and then join me to celebrate Elite Force for two glorious hours this coming Monday 16th March on http://www.nsbradio.co.uk from 11-1GMT.

See you there.

Farewells – A Bittersweet Symphony

March 11, 2015

It’s 2.45am and I am pacing the backstage area at Sound Control in Manchester ahead of my last Elite Force show for the foreseeable future.

I’m nervous, and I never ‘get’ nervous. Not really. Not at all.

I’ve not enjoyed being here at all tonight, and whilst some of that has to do with the music I’m hearing across the venue, it’s more from a sense of freefall, of termination, of loss. For many years now this has been a large chunk of my world, and now I have made my decision to pursue fresh pastures in the worlds of Film, TV and Techno / House Music, it’s left me feeling bereft of that sense of ‘belonging’. In the past, Breakspoll would be a chance to catch up with my peers, to chew the fat and engage in the mutual back-slapping that such an event entails.

This year, though, feels very different. There are only 3 Award winners who are present to collect their awards with many of the big hitters (understandably in many ways) opting for a payday in Spain. It seems that the higher end of the breaks scene remain ambivalent at best about standing squarely behind the music, and I’d be surprised to see Breakspoll back in 2016 (unless of course the mainstream media give it their ‘blessing’, in which case we’ll see another massive branding revision!).

Many people within the breaks scene might argue that it’s a scene that I’ve never really ‘belonged’ to, because I’ve always had an open heart and open mind when it comes to music, and whilst I have occasionally played breaks-only sets (where the minds have been militantly closed to anything else), my sets have been eclectic since I first picked up a set of headphones in 1989. My first release on vinyl back in 1992 was a techno 12″, and by the time I was running Fused & Bruised around 1997 my output was a mish-mash of Drum & Bass, Downtempo, Techno and Breakbeat, but all with the beating heart of House Music somewhere at it’s core. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished musically over the years and am obviously excited about the future … but ….

I’m nervous, and I never ‘get’ nervous.

Tonight I am, and I am nervous for what this signifies. This signifies change. This removes the safety and sanctity of what I’ve known for years. It may not end up being a Full Stop, but it sure feels like one tonight.

An hour later and it’s finished. The set builds with a relentless intensity and it’s a buzz to hear some of my own catalogue highlights (like ‘Engine’ ‘Feed Your Head’ and ‘Harness The Nonsense’) that I haven’t played in years, aired at the close of play. My final track is my own Revamp of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, and it couldn’t be more apt … not only because it is an anthem of the North, but because of this.

“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You’re a slave to money then you die
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah,

No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I’m here in my mould
I am here in my mould
But I’m a million different people
from one day to the next
I can’t change my mould
No, no, no, no, no”

“DJaying is a human communication – you are taking music and telling a story that should add up to a lot more than the sum of it’s parts … anything less than that and it’s not DJaying: it’s selecting…”

— Simon Shackleton in an interview for Tribal Mixes
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