Armory Podcast 165.
Keith MacKenzie has emerged as one of the driving forces behind the global breakbeat scene, regularly gigging across the US and Europe. Now based in Chicago, Keith spent his formative years in the now legendary Florida rave scene racking up early credits on influential labels like DJ Icey’s Zone Records and After Dark before launching his own label. Illeven:Eleven Recordings, now in its 11th year of operations, built a reputation for releasing quality collaborations from a diverse roster of artists (Audiostalkers, Deekline & Ed Solo, Fixx, Infiniti, Bass Kleph, Gigi Barocco, Rico Tubbs, Sporty-O, Sue Cho and Whiskey Pete have all released on the label) making it a Beatport mainstay in the process. Under the informal moniker of KMFX alongside Fixx he’s gone on to release internationally on labels like Deekline’s Rat Records, as well as Punks, the venerable UK imprint formed by breakbeat stalwarts Stanton Warriors.
In 2012 Keith teamed up with long time creative collaborators Fixx and D:RC to form Smookie Illson, a new bass music alias for studio experiments that fall outside the rather strict umbrella of breakbeat music. After trying their hand at everything from electro house to moombahton (signing their first demos to Potty Mouth Music in the process) they found their footing in the EDM “trap” scene, churning out bootlegs and originals at a brisk pace and gaining steady support from fans and peers alike. Their 2013 bootleg remix of Yo Majesty’s ‘Club Action’ turned into one of the longest-running festival season selections, gaining support year after year from scene favorites like Skrillex & Diplo, Baauer, RL Grime, Brillz, and Loudpvck. 2015 saw Smookie Illson releasing their ‘Compound Riddims EP’ a highly-rated collab with the UK’s Ragga Twins on Play Me Records, as well as releases on Seattle’s Simplify Records and Australia’s Safari Music.
Over the past 15 years, breakbeat pioneer DJ Fixx has been stocking the shelves of record stores everywhere. Said by many as one of the most innovative and consistent producers in the industry, he continues to deliver some of the most sought after breakbeat tracks available. Making his debut in 1998, Fixx produced over 75 anthems on the classic Kaleidoscope Music label. Many of these timeless tracks are still played frequently today. This was then followed by Fixx’s own personal imprint, Bottom-End Records (2004-2008). Managed by Afterdark, the BER trademark produced some of the biggest anthems in the industry, easily claiming the spot of one of the top five best-selling domestic labels in the country. Alongside of Keith MacKenzie, Fixx is currently a leading producer for Keith’s illeven:eleven label. Frequent solo installments can be found on ILL, as well as collaborations with Keith under the production duo ‘KMFX’. With over 150 12-inch releases, over 300 exclusive digital releases, and twelve massively-distributed CDs under his belt, Fixx has assembled one impressive Discography. All of this resulting in one of the strongest and most loyal followings in the industry.
Artwork by Jem Panufnik