Originally appeared on Juno:
Whispers in taste makers circles are saying that the breaks scene is about to have a renaissance and return with a bang. With the new school style sounding fresher than ever it certainly is exciting times for the scene. Which is why we thought that this would be the perfect time to catch up with one of the scene’s leading ladies Janette Slack! Hong Kong born and internationally renowned Slack who worked as a teenager for seminal breakbeat label Finger Lickin’ now fronts her own label “Slack Trax” and has a huge single released this week “It’s on you” with killer remixes from “Se7en Deadly Breaks” and “Sean Rodgers”.
To celebrate her latest release the generous Janette is giving away two free tracks “Kut Me Sum – Rebel Sonix remix” and “Slack It Off” a fun and cheeky remix of a chart hit you will all be familiar with. She has also recorded a very special mix that you can listen to and download. We also invited her down to Juno HQ for a chat about her musical influences from her time spent in London, dance music scenes in Asia and her memories of Breakbeat’s golden era.
What are your earliest emerges of music when you were young?
Buddy Holly, Peter Gabriel, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains, Tori Amos, NOFX, Pearl Jam.
What made you start producing and DJ’ing?
Since I was a kid I was fascinated with Sound FX and loved watching behind the scenes with Foley Artists working their magic, I loved the Hannah Barbara cartoon sound FX but just never knew how to get into it. I got into DJing as a group of my friends and my high school sweet heart all had decks and we’d just jam back to back for hours and days. After about a year of DJing I was curious how tracks were made and felt I was annoying if I asked too many questions whenever I was invited to come hang in a music studio. During my time in Uni in London I applied to do a Sound Engineering course at SAE, I found I could then kill two birds with one stone with combining my curiosity of how to engineer tracks for any kind of music and also finally fulfil the possible dream of becoming a foley artist. AND ask all the stupid questions I wanted!
You grew up in Hong Kong, but then moved to London. What kind of influence did that have on your taste in music?
I got into dance music when I was in Hong Kong, but the choices of clubs and availability of underground music at the time was rather slim. I was quite hungry for more variety and choices of places to go and London was and is an ideal place to go not only for the choices, but how potent each scene really is. The record shopping at the time was just heaven for me and such a great way to meet people sharing common ground and interest.
You were a very active member of the UK breaks scene in the early to mid-2000’s (arguably the the scene’s golden era) What are some of your fondest memories of this time?
Playing at Sydney Home nightclub and Funk Trust in 2001 was such a massive step for me at the time. Being a little DJ from Hong Kong and being able to push breaks in a different country at the age of 20 was such an exciting time for me and when the scene was just exploding. Then moving back to London and landed a part time job at Fingerlickin’/Vinyl Addiction during my SAE course, which was a dream job for any student who was a breaks head.
Meeting Jay Cunning and Terry Hooligan shortly after was great too as they have always had a good energy about them, their gigs at Hum were always a laugh and rocked. And also meeting Glen Future Funk Squad who signed one of my tunes and then Ali B signed me to Air Recordings, all are very significant and fond memories in that time. Not only that, but the flatmates I had at the time, we all shared a passion in breaks and were involved in the scene somehow, it became quite a fun way of life.
What inspired you to start Slack Trax?
I had some experience setting up a label when I ran a studio in Kingston. So always made it a goal to set up a label of my own. There are so many artists I love but they never had the chance to release stuff which I found frustrating, so it’s nice to be able to have the option to do that now.
Tell us about the music policy of the label?
It’s mainly based around Bass Music and also progressive related.
Your latest single is a collaboration with Adsorb. How did this come about?
Adsorb and I met in Bangkok of all places. We were already corresponding over email as we share so many mutual friends. One day he came back to London for a wedding and we caught up in my studio and started the track there. It was an interesting collaboration as it’s something neither of us has really made before.
To listen to the mix and download free tracks click here.