Ben Jacobs is better known to many under the alias of Crackazat and originally from the English city of Bristol. He first made a name for himself on the Futureboogie label, which also based in Bristol, signed music from the likes of Julio Bashmore, Crazy P and Outboxx.
In recent years Crackazat has perhaps become best known for his releases on Sweden’s Local Talk following his two critically acclaimed albums on the imprint, the second of which was released in recent months.
Along with radio support from the likes of Pete Tong, Crackazat’s tracks and remixes can also be found on labels ranging from Josh Wink’s Ovum to Joey Negro’s Z Records.
Having been impressed by Crackazat’s second album we caught up with him to chat about his background in music and the album making process…
> For the people reading this who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your style, and the key elements that define it?
I’m a jazz musician and house producer. I combine these two elements to create a musical, and melodic dance music with a heavy swing.
> I’ve been told that early in your career you where an official warm up act for Floating Points, how did that come about, and do you think it had any influence of where you are now?
My origins are in Bristol, where I was part of a group of DJs and promoters called Falling Up.
One of the DJ’s was an old friend of FP’s and booked him to play in Bristol, and suggested I open with a live set. I have been following FP since the myspace days, and this gig happened around the time he released his Shadow EP, and I had had my first remix.
> You recently released your second album titled Rainbow Fantasia on Local Talk, how would you describe it, and any concepts behind it?
With Rainbow Fantasia, I set out with the intention to create a larger and cohesive piece of work with a strong concept and recognisable sound throughout.
It is a musical, synth based exploration in to deep house music.
> In 2015 you released your debut album Crescendo also on Local Talk, how would you compare this new album to your first?
Crescendo was a broad compilation album of the Crackazat music I had made to date.
It includes both my earlier hip hop/electronic beats, and my new found interest in house.
The tracks cover a period of around 6 years.
In Rainbow Fantasia, I have taken the latter genre, and made a concept album in one year.
> The music you make is rich in both melody and musicianship; could you give a bit of background about your musical training, and any specific bits of of equipment you use?
I started out playing guitar and bass in my early teens, and wrote music in a band. In my later teens I developed an interest in jazz and started exploring jazz piano and harmony. I then went on to study jazz full time at university. As a producer I use Ableton Live, and create all of my synths sounds using Ableton software. I don’t have any other equipment besides a basic sound card, microphone and my guitars.
> Is there a story behind the name Crackazat, and have you ever released music under any other aliases?
I only release under the name Crackazat. It has a history that began 15 years ago.
My last name is Jacobs, and in England there is a brand of crackers (to eat) called Jacobs Crackers.
My gym teacher at secondary school used to call me Crackers. A few years later I was looking for an artist name for my early hip hop beats, and this memory came back. I then came up with the name Crackazat.
> Do you have any other releases or big gigs lined up for the coming few months that we should be watching out for?
I am currently taking some time to consider my next full release.
That said, my vinyl single “Coffee Time” from last year has just been released digitally, and I also have forthcoming remixes.
> Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, we like to finish our interviews with a couple of questions that are a little bit light hearted… without getting to personal, could you tell us something many don’t know about you?
In 1990 I went to Lanzarote.
> You don’t need to mention names, but what’s the most “outrageous” thing you have ever seen happen in a club… was it something outrageously brilliant, like a blindfolded DJ mixing seamlessly and scratching with his elbows, or something outrageously cringe-worthy, like some embarrassing drunk guy urinating on the dancefloor?
My strongest memory took place not in a club but a live music venue.
Back in 2007, I was about to play my last ever gig with my childhood band “The Downs”. We were a group of close friends (including my brother) who had played and written together throughout are teenage years.
During our final number, the crowds energy escalated and they began climbing on the stage; dancing and jumping.
Half way through the song I heard a huge thump. As all our instruments seemed to be working we continued playing. Turned out that one of the main speakers had fallen off its rack, and crashed to the ground. Unbelievably, it didn’t land on anyone.