Ryan Brokenshire – The ‘Shine A Light On’ Ransom Note Mix
We somewhat conveniently crossed paths with Ryan Brokenshire and ever since we've been hanging on his every word. After spending hours listening to his sounds on repeat, we wanted to find out a little bit more about the man behind the music and what exactly it was that shaped his lush sounds. Ryan duly obliged and provided us with this cracking mix which you're about to tune into. He was also kind enough to have a chat with us so we could find out more about him – plus he sent us some photos of his cats so we got them in too, obviously;
Please introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hi. I live under a rock just outside of beautiful Deeetroit City. I write music, I play the piano, I sing and I also like to be the guy that puts on records. I currently run two (rather new) record labels: Galapagos Records and Magnotron. At the present time I am completely autonomous in the sense that I've never released any music outside of my own record labels and I've never asked any established artists to release on mine. I'm trying to build something unique and special from the ground up. (It's a lot of work!)
Describe your sound without using the letter 'e'.
(Too bad this question wasn't asking me to describe my sound without the letter 'c'. One of my cats ripped the 'c' key off my laptop and I'm having a rough time right now.)
Lyrical, dynamic, multifarious.
When did music last make you shed a tear?
Current Top 40 music usually makes me want to cry. But you probably mean "shed a tear" in a good way: I saw Fela! the musical when it came through Detroit and it was very powerful.
Who inspired you to get into music? Who inspires you now?
I was exposed to classical music as a very young child by my Dad and started taking piano lessons when I was seven. It's always been a part of my life. The people who inspire me now are those that have either achieved success but never sold out or those who have never achieved success but were compelled to continue making art anyway. They don't need to be named because they are not driven by external approval and admiration. There is something much deeper at work.
Where do you think you'll be on November 22nd 2017?
Doing back flips down the expressway while singing Beatles songs in Portuguese.
How are you making yourself stand out from the crowd?
I've spent many years toiling away in obscurity developing a unique sound. Practically anyone can create something unique but to make something that is both unique AND good is rare. Accomplishing both has always been my goal.
What’s your shoe size?
Do you read books still? If so, what?
Yes. I mostly read non-fiction that’s related to music in some way. Most recently finished: Motown: Music, Money, Sex, and Power – Gerald Posner.
In progress: Shadow Players: The Rise and Fall of Factory Records – James Nice. On deck: M Train – Patti Smith.
What would be your ideal date?
Does anyone actually go on dates anymore? The term sounds so archaic. At first, I just want to get to know someone so anywhere we can have a good conversation is fine. (i.e. Not a club/bar/airport runway.)
What's the most expensive thing you've ever broken?
Probably some fancy antique lamp when I was a kid.
Have you ever been to England? Do you have a favourite county?
I've never been to England but I'd love to go. There are so many countries that I haven't been to yet so it seems a bit early to pick a favorite. Canada is underrated, though.
What do you think the biggest differences between the US and UK electronic music scenes are?
My impression is that people in the U.K. (and Europe, in general) appreciate the underground more. They are more willing to support something because of its artistic value. Americans are more likely to only look at the surface and do whatever the TV tells them to do. (These are
generalities, of course.) In Detroit, for example, the electronic scene has always been rather small and close knit with most of the population in the suburbs being oblivious to what's happening in their own backyard.
Have you ever been to the Galapagos Islands? What's it like/what do you imagine it would be like?
I've never been to the Galapagos Islands per se, but I did spend three weeks in Ecuador traveling around the country with my friend and his whole family in a private bus. They are from there originally so it was fascinating to tour the country with natives and get an insider's perspective. I imagine a trip to the Galapagos Islands would be as awe-inspiring as the trip to the mainland was.
Onto the mix…
Where was the mix recorded?
In my DJ nook. Yes…I have a DJ nook.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
If you got it, spark it up!
What should we be wearing?
Whitie tighties and suspenders. But whatever you're wearing now is probably adequate as long as you're comfortable.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
Any place where cats aren't constantly rubbing up against my leg while I'm trying to mix. My cats are very jealous of my turntables it seems.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
That's easy. "Reminisce About The Phuture" by Zed Bias. It’s one of my all-time favs. In fact, the entire mix is pretty much based around that track. I give it a proper build up with some experimental minimal and house, drop the Bias track, cool things down with some break beats and then it's pretty housey for the remainder ending with a couple of Detroit house gems. But…I also have to plug the second track: "Fuck This (Ryan Brokenshire Mix)" by Fat Ribz because it's off one of my record labels. In regards to that track, I believe the Google translation of an online record store in Japan pretty much sums it up: "Once again, cult odor is downright irresistible maniac single!" I couldn't have said it better myself!
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I saw Terrence Parker for the first time at a warehouse party back in the day. I was very new to the scene and I literally stared at him for about twenty minutes in a state of confusion. I just couldn't figure out who the DJ was talking to on the telephone and why it couldn't wait until after his set. Anyway, I finally realised he was using the phone to cue records. (Please clap for me.) TP was on fire that night and after his set he passed out mix tapes featuring some of the tracks he had just played. I still have the tape and it still blows my mind. It has a lot of disco classics like "Me And The Gang" by Bohannon ("My my my name is Caroline . . ." ) all mixed up with his signature scratching.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I would like to go back to back with the The Black Madonna because her sets are like a breath of fresh air.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Two turntables and a mixer. That's it. Simple. I started with Geminis but ended up with Technics.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
They're both important but for different reasons. The first track is important because you want to engage the listener, whereas the last track is important because you want to reward the listener for having an attention span and actually listening to the damn thing!
What were the first and last records you bought?
I'm glad you said "record" so we don't have to discuss the MC Hammer cassette tape I bought when I was ten. The first actual record I bought was the only goa trance record to ever come out of Detroit. I picked it up at a head shop before I had even bought turntables. Honestly, I've since fallen off the goa trance wagon but I was into it at the time.
My most recent purchase was a bulk order from Juno. (I just don't have the time to crate dig like I used to.) And, yes, I picked up some Zed Bias.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Chicken and waffles.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A cat that pukes rainbows.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I've always had a rough time with Acid Eiffel. The kick drum fades in and there are no logical cue points. It's almost impossible to mix it in on phrase.
Upcoming in the world of Ryan Brokenshire?
I'm having a record release party at a new club that just opened up in downtown Detroit on November 6. After that, it's back to the studio for the cold Michigan winter with some new music due out by Spring.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Well, I guess I could blab about my new record some more. It's called Montanita and it was premiered right here on the Ran$om Note. After waiting with zen-like patience the vinyl pressing was finished in October and has been available overseas for about a week or so. You can listen to the entire EP for free online. There are links to the music and stores carrying it on my website.
Find out more about Ryan Brokenshire here and more about Galapagos Records here.
Joining The Circus
What to do for British politics?
Solidarity with Ukraine
URL vs. IRL
Do DJs Today Need Social Media to Be Heard?
I Hear (Borusiade Remix)
Mother of MarsShop Now
Hologram TeenShop Now