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Revitalizing New York’s beakbeats scene: A talk with Ricky Doyon

Ricky Doyon is gaining attention in the NYC music scene with his dynamic events known as ‘Breaks & Bangers’. With a strong passion for revitalizing breakbeats and high-energy house music, he is aiming to bring a fresh and lively sound to New York City.

In this interview, he shares the inspiration behind ‘Breaks & Bangers’ and his motivation to build an inclusive and diverse community believing in the power of captivating genres that connect with people on the dance floor, creating an exciting and memorable experience for all attendees.

Looking ahead, Ricky expresses his enthusiasm for the future of ‘Breaks & Bangers’, planning to have stage takeovers and parties at Love Burn in Miami scheduled for February 2024. 

EG: Hi, Ricky! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?

Ricky Doyon: Hey EG! Thanks for having me! I’m doing well! Currently in full preparation mode to help run a sound stage at Love Burn 2024! I’m currently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where I live.

EG: The year is kicking off and we’d like to congratulate you on your work with ‘Breaks & Bangers’ in NYC. Can you share with our readers what is all about?

Ricky Doyon: ‘Breaks & Bangers’ is a party I produce that aims to bring a resurgence of breakbeats, booty breaks, and high-energy house music to New York, amidst the predominant scene of lower tempos of house and electronic dance. Our events are tailored to those who love fat bass lines and shaking their booties. We don’t do “warm-ups” or “cool-downs” that traditionally cater to the big headlining tour acts. I tell every DJ they need to absolutely bring the heat no matter what time they go on.

EG: So, how did the idea and concept for ‘Breaks & Bangers’ come about? How did you come to notice there was a certain disregard for breakbeats/booty breaks in the main circuits?

Ricky Doyon: My community is mostly in the Burning Man scene. New York, for a while, has mostly stuck to some medium-tempo or lower-energy dance music. Don’t get me wrong, I love house, disco house, and funky house too. But when I would visit friends in LA, San  Francisco, and Miami, the music was way higher energy. I’d go to parties in SF and they’d be slammin breaks non-stop. I was always having conversations with friends, DJs, and promoters about why it’s not the same in NYC. I refused to believe that the people are different in the city. I was told it’s because people can’t listen to such high-energy music or they’ll “get worn out” or people just don’t like that kind of music. I realized that if I wanted to hear more music I love in my scene, I’d have to start playing it myself and building a community for it.

EG: In your opinion, what is it about these genres that is so captivating? What is it that sets them apart from most of the music we can hear today in clubs?

Ricky Doyon: To me, what is so captivating about this kind of music is that it speaks to so many people. My favorite genre is booty breaks, which very often has hip-hop or rap lyrics that most people are familiar with. But it’s thrown on top of a nasty breakbeat with fat, chunky bass lines. When people know the lyrics or a melody, that familiarity gets them excited. You can see it in their faces on the dance floor. But as soon as they hear it over a nasty breakbeat, they instinctively make that “stank face” or “bass face” of approval and surprise. I have a theory (that I believe I’ve proven time and time again) that every person has a “butt meter”. The butt meter will activate when it hears a beat that it likes. It doesn’t matter what time of day, it doesn’t matter the event. You work people up to some high-energy tech house, bass house, G house, breaks, etc. Their butt meters are going to be registering at several thousand BPM’s (Bootyshakes Per Minute). I’ve played for crowds that are known as deep house crowds, and that dance floor goes wild. The people are the same in NYC as they are in San Francisco and Miami.

“Breaks & Bangers  is a party I produce that aims to bring a resurgence of breakbeats, booty breaks, and high-energy house music to New York”

EG: You are a first-generation Korean American and combat veteran, and ‘Breaks & Bangers’ has set out to showcase DJs from diverse backgrounds, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+. In your experience, how important is it to foster a sense of “community” nowadays? Is it “difficult” to balance talent with representation given how male-dominated the scene is?

Ricky Doyon: Now that I’m producing parties, it’s even more obvious how male-dominated the scene is. This is ironic because if I named you my top 10 favorite DJs, at least 5 of them aren’t men. And the struggle is real. I’ve even talked with non-male DJ friends who don’t spin these genres and asked if they would be interested in taking up the ‘Breaks & Bangers’ challenge to spin within the sound we want. Some have said yes! And I think their friends would really enjoy seeing them step outside of their comfort zone, and it could be a very unique and fun experience. I’m always on the search to have a more diverse lineup. Ideally, I’d like to have one or two new DJs every show.

EG: ‘Breaks & Bangers’ has just celebrated its latest night, 007-themed and called ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Booty’. Can you explain the concept to us? What was that experience like? Any particular highlights?

Ricky Doyon: (Laughter) So, since the first party, I’ve named every party some kind of parody of a movie or TV show and make it booty-themed. We’ve done ‘Saved By the Booty’, based on ‘Saved By the Bell’, The Booty Strikes Back, based on ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and most recently a 007-themed one. It gives a great theme that we can all dress up for, and people certainly show up in amazing outfits, of course. The highlight of all these parties is the energy of the attendees. The crowd continuously grows since people bring more and more friends, and I love hearing the positive reviews from people on how fun the music is. It’s also been fantastic to foster an abundance attitude among DJ friends, old and new.

EG: Now, speaking about current trends in our scene… How do you feel about the rise of these huge LED screens and cinematic visuals? Do they enhance the narrative, or are they just taking too much attention away from the music?

Ricky Doyon: That’s a really good question. I’ll be honest, I don’t really attend large shows like those, mostly because I don’t want to be in a crowded space. But with giant crowds like that, you can barely see the DJ and the booth. It does make sense to have giant screens, lights, lasers, and pyro for crowds that large. It’s impressive how much bigger and crazier it seems to get every year. But then without fail, you’ll see those same DJs spinning at a more intimate afters for fun. If you have fun at massive parties with huge technology and production, that’s all that matters. I love that it exists! We’re planning all the lighting, lasers, fire, etc. for a stage right now, so I am excited to bring it to people!

EG: The incorporation of AI in electronic music seems to be on the rise, whether it is in the music, the album covers, and beyond. Do you have a particular stance on this?

Ricky Doyon: I’ve certainly used AI to make posters for events. I’ve just started to dig into production. It’s going to be VERY interesting to see where it goes with AI. As someone who is just scratching the surface of learning something like Ableton, I’m super curious to see where AI takes us for music production. If we each had our own Jarvis like Tony Stark did, and we could just give it verbal commands to tweak and change the snare, the synth, etc., isn’t that still music production? It seems like we may be entering the generation of Autocorrect or Suggested Text like what your phone or laptop has. I don’t see a lot of complaints about that now that we’re used to it. Plenty of people don’t want to drive a manual transmission in a car (but I enjoy it).

“I’m always on the search to have a more diverse lineup”

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for Ricky Doyon and ‘Breaks & Bangers’? What’s in store for 2024? Where can your fans catch you next?

Ricky Doyon: ‘Breaks & Bangers’ is heading to Love Burn near Miami in Feb 2024. We’re going to do some stage takeovers and parties and get booties shaking. You can definitely catch me there next or keep an eye out for future shows and events on IG.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Ricky! We wish you all the best for the future. Take care!

Ricky Doyon: Thanks EG! I love the stories you’re telling!

Breaks & Bangers is set for Love Burn in Miami from February 15th-18th, 2024 in Miami, Florida. Get your tickets here.

Follow Ricky Doyon: Soundcloud | Instagram

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