Gone To A Rave #31: 2 Bad Mice
If anything, 2 Bad Mice will be remembered for having one of the greatest producer idents the rave scene ever saw. That sample of "2. Bad. Mice", clearly nicked from some unknown kids record, would blast out at the intro of their cuts, and you'd know that you were in for a good 5 minutes of crisp, tight breakbeat genius. Whilst many of the early breakbeat records are chaotic with ideas, 2 Bad Mice always kept it simple – their greatest tracks, the likes of Bombscare, Waremouse, or the remix of Blame's Music Takes You, take one great idea and work it and work it. Rather than chucking in random samples for the sake of it, they teased out synth lines until they borrowed into your head – the wild bouncing synth from Bombscare surely has to rate as one of the most memorably riffs hardcore ever saw.
The project of Sean O'Keeffe and Simon Colebrooke combined with the production heft of Moving Shadow's Rob Playford, 2 Bad Mice may have put out relatively few tracks, but in this case quality told over quantity. Recent years have seen them re-emerge in the revitalised breaks scene, and what's most notable is how fresh the tunes written over 20 years ago sound today, as though the future they were soundtracking is still yet to come. You can catch em playing the forthcoming Gottwood festival, which gave me a good excuse to track them down and fire over some questions –
Whereabouts in the country are you from? Has it had an influence on your music?
Hertfordshire. I suppose it has, at the time we first started making music, there was a lot of creative people in the area and nearby like Nookie, Blame, Omni Trio, Justice…
How did you meet?
Myself and Sean met through the BMX'ing scene and we then met Rob through the label and Paul at the legendary Parliament Music record shop.
What was the first music you got into? Most of the rave acts I've spoken to have either come from being into 2 tone or being into electro…
I was a hip hop / electro kid but Sean was more into house / acid…
Were you involved in the acid house scene at all?
With regards to going to raves then yes – every week!
What were the first steps towards production? Did you have turntables first?
We all had turntables first but our first steps into music making were done in the old Moving Shadow studio in Stevenage with Rob Playford.
What were the first tracks you wrote? Did they ever see light of day?
No Respect was the first and it was released on Moving Shadow.
How did the relationship with Moving Shadow come about?
We knew of Rob but knew his girlfriend better. We just asked her to hassle him into letting us loose in the studio. He gave in.
What kit did you make the Bombscare EP with? And – this is the crucial bit! – what makes the synth in Bombscare?
Crikey….Akai S950, some old keyboard and drum machine, a Realistic mixer and the synth, well that is a famous sample!!
As you blew up in the rave scene, did you feel any backlash from the established dance media?
Nah, took no notice of the established dance scene -was there one??
And what about the old bill? Do you have any memories of dealing with the general antagonism towards raving that was coming from the government down?
Loads!! Got pulled over so many times, got chased from raves – the list is endless. Looking back – it was quite good fun.
What was the weirdest/ best raves you played in between 92-94?
So so many!! Orlando was amazing, LA was bloody scarey and I am surprised we made it out alive. Over here – Sterns, Lazerdrome, Roller Express!!
Was there any time when you realised how massive the hardcore scene had got?
When seeing TV reports on it and reading it in the papers, we realised how big it had got. We didn't pay much attention to it though. It was our own sub culture.
As the music changed and Moving Shadow switched up to DnB, what happened with you guys? Did you keep on producing?
We went on to help with the running of the label. Sean produced Deep Blue stuff still though. We had a brief effort in the studio but I think it degenerated into a drinking session.
Did you ever think about signing with a major?
Recent years have seen you right back in the scene, and rather than just playing old skool events your out and about in Fabric etc – was there a tipping point for this change?
Dunno really….the remix we did for Breach feat Kelis has had a lot of love and we are now getting more production requests from people! We can also play a vast array of styles and genres, so I guess some promoters like that.
What sort of new stuff are you playing? Any producers you rate?
I love 140 stuff in particular Pressa, Etch, Boomsha, Radiokillaz. Sean and Paul love the Hypercolour label and artists too. They seem to be doing it at the moment.
Do you feel that the rave scene has been under appreciated in mainstream UK culture- like Danny Boyle didn't have any hardcore in that Olympics ceremony…?
A little bit. I think at the time it was kind of a dirty word and brushed aside. Kind of ironic that mainstream artists are now feeling breakbeats and more dance stuff that has it's roots in the rave scene.
Have you got any unreleased stuff that people would love to hear?
Yep – on tape though!!
What's coming up?
Some more production work and gigs at Gottwood, Ibiza, Bestival and various clubs around the UK.
Who is the biggest, mentalist raver you've ever known?
Our crew from back in the day. The Peoples Front of Hertford. You would have to go a long way to find bigger lunatics. They were our inspiration.
Whats the deal with Rob Playford? Is there ever gonna be a reunion?
We have met with Rob, and I went for dinner with him the other night. We are older and wiser now, so we felt that we should put the past behind us.
What's your favourite production that people might not know?
Well as it is me (Si) answering the questions, it is only right for me to choose!! However this is one of many tracks that I love listening to – Word of Mouth ft DJ Cheese – King Kut
2BadMice play Gottwood Festival this year