PBR Streetgang Guestmix

Review by Matthew Crick

Ahead of their upcoming gig in London with us on 2nd of March (Details here) we caught up with banter merchants PBR Streetgang to pick their brains. From the prospect of wrestling a bear, to the frolicking utopia of Garden Festival, 2012 could literally be another hands-on year for PBR Streetgang.

No one has ever questioned Bonar Bradberry and Tom Thorpe’s work rate or commitment to the cause (the music industry, not modern bear combat) ever since the pair met almost a decade ago, and rightly so. It would also be foolish to say that the PBR brand has flirted with ubiquity of late. Their remix back catalogue is long but certainly not drawn out, tinkering unforgettably with the sounds of Crazy P, Odyssey and Death On The Balcony, as well as some solid homegrown work on labels that include Wolf Music, 2020Vision, and for their recent Downstroke release, Hot Creations. An impressive CV, so far, you’ll agree.

So as music partnerships go, Bonar and Tom are seemingly very compatible. A happy marriage, you could say, that is celebrating 10 years of crowd pleasing and festival teasing, which all started when they were fostering their trade in the legendary Asylum club in Leeds.

For those fortunate enough to grace the dance floor during this tenure, you would have seen and heard some indelible moments, from Henrik Schwarz to Maurice Fulton projecting their celestial powers, to name but an esteemed few, at a venue where the boys can safely call home. Oh and they annually hold the fort at a little club called Space in Ibiza too.

The Boogie Boat is clearly not running out of steam anytime soon, and with spaces in high demand, you had better book your ticket now.



So, the name PBR Streetgang; big Apocalypse Now fans or simply plucked from obscurity?

Tom: Is that what it is, really? Bonar said we we’re named after a beer. Wait till I get my hands on him!

How did you guys meet and decide that you could produce together?

Bonar: We met about 10 years ago now in Birmingham; we had some mutual friends and would hang out in the same record store and were into the same music. We started djing together a couple of years after that, the production thing came about a few years after that. It was all a very natural progression really.

Every successful music partnership is about balance, however friendship aside, what makes yours ‘tick’?

Bonar: Er, good question! I think it’s that we just have a both have an inner desire or need to create and that’s were it all stems from. I don’t think it’s really about making ‘this’ or ‘that’ kind of thing, it’s just about making something that were into, however it ends up sounding.

Of course with all this success comes unavoidable fame – do you both genuinely enjoy the attention?

Bonar: Hahahahahaha!! I think you must have us confused with somebody else. My own mother can’t remember my name half the time!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Tom: At the age of 18 I once worked in a packaging factory. My role was unpacking video tapes from boxes and putting them on to a conveyor belt for 12 hours a day (night shift), seven days a week – I lasted two weeks!

If you weren’t making music constantly what do you think you’d both be doing with your lives?

Tom: Dolphin Trainers in Honolulu.

Your new track ‘Downstroke’ is currently riding high in the charts. Did the label (Hot Creations) encourage the low slung vibe, which represents your Leeds and Ibiza residencies, or was this always the aim of your next project?

Bonar: Kind of the latter really. We never really intended it to come out on Hot Creations. When we finished the track we sent it to two or three mates for their opinion on it, as it was a little bit different to what we’d done before and Jamie got back almost straight away and said he’d like to take it – we were pretty surprised to be honest.

You’ve shared dj booths with some illustrious company, including Theo Parish, Henrik Schwarz and Kerri Chandler, however who was the last dj that blew you away?

Tom: I caught Nicholas Jaar do his live/band thing recently, which was very cool. I always love checking out Maurice Fulton, he blows me away every time! I also really buzz off listening to my friends or people i know when checking out dj’s. As there is a connection/history there with that person, I find you can understand more about them and their musical mind through their sets (pretty deep!!).

Your Garden Festival debut was back in 2009, and after seeing the line up for this year, were you as impressed as the rest of us?

Tom: I think it was before that? This is our fifth year in a row (I think). The Garden Festival is absolutely ace, magical really. It’s a pleasure to be involved. The organisers and team involved are all a great bunch. It really does feel like there are doing it for all the right reasons. I’m not surprised the line up is so good, but yes, I’m equally as impressed.

Social media is now a fundamental vehicle for promoting music and artists. Do these platforms come naturally to you?

Bonar: Well neither of us are computer nerds, if that’s what you mean! I’m not really into the whole thing of people posting ‘Look at the sandwich I had for lunch’ and inane self-absorbed stuff like that, but on the other hand it’s a great new channel of self-expression for some people, and that can only be a good thing.

We presume that your 2012 calendar is set to be rather exciting, possibly defining, so is your own label on the horizon?

Bonar: Who knows, we’re just concentrating on making good music right now. I do think that it would be good have our own imprint, but I also know from working at 2020Vision for the last six years that to run a really good stand out label it’s pretty much a full-time job. So if I do it’s not something I’d take on lightly.

What do you find the difference is to playing to a crowd in Ibiza and a crowd in Leeds, apart from the weather, sound systems and other obvious bits?

Tom: I’m pretty sure there is a mass migration from Leeds to Ibiza in the summer! You see all the same faces in the clubs in Ibiza as in Leeds. It’s been great over the years playing at WeLove, as there is always a strong faithful of local support in front of the dj booth. You really notice (and I mean hear them) when they’re in the room with you.

What are your aspirations for the next year?

Bonar: Wrestle a bear?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!