Last spotted one 1 More Thing in October 2022 with the killer Patreon exclusive jam Algorithms, rising US drum & bass craftsman ESKR returns to the scene of the crime…
In the six months that have passed he’s been relentless in his consistency and presence with his signature well-oiled D&B grit appearing on the likes of Ram Records, Dirtbox, Boomslang, Patrol The Skies and Covert Garden.
Many more dispatches are locked and loaded in the near future, including a return to Grand Theft Audio, the label who brought him to 1 More Thing’s attention in the first place. That’s happening on April 21. In the meantime, get to know Brett ESKR Baker’s story as we learn how his roots dig deep into the North American drum & bass movement for over 24 years.
You can chow down on his exemplary mix while you. Greasy, grizzly, understated, this one rolls with style…
You’re on a bit of a roll!
I guess. I’m just constantly working and sometimes things fall into place, right? Recently there was the Boomslang remix for example. They needed a remix pretty fast and I turned it around in a weekend. So every now and again things fall into place like that.
That’s from digging serious foundations. You’ve been on this for some time!
It’s been a long time and a lot has happened, sure. My time out in San Francisco would be considered my primetime of drum & bass.
Was that more as a DJ or did you produce much back then too?
It was actually both. I was producing but DJing took much more of a central role. I was playing out two or three times a week between radio shows, clubs, raves, there was always something around. I was starting to get into production back then and started working with some guys called Company Truck. We’d all come up with an idea and I’d make the track from there. I got our first ever release right here on vinyl, it was on Sideways Recordings then we released on a Hungarian label called Black Hoe. So we had a little run of things with that. Then I actually moved to dubstep under the Ceeker alias and had a whole bunch of releases under that project.
It wasn’t until I moved here to Albuquerque and started focusing on myself and put a lot of things behind me and focused on my direction that ESKR came about and I got deep into the drum & bass.
Cool. How do things compare between that early 2000s D&B climate in the US and how things are going now?
So I came into things in the early 2000s. America has always had a presence of drum & bass. I was inspired by how there were a lot of different crews and they were all doing their own thing, especially on the West Coast with guys like the Funkatech crew. That got me really into things. Just the whole culture side and how underground it was. Now I feel it’s a lot more accepted in America and more mainstream. Instead of one tour of big UK artists going on at one time there are now several tours of UK artists happening at the same time. That’s awesome. It means there’s a budget for it and there’s a demand and interest from the fans. That’s got to be great for the scene, right?
Absolutely. Do tours stop in Albuquerque?
It’s a smaller city, and there’s not a lot of money here, so it’s not attracting so much attention and there aren’t as many big promotion units with budgets. So no, the big tours don’t often stop here. But they recently made marijuana legal here which should hopefully help the economy and have a positive impact. There are groups bringing in D&B here though and it is a tangible scene.
Are you playing out much?
It’s a bit complicated right now and I’ve actually turned down a lot of gigs unfortunately, which I feel awful about. It’s not permanent though, there are just a few factors and commitments keeping me away from venues and playing out for the time being. But I’m hoping this will change as we get into the summer and I’ll be taking bookings again.
I hear you man. Well I look forward to that because this mix is sick! You’ve really captured a vibe and honed in on a sound here.
I do like doing that. Coming from the vinyl days and digging through music forever and ever, that’s always been part of the process for me. I’m the same going through Beatport and all the download stores. I like to pick out particular vibes.
I’d say you’re inspired by a UK type of sound on this one
Yeah I guess there’s a UK flavour to it. But I didn’t set out to make a mix just comprising UK releases. I don’t buy music based on its territory or where it’s come from, although most the time I do assume it’s from the UK as a great deal of drum & bass does come from there.
You know it! I can see a bass guitar behind you. Are you in any bands and do you play multiple instruments?
I’m practicing the learning the bass. As a kid I played piano, my parents made me take lessons. The bass is much more of a new interest, just learning more about bass in general. I’m just always trying to submerge myself in music as much as possible and learn as much as I can.
Totally. What else is coming up?
I have a number of releases all coming to fruition. There are a lot of remixes happening right now. I did a remix for Sola that’s coming out soon and I have an EP coming out on their label Grand Theft Audio on April 21. There’s a remix EP of my tunes coming out on Boomslang. Pish Posh is remixing one of my tracks on Dirtbox, which is pretty dope.
That’s right. He was a big inspiration for me on the east coast side of drum & bass out here back in the day. He was already putting out a lot of vinyl which I was picking up when I first got into this. The same with the Burner Brothers, too. I was always more inspired by what was happening on the West Coast but Pish Posh and the Burner Brothers were definitely doing some inspiring things over on the East Coast too.
I didn’t know Pish Posh was back!
I’m not sure how much he went away to be honest but I know he’s busy. He’s working on an album and had a few releases. It’s great to see.
Great to see you release music on Ram Records too by the way. Must be a bit of a bucket list moment?
That was THE bucket list moment. It was the number one goal I never thought I’d reach. In fact it was more like ‘get on a label like Ram’. I never thought I’d ever actually release on the label! But ever so often I’d send them tunes and one Thursday night I sent over a bunch and I woke up on Friday morning, checked my messages before work and there was a reply from Ram. I’ll never forget it. Seeing that email and thinking ‘is this real?’
Amazing. What else can we look forward to?
Sonication has a track coming out on Dirtbox with a vocalist Rheo and I’m remixing that. Then I’ll be putting out another EP on Dirtbox before the end of the year. I also work with a group called Noize Komplaint and we’ve got a release on Dirtbox coming this summer, too.
Tell me about Noize Komplaint
That’s Mike from Boomslang. Greg who does Lion’s Den mastering and has an alias called We Bang. And Dave who goes under the name Bad Martian. Those three have been Noize Komplaint for a while and then stopped for a while and when they picked things up around 2020/2021 they invited me on board and asked me to get involved. It’s good fun, we work well together.
Sick. Are you involved in any other projects like that?
Yeah Akuma, who I recently remixed on Boomslang, and I are doing a bunch of collaborations which has been cool. There are handful of people I’m collaborating with but I don’t want to say quite yet until things are under way.
Awesome. Finally, big up on Algorithms! That’s been a very popular tune on 1 More Thing.
That’s good to hear man. I mean it wasn’t an accidental title. I’ve been studying how algorithms work, especially on YouTube and other music platforms. I’m not that confident or happy on other social media platforms but I try and drive people to my music on the platforms that are musically focused. It’s about finding the right people and targeting the right audience and understanding the platform. We have to use these platforms so it’s good to understand how to get the most out of them. I advise anyone making or releasing music to take some time to research that.