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Criterion Thornton et Heather Leitner (alias Doily) sont les fondateurs du label Broklyn Beats. Alors que Crito nous mitraille de broken beats clairs et déchirés, Doily serait plutôt la version dub et féminine du breakcore new-yorkais. En live, leurs énergies se mêlent brutalement pour former une sorte de montagne russe du son absolument troublante. A l'occasion de leur tournée en Europe avec 1-speed bike (le batteur de GodSpeed You! Black Emperor) et de leur récent passage à Barcelone, Criterion a accepté de répondre à quelques questions.

Could you tell us about the first steps of Broklyn Beats ? How did it start off ? What are its origins ?
I bought a sampler in 1995 and then went to Europe to travel and play sax on the street and ended up living in Can Paqual, a squat in the mountains between Molins de Rei and Les Planes... went to Sonar, lived the life and moved home to relocate to New York. Doily was an old friend and we became lovers, moved in together and started the label. We wanted electronic music to be more approachable without the glitz of jungle, house, techno, etc. - all the designer drugs and fashion sense and luxury lifestyle. That's about it.... we also wanted our music to reflect this and I think it does.

While working on your tracks; Do you try to respect a sort of Broklyn beats flavour ? Or are you just guided by your guts and instinct ?
Yeah, it's a lot of guts. It's safe to say we both use breaks and beats as a pallette upon which to improvise, live and in the studio. We aren't so concerned with programming and it probably shows. I would like to see us breaking new codes, but am happy just to be building something that is all my own and that can be shared.

Could you tell us about the political content of Broklyn Beats ? Has the political aspect been always part of Broklyn Beats?

I think we've had a bit of a political bent to some releases, but I don't like the word and what it means to people. We are, or have been, activists and for awhile I think we felt a need to inject the music with our anger, but now I think we realise the need to back off a bit and not scare away new listeners.

Some musical references and influences ? Do you only listen to breakcoremusic ?

We love breakcore, but are overwhelmed by all the music we distribute online and at gigs. I think whatever breakcore is, it's a bit cheesey the way punk was - goth influences, a lot of young male aggression and the ragga edges are constantly being expoited by white suburbanites for the sake of some ghetto sound. I find a lot of this music to be homogenized right now, but about the same as any genre, really - it's all 90% crap and 10 % inspirational genius. We listen to a lot of different music, but personally I love hearing new underground sounds that have never been made before. A lot of breakcore fits this: Electric Kettle or Elektromeka, for example.

How is it received in the States? Abroad ? What do you expect from your European tour ?
Yes, estamos locos... but what else are we gonna do?! We lose a lot on the label, but sales have gotten better, especially in the US. Obviously Europe is a bigger, friendlier scene than the US for this type of music. Nonetheless, people have their expectations and prejudices and we don't easily conform - we don't just do hardcore or jungle or hip hop, ya know? The tour is something we have to do to promote our artists and this time it's to highlight our old friend 1-Speed Bike. We expect the shows to be a good overview of our label. The three of us already toured Canada and Midwest US last fall, so there's a chemistry among all of us... otherwise, I expect good wine and beer, cheap cheese and baguettes and some new records!

You spent some years in Barcelona playing in different raves and free parties (I have to say that you're still in the memory of some hardcore ravers…). How was it? What is your best souvenir from Barcelona? What is the worst one?
When I was in Barcelona, all of my squatter friends were more into acoustic music - Mano Negra, Radio Tarifa, Flamenco... even Extremadura... Sonar was just going, but already quite expensive. A lot of my party times in barcelona were at squats like La Vakaria in Hospitolet or Casa Blanca in Molins - lowkey parties with a lot of punk bands and maybe someone would throw on a Chemical Brothers tape or something. At the time I wasn't into the "Bacalao" - type techno and its facist tendencies... also didn't like the elitism of Sonar, although I think it has had a positive effect on Barcelona culture... My favorite times in Barcelona were just walking up the mountain to the squat and smoking spliffs with friends. No really bad times, just hard decisions about immigration and love...

Anyhting else?
We're very happy to be playing in Spain and thank to everybody for all the work we know it isn't easy.

Criterion & Doily selected discography :
Compilation (Sic) 7" series (Broklyn Beats)
Criterion & Doily s/t (Broklyn Beats)

Interview réalisée par Charlotte Lemaître.