Coco Bryce may be a relatively new name to most in the UK, however he’s been plying his trade for around two decades. Hailing from Breda in the south of the Netherlands, it was back in the ‘90s when he first became enamoured with the sounds of breakbeat hardcore and gabber — the latter, he feels perhaps inevitable for a Dutch kid, despite it being at odds with the skater culture he was also a part of.“The raw energy just grabbed me,” he says.
Learning to DJ from his friends, Bryce (real name: Yoël Bego) got himself “a pair of shitty Soundlab belt-drive turntables”, started to pick up bookings at a mate’s local night, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Production-wise, Bego’s journey has been a winding one. Over the years he’s dabbled in four-to-the-floor hardcore, skweee and, quite regularly, hip-hop. It’s his emotive, rolling take on breakbeat hardcore/jungle which has become his primary focus, however. As jungle’s new wave has solidified into a certifiable movement, Bego has become one of the genre’s most sought-after producers, and though his output is still varied, he says, “I’m glad I went down this path, because it’s the type of music I enjoy making the most.
Bego’s junglistic sound involves typically intricate drum patterns, but ones that remain playful and full of groove, and his tracks are often backed by warm or melancholic pads, and peppered with squeaky, uplifting vox lines. “There’s just something about pitched vocals and a nice piano riff,” says Bego. “As long as it doesn’t get too cheesy, I can listen to that kind of stuff all day every day.”
When it comes to production, Bego explains he likes to keep things simple: “I reckon to a lot of people who are more used to slower, less frantic styles of dance music, it all might sound a couple notches too hectic and over the top — jungle and hardcore in general, I mean. But still what I always aim for is to keep it as minimal as possible... by which I mean, make do with as few elements as possible. Four or five layers of sounds at a time tops, and then try to keep things interesting by switching it up every couple of bars.“Every element has to be necessary,” he continues, “if I add stuff and feel like it doesn’t improve anything to the point where I couldn’t do without it, I’ll just delete it again.”
His approach is certainly working. Along with drops on his own Myor imprint — which he also uses as an outlet to support artists such as FFF and Necrotype — Bego has notched up releases on Dead Man’s Chest’s Western Lore, 7th Storey Projects and Fresh 86, the latter of which recently put out his latest full-length, ‘Night On Earth’. A stunning eight-track affair, the oldest tunes on the album actually date back to 2016, yet it superbly sums up the positive, laid-back vibe that Bego does so well. There’ll be plenty more in the jungle vein coming throughout the rest of 2019 too, from both Bego and Myor, and, he reveals, another diversion, this time into garage. Given his impeccable production chops, we imagine that’ll only be yet another string to his already heaving bow.