Standing out in a scene as busy as Leeds’ underground music sphere can be a tricky task, but for Broken Mechanics, that’s half the fun. Determined to represent the very cutting edge of UK bass music rather than pander to the crowds with more familiar bookings, they have already been responsible for bringing Timedance boss Batu to the Wire underbelly, with a follow up residents party in June also helping assert Broken Mechanics as one of the most creative new promoters around.
Back at Wire on Tuesday 15th November for another midweek shindig, the Broken Mechanics crew will welcome headliner Minor Science and On Rotation’s Alex Theodossiadis as guests, with their favourite combination of broken techno and bass heavy dancefloor experiments sure to sound vast on the club’s booming Funktion One sound system. With excitement building ahead of the third instalment of the Broken Mechanics series, we spoke to Ed Key and Thom Meakin about their plans for the night, offering you the chance to get to know a little bit about the ethos that fuels one of Leeds’ best techno parties.
Broken Mechanics popped up last March with a memorable debut show but you guys have been fairly quiet since. What have you been doing these past few months?
We had a fairly low-key residents party in June, but aside from that we’ve just been planning what we wanted to do with our future parties. The end of last year got quite stressful with uni work so that held us back a bit. We also had a long break over summer so we’re really excited to be back in Wire for the next one!
Your first event featured Bristolian Batu as headliner, with the Timedance label boss representing the now ultra-fashionable broken, bassy techno that has become prominent in London and Bristol. How happy were you with how that event went?
We were really happy about it. Seeing as it was our first night we learnt a lot about running a night which we’ve now been able to apply to the party on the 15th. For example, for the Batu night we put him on at the end from 2am-close, however, with the event being on a weeknight a lot of the crowd weren’t really up for having a late one so it actually emptied out a little bit when he came on. This time we’re putting Minor Science on from 12.30am until 2am so we’re hoping the energy inside Wire will be at its peak for when he plays.
You return to Wire on Tuesday 15th November for your second show, so is it safe to say you feel at home in the Call Lane basement?
We definitely think that Wire is the perfect location for the kind of music we’ll be playing. The Funktion 1 is really well set up which lends nicely to the low end frequencies. We are beginning to look into putting on some events in other spaces as well, but Wire definitely feels like a perfect setting for the kind of music we play. There are obvious reasons why it can be hard putting on a night in the middle of the week, so we’re looking to find somewhere to put on a weekend show soon.
This time around you’ve brought in Minor Science from Berlin, a producer and DJ who deals in distinctively assured electronic experimentations. What did you make of his releases on Whities and Trilogy Tapes?
His soundscapes and the attention to detail in his productions are amazing. There is a focus on getting the low ends to deliver such a punch and that coupled with his immense ability to build up tension just makes for some amazing sound system music that, to our minds, is very unique. His newest release on Whities really shocked us when we heard it, especially “Naturally Spineless” - the tension in that track is incredible and when it comes to the breakdown… so good. We’re yet to hear it on a sound system so here’s hoping he’ll play it!
Minor Science keeps a fairly low profile online, which has the benefit of sustaining a level of intrigue but can also make promoting an event a little trickier… how did you come to decide that he was your man for this one?
Definitely. It makes it more difficult. He’s also only put out three solo releases at the moment but he’s just been going from strength to strength. Every track he has put out has been faultless. We’ve also been rinsing a few of his mixes and we’re really impressed with them. Although he is still a relatively new name in the scene, we think it’s important to showcase the artists that we believe are doing really interesting and forward thinking stuff - we try not to think about it from the perspective of who is going to draw the biggest crowd. It’s a fairly headsy booking which poses a bit of a threat from a promotional point of view, especially during the middle of the week. But we don’t want to sacrifice our idea behind the night for a bigger crowd. We want our night to be a place to showcase what we think is some of the most inventive dance floor music around.
What are you looking for from him when he sets up behind the decks next week?
Lots of tripped out techno and electro coupled with a lot of the UK stuff we are always pushing. We’re really looking forward to what he has to play. We’re hoping he’s going to be playing a lot of his own material. We’ve still only listened to his stuff in a bedroom environment and even then it blew our heads off so we can’t wait to see what it sounds like on a system.
As usual, residents Ed Key & Croma will be lending support on the night; how important are the Broken Mechanics residents in establishing the identity of the night?
Yeah, we run the night together and we have a good idea of what we want the theme to be about sonically. Having said that, we usually bring in Roux and Hopnep to play with us, who are warming up for Minor Science this time and they’re very important to us for maintaining a continuous theme for the nights. We all discuss ideas for tracks we think would suit the vibe well. But we’re also trying carefully to not let genres bind us too tightly to an identity. We want to play stuff covering a range of tempos and themes - whilst still keeping a focus on pushing percussive and exciting techno.
Also in support this time around, you have first time Broken Mechanics guest Alex Theodossiadis, who has been doing some great things in Leeds as part of the superb night On Rotation. What made him the right choice for this one?
Alex is one of our mates and we want to showcase some of the great DJs Leeds has to offer. He’s been a helping hand for us during the Broken Mechanics process and has offered a lot of advice from his experiences. We thought it was fitting to show our appreciation, and also he’s a bloody good DJ!
Leeds is a city with a rich house music heritage and seems only to be getting better, with big names in town most weekends but smaller promoters also getting plenty of hype thanks to astute bookings or community-oriented parties. Would you say that Leeds is more conducive than other UK cities to creative projects like yours?
Leeds is a great place to be promoting nights at the moment. There is a strong sense of community and other promoters are always looking to help each other out. We’ve definitely benefited from the knowledge and support of friends involved in the scene. I think a lot of people come to Leeds aware of the music scene here and it helps to be putting on headsy bookings in an environment where there are a lot of people who are passionate about music. It can still be a struggle as a new night trying to establish yourself, especially considering there is so much on offer. But we feel like we have something a bit different to offer with the focus of our night, so hopefully we will just keep building as time goes on.
We like to finish on a track, so how about you throw us a bone by naming the track that best captures that Broken Mechanic vibe?
Tough question! There’s a lot to choose from so we will pick something that has come out recently. The new Asusu on Livity Sound is one that we’ve been playing a lot. "Hallucinator" on the A side is a mind melting tune with some crazy synth work and then "Sendak" on the B side is just a dance floor destroyer. We heard it at the Joy Orbison and Bruce night at Wire back in September and it went off!
Tickets for Broken Mechanics with Minor Science are still on sale, with just a week to go before they take to Wire for a night of innovative techno and brutal percussive workouts. Don’t miss this chance to improve your Tuesday night immeasurably.
Words by Andrew Kemp
Photo courtesy of Broken Mechanics