Many things we love the most aren’t that good for us. However, music is one definite exception to that rule. Everyone has THAT one song in their playlist that defines them, makes them happy, or picks them up when their emotions and situations hit rock bottom.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought chaos to our lives, and nationwide lockdowns have confined us to limited spaces with our movements criminally restricted. Functioning under such conditions has also brought a halt to socialization and physical interactions.
Lack of conversations has made us anxious, panicky, and even made people think, say, or do things that they might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances. But thankfully, we have had great music to keep us sane and motivated to pave through these difficult times.
Music has the transportive power to conjure up every possible emotion within us. It can take us to unimaginable heights, console us in our grief or loneliness, get our bodies moving, and bring peace and calm to our hearts. Music also has the power to improve our health and well-being, which simply increases its awesomeness.
The guys at 'Breathe & Bass' have taken the empirical prowess of Drum & Bass Music to create an experience that is a first of its kind in the DRUM & BASS fraternity. We had seen Drum & Bass being used for power workouts but this is an experience that will help people to reduce stress, worries, and anxiety with an impeccable selection of deep and melodic musical Liquid Drum & Bass.
‘Breathe & Bass’ is an initiative to support greater awareness and access to the positive benefits of meditation and breathing by utilizing a genre of music that stirs the soul and provides space to move, dance, or relax.
We caught up with Matt Bossa, the man behind this amazing concept to understand his thoughts behind creation of ‘Breathe and Bass’. Read carefully because it is a wonderful read.
1. What was the inspiration behind the creation of 'Breathe and Bass'?
I have been a DJ and promoter for 17 years building a reputation as Bassfunk for the funky, musical end of the Drum & Bass spectrum and bringing positive and inclusive atmospheres wherever I played across the UK. We were the first night in the southwest UK to book acts like High Contrast, Calibre, and Marcus Intalex when it was very much an underground sound within the Drum & Bass scene. In the last few years, it had been amazing to see a whole new generation taking up the liquid baton. The quality of production and musicality from labels currently is next level, and as someone who needs to ‘feel’ the emotion of the music, it really hits the spot! Alongside this, I have been on a journey personally being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that impacts my everyday life - from panic attacks to shut myself down emotionally, and at points struggling to leave the house. I began to think about how I could reduce the triggers and what strategies helped. Losing myself in the mix and how a flow of music can have a major effect on both my feelings and thoughts and basically was bringing me to a mindful sense of wellbeing. My partner is a Kundalini yoga teacher (trained in India), and she taught breathing and grounding techniques such as yoga Nidra (body scan) and about Prana. I became interested in how musically certain frequencies can influence our ‘vibration’ and what we bring attention to with our energy can be both positive and negative which then influenced how I try to construct a journey within a mix which allows the feelings to be felt and processed being left with more of a sense of peace! These mixes helped me when walking, driving, or taking time out in nature - I particularly love being in the woods! The lockdown and rise of stress kickstarted the idea into actualization and things began to rapidly connect! Met lovely people - my tribes - such as pyxis and Om&Bass who really helped cement the idea into something that has a real presence in making exciting plans for the future as it feels pretty unique both in the Drum & Bass and yoga worlds! I have been connecting with a variety of yoga and meditation teachers and Drum & Bass producers who may have had similar struggles in the past and following our live online set at Om&Bass [video below]. I am keen to build a reputation and focus point for both live sets with teachers and develop the mix series to incorporate different flows, moods and meditation disciplines with the genre that I find lifts my soul.
2. We've come across people having collective workouts in sync with Drum & Bass, but it's the first time that the genre is being used to help people heal mentally, spiritually and emotionally. What are your thoughts?
I would say that drum & bass has always been used in a healing and spiritual way - the connection and vibe and community has grown and evolved into something worldwide, diverse and beautiful, and I am proud to be a part of it all. I still get so excited to hear a fresh tune from artists I love! What I see as a difference in 2020 and beyond is that the music is coming out of the clubs and it’s perception as drug music. The musicality of the genre is so wide that it is not only being heard by ravers and young people, but there is the original generation who have those positive memories but lifestyles change and this now means that it’s being brought into the sunshine! I’m also seeing MCs and Vocalists being able to facilitate those powerful emotional responses and the messages are about unity, love, and even difficult topics such as heartbreaks and transformation. Artists like Bcee, Etherwood, and Hybrid minds have captured the hearts of a new generation and are giving much needed emotional outlets for young and old Drum & Bass fans alike. What Breathe & Bass is trying to achieve is to take that one step further and give a new generation the skills through mindfulness, breath work, meditation and yoga in a music package that they already feel the connection too. Also, we want to make that experience as authentic as possible utilizing the traditions and teachings that they might not feel able to access as it is too ‘alternative’. This will hopefully help reduce mental health issues and provide a different kind of positive feeling rather than use drugs or alcohol to feel connected which ultimately can have its negative cost. I think it is amazing that drum & bass is being used for so much more than club music now. I have seen some real creativity especially during the lockdown period, and I think the tribal sounds of the drums deserve to be spread far and wide! Ultimately music is medicine and brings so many benefits. Breathe & Bass have only just begun to understand how this can be used to improve wellbeing. We might be one of the first, but we won’t be the last I’m sure!
The first edition of ‘Breathe & Bass’ is curated by Marisa Jade aka pyxis, who helped Matt actualize the concept of ‘Breathe & Bass’. We caught up the talented DJ and producer to know her thoughts on ‘Breathe & Bass’ and her mix.
1. You're going to start this wonderful Initiative. What was your reaction when you were approached for the first edition of Breathe & Bass?
I first started speaking to Matt about Breathe & Bass back in May when he was promoting the page. I jumped on him because I LOVED the concept and wanted to help get the brand about. It was really from the start that he asked me to do a mix and I was like ‘hell yeah!!’ and I did it straight away because it’s everything I love about music - the most chilled of beats and a way to find peace in all of it.
2. What was your approach while putting the mix together?
I already had the songs in my head, I had just heard Facing Jinx’s new album and had fallen completely in love with it. I knew Philth had done some gorgeous interludes on his Moments In Time album too, so that was the starting point for the mix. I had also just received Satl’s new Integral release and again, was mesmerized by its beauty. Everything just slotted into place in my head and I had to include some of my other favourites too, with Paragov and Memories Don’t Fade, plus the Chimera remix I did and the forthcoming colab with Focal Tone just all seemed to gel perfectly together. I struggled to finish the mix because I was falling asleep doing it hahaha.
For the mix, pyxis has seamlessly combined spine-tingling melodies, silky smooth soundscapes and deep basslines to create a breath-taking set.
The guys at Breathe & Bass have some awesome things coming, so keep you eyes peeled.