Interview: Sean O’Keeff (2 Bad Mice) and JD Twitch (Optimo)
Breakbeat pioneer O'Keeff discusses 2BM's recent resurgence, including slots at Berghain, Fabric - and Optimo
'Absolutely unique,’ was the response of Optimo’s JD Twitch when he first heard post-hardcore breakbeat originators 2 Bad Mice in 1991. ‘They were pushing production, sampling and the use of breakbeats way out there, and they still fit in just fine with what's going on today. 'Waremouse' in particular sounds like it could have come out last week. I think they’ll go down a storm at Optimo, or at the very least myself and Jonnie (Wilkes) will be well into it. We didn't book them as a rave nostalgia act, we booked them because they made timelessly great, mad records.’
Yet 2 Bad Mice’s Sean O’Keeffe doesn’t look back on the trio’s early days and see any intent to tear down genres and start anew. ‘We were just going with the flow as more and more people started using breakbeats and tempos started increasing,’ he says now, ‘although because of Simon's (Colebrooke) hip hop roots we had a massive stash of breaks we could use.’ When the pair first met as BMXers in the late 80s ‘we viewed each other with suspicion – he was a hip hop kid with a bad attitude and I was a raver with bad hair,’ he explains. However, they soon bonded over the record box at O’Keeffe’s Hertford club night in 1989. The trio would be completed by their producer and label boss at Moving Shadow, Rob Playford.
‘We've no idea why we've had some much attention lately,’ says O’Keeffe of their return to fashion, ‘but we've all been really surprised by the resurgence and blown away by the kind of places we're being asked to play, places like Glastonbury, Berghain, Fabric and so on.’ What can we expect from this first ever Scottish set? ‘All the classics, with a few twists and maybe even some unreleased material from back in the day. And heavy drinking.’ Just like old times.
Optimo (Espacio) at Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 4 Apr. Four Tet also plays Optimo this month at Sub Club, Glasgow, Sun 30 Mar.