Tucked into the basement of a house on the edge of Leschi’s Frink Park, a recording studio serves as home to One Family Inc. Productions and its understated “house band” Big World Breaks. Whereas most bands have some sort of frontman, this one has a drumming director: Aaron Walker-Loud.
Introduced in 2001 to Seattle break-dance crew Massive Monkees while working with bands Iguales and The Flood, he was later surprised by an invitation to back up a series of break-dance battles and workshops at Bumbershoot in 2004. Meshing extensive jazz training and hip-hop influences, Walker-Loud involved the newly formed Big World Breaks with dancers, then singers and eventually rappers, acting as studio musicians and live concert instrumentalists for local artists from Blue Scholars and Gabriel Teodros to Helladope and Dyme Def. In 2009 they released their debut album, 4 Those Lost, which featured nearly 30 guest artists.
“There are always going to be different types of featured vocalists or dancers or DJs that rotate in or out, but Big World Breaks enjoys being the home base for helping our town enjoy each others’ art,” he said, “and creating a place where all the different followers from different neighborhoods and cultures join each other on neutral ground through the music.”
Now employing a “rotating but tight-knit family” of musicians, Big World Breaks has been involved with large-scale concert collaborations since 2007. In 2009, its Summer and Winter Classic shows featured some of Seattle’s best and brightest hip-hop artists. This Saturday’s Spring Classic at Nectar Lounge includes longtime partners like Hi-Life Soundsystem and Spaceman, who hosted the first Classic. Helladope and Tiffany Wilson are newer additions, which Walker-Loud called “a long time coming.”
“I try to weave together a presentation where the artists are rotating and the product is more of a collection of themes and moods that everyone weaves in and out of,” says Walker-Loud. “It’s good to see heavyweights in the town being more interactive.”
Though combining MCs and backing bands has become more frequent in recent years, Walker-Loud is confident of the continuing potential of instrumental involvement in a continually evolving scene.
“Hip-hop was born out of people reinterpreting and re-envisioning musical tapestries to support new types of movement and new types of vocal work,” he said. “There’s a lot of potential for great hip-hop to happen when you blend live instruments with digital. The sky’s the limit—it just depends on the way the culture moves.”