Thibaut Berland won’t admit it, but the aesthetics are all there. No one is going to hold it against you if you thought the Frenchman’s —who goes by the stage name, Breakbot— latest album, ‘By Your Side’ took cues from the King of Pop’s ‘Off The Wall’-era.
Arguably, most of the tracks channels 70s funk and disco while subversively nodding at shadows of Prince, Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake. Even singers like Ruckazoid, Pacific! and Irfane – who’ll be performing with the DJ-producer at The White Rabbit – gave their take of MJ on the album.
Though the track ‘Baby I’m Yours’ has proved to be a dancefloor-pool party-BBQ shindig-spontaneous house party favourite with over five million views on YouTube, I questioned Berland’s nostalgic musical approach, its appeal and relevance –possibly pissing him off in the process.
We’ve waited for three years since you joined Ed Banger for an album, and recently you debuted a disco-filled, summery 14-track album, ‘By Your Side’. What took you so long?
I just wanted to make sure I was proud of the tracks, and that I had done my best. I also did lots of remixes during this time.
The album has been generally well-received in the music press. BBC said that your album “was impeccably crafted,” Australian magazine, Groupie described the album as “approachable yet thought provoking and therefore worthy of artistic consideration”, and All Music calls it “charming”.
I try not to read the reviews; it can be pretty overwhelming in today's world based on information and comments. I sure wanted the record to be approachable, but then again I don't recall thinking it in those terms. Every artist has their favourite bands and artists, and I guess I'm just a product of all my influences, which are many.
Resident Advisor said that album is “very now but just not very new”. The album recalls elements of disco in the 70s rather than including more modern and current styles into what producers would call, nu-disco. What’s your take on this?
It's been a long time since I didn't hear anything “new”! The only thing I care about when I listen to a song is if it's good or not. I don't care if it's new or not!
Breakbot feat. Irfane ‘Baby I’m Yours’
There’s usually a standout track that embodies an album. But the AU review mentioned that ‘By Your Side’ is so full of favourites that it’s hard to pick just one. If I may, the track ‘Baby I’m Yours’ encapsulates what the album is.
I think it's a good choice!
That track was sung by Irfane and he seems to fit the 70s disco and funk mould snugly with his high falsetto voice.
I think that all the vocalists (including Ruckazoid and Pacific!) fit this beautiful description!
Do you think you’ve found your very own Michael Jackson in Ruckazoid?
Yes I do, but Rucka does lots of cool tracks by himself too!
Breakbot feat. Ruckazoid ‘Fantasy’
You mentioned in an interview that your biggest musical influence is Michael Jackson. Do you think you are trying to emulate his style? Because tracks like ‘Fantasy’ does call to attention Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ album.
I am not trying to emulate him, but I listened so much to his music that it has influenced me to the bones!
With all that has been said, the album truly is a bubbly, feel-good production. Is that synonymous to who you are as a person? I heard that you’re usually shy.
I don't think it is the person I am, it is probably more the person I try to be.
It’s going to be hard to be all shy at The White Rabbit as the DJ console is right on the dance floor. You’re going to get swamped! How you like that picture?
I love being close to the partygoers when I DJ, the worst is when the booth is too high or too far.
Zul Andra (@zulandra) has a finger on Singapore’s nightlife, music and entertainment pulse and has interviewed hundreds of local and international personalities from the likes of Carl Cox and Lamb of God to BBC TV presenter Simon Reeve. With columns in Esquire, Juice and The New Paper, he currently writes for inSing.com, HungryGoWhere.com, Time Out, Travel+Leisure and Scoot in-flight magazine. He has also produced editorial content for Musicity and RedBull.sg and maintains an award-nominated blog, Kiss My Culture. Previously a staff writer and web editor at I-S magazine, his work was published in TODAY, Nylon and ZIGGY.