PLUVIO & SYMBIOTIK RECORDS - HIS JOURNEY AS A PRODUCER AND THE NEUROBREAKS MOVEMENT
May 16th 2023
Following the birth of Symbiotik Records and the Neurobreaks family, we caught up with record label co-founder and producer, Pluvio, about the origins of the label, the concept of this newly established genre and his history as a producer
It’s been a year and half since the label’s debut release. They’re now 8 EPs and 2 LPs later down the line, and Symbiotik Records don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. The Neurobreaks sound was starting to spread through clubs and realms of the internet, with ‘slowed-down Neurofunk’ slowly creeping into sets and styles of production, infusing heavy breakbeat with blow-ya-head off Neurofunk. A home was needed for these tracks, so three producers, Pluvio, AKOV and Screamarts came together to create not just a label, but a community for all listeners, creators and collectors of Neurobreaks. Following on from the release of their second LP 'Hivemind 002’, Pluvio spoke with pride, and with excitement for the future.
The Cornwall-born and based producer, Pluvio, also known as Rewan Leach, has been wrapped up in music since his childhood years. With huge musical influenced from his family, the foundations for a diverse appreciation for music were already laid. Having tried out bands and realising the logistics aren’t so complicated when there’s only one of you, he switched to production, and at 16 was DJing and producing under Raptus: “I started making really heavy, brosteppy stuff inspired by Rusko, Borgore, that early era. It took off quite well cos I had all the skills from being in bands and thinking like a musician, so I started DJing/producing under Raptus. When I was about 18 I started at the first dBs centre that opened up in Camborne, Cornwall, and that’s when things started really kicking off.
“I started going into glitch hop 100bpm stuff towards 2012, which is when I realised things were going well. I was playing lots of gigs, got my first Beatport Top 10 and won a UK Glitch Hop Award. This subsequently lead to becoming part of the UK Glitch Hop collective and engaging quite heavily in the scene.”
YOU'RE NOT DOING YOURSELF ANY GOOD BY NEGLECTING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Despite the success, Rewan recalls how his experience with the music industry and its ties to the party lifestyle began to take its toll - and how he sought to overcome this: “I was just getting really pissed and doing loads of drugs. So where my career was ascending, I was doing loads of cool stuff, loads of achievements that I’d made, it wasn’t very sustainable. There was a time where the drink and drugs just kind of started overriding it slowly, I started to taper off. Where my passion for writing music, gigging and doing all that, it kind of fell by the wayside. To the point where I was releasing barely any music.”
The alias change from Raptus to Pluvio was a mark of a new era, with his ‘Significance of None EP’ being released in 2018: “I wrote that in rehab. I was doing a lot of meditation, mindfulness and tai chi while I was in there. I think that inspired me to get into to that style of music. I also wrote a track called Alter Vita (which roughly translates to Alternate Life), which got released on The Games We Play. My arrival to rehab signified that shift in my mental direction, and from there it really rejuvenated my passion for creating music again.”
I PROBABLY WOULDN'T BE MAKING MUSIC NOW
This time period resulted in a shift in the style of music he was putting out, with a turn away from the dance floor and more into at home listening: “When I came out I decided I didn’t really want to make dance floor orientated music anymore, cos I got in my head about it. I realised that I was filling a gap, I was already thinking how people were going to interpret my music, you’re sort of producing in other people’s heads rather than your own. I felt like I’d kind of lost my way in the dance floor community and the glitch hop drum and bass/dubstep scene. I hadn’t kept up to date with it all which put me off and deterred me.
“This part of my journey was crucial, no matter how much I felt I'd lost touch with the scene - if I didn’t, I probably wouldn't be making music now. It’s good to have those healthy breaks for yourself. You’re not doing yourself any good by neglecting your mental health, to focus on the music you need to put yourself first. Your mind and your brain is in control of the music that you make and if that’s not well, then your music isn’t going to be well.”
2020 saw the release of Maglev (The Remixes) by Leeds-based producer, Teotek, featuring remixes from seven artists in the Bass Militia Records camp. Rewan’s take on Maglev was an integral part in the shift in genre direction: “I thought about it and I was like, well I’m sort of making down tempo stuff at the moment, you know? This is a really heavy dance floor label, I said I could try and do some kind of garage flex, something a bit more chill. I told him I’d give it a go and see what happens, see what comes up, and he was happy for me to take my creative reign with it.
“It ended up turning into a Neuro-garage/Neurobreaks kinda thing, and that got me super excited. I was like, oh shit, I’ve still got my mojo when it comes to heavier dance floor stuff. I was bridging this gap between this new found passion and connection to my music, and being able to create that high energy stuff but from an internal perspective rather than an external one.”
THIS NEUROBREAKS SOUND HAS CAUSED A RIPPLE IN THE SCENE
A Bass Militia Records livestream followed shortly after and saw the debut live performance as Pluvio, it was the start of a great ongoing journey. This set caused a chain reaction with the Renaissance EP being released not long after, and the Neurobreaks sound was slowly creeping out of the woodwork: “I wanted to fuse downtempo and dance floor stuff, I was finding stuff around 120 to 140, playing future garage and these weird Neuro garage-y tracks, which are kinda obscure in the dance scene. I don’t see labels dedicated to it - so that’s where I found some Neurobreaks to play as well cos I wanted to build up to a heavy finish. Neurobreaks wasn’t a huge thing, it’s never been a huge thing. There’s only been a few people that have written a track here and there.”
Neurofunk drum and bass heavyweight, AKOV, and similarly-matched drum and bass beast Screamarts, were both looking to provide a hub for the Neurobreaks sound and other Neuro inspired sub genres. A few conversations later and the demand for more Neurobreaks was becoming more prevalent, and the forming on Symbiotik Records came as the next natural movement to take.
EVERYTHING HAS TO BE VERY CRISP PRODUCTION
Shortly after the label announcement, they embarked on a UK tour, were mentioned in UKF and the spreading and championing of Neurobreaks was taking full effect: “In a short space of time this Neurobreaks sound has caused a ripple through the scene, I’ve found myself quite involved with the breakbeat community who are really excited about this style of Neurobreaks. The breaks scene had tear out breaks, people like Afghan Headspin and Mechanoise Records were really responsible for pushing that dirtier, rawer and aggressive form of breakbeat.”
Although this modernised, heavier style of breaks is coming new to some ears, Rewan makes sure to pay homage to the pioneering producers who have been pushing a heavier sound of breaks for some years now: “I want to honour the fact that there’s been people pushing similar stuff since around 2010 onwards I would say, but there hasn’t been a great deal of push behind it as a genre. We’ve got a very Neurofunk style approach to it. I really want to honour those people who have been pushing it in their respective fields, but I guess in terms of the movement, having a dedicated platform to really push it and really unite a community for Neurobreaks, there hasn’t really been much.”
There is starting to become a global uprising: from Poland, USA, Spain and further afield. Whilst the productions may stray to differing sub genres from Neurobreaks, there is a general sound and feel being pushed in regards to the heavier, dance floor side of the genre. Being at the start of the journey for the label, right now it’s networking with other sub genres within the breaks community to strengthen the genre and audience as a whole: “With Symbiotik, we do have our own definitive sound that we’re pushing, and then the other areas of the Breakbeat community, like Nitepunk, who have their own definitive style. I would like for it to all come under Neurobreaks, I think that would be great, but I don’t think anyone else has made that move to define their style as Neurobreaks yet - apart from a Spanish producer, Vazertia X. He's been making his mark on a sort of parallel journey to us, which I was relatively unaware of until a couple of years ago.
“I would like to see that change, but there’s only so much you can do with that and I think it takes time for that to grow into its own thing.”
A constant pace of releases has followed since the initial launch, and the label has embodied such a like-minded and enthusiastic family unit that the only direction is up from here. Later this year the label will be expanding, and we’ll see the launch of a sister label, Audio Swarm, to provide a space for a different tier of Neurobreaks: “We want to put out high quality stuff, that’s the key. As well as pushing Neurobreaks, everything has to be very crisp production. To expand upon that, to really help provide a home for people of all levels in terms of their skill set in production. I wanted to do a similar label, for those who might not necessarily be pure clarity mix vibes, for lack of a better phrase. I wanted to provide a home for those who are aspiring to do Neurobreaks.”
It’s been a crazy couple years for Symbiotik Records, and with no sign of slowing down, times ahead are looking just as exciting and genre bending. Check the links below to stay up to date with releases, sets and more.