The Short Story
Why would any producer/DJ duo name themselves Bread & Beats?
Well first, no. One guy doesn’t go by “DJ Bread” and the other, “Mr. Beats.” What kind of a name would “DJ Bread” be? And “Mr. Beats”? Yikes! (If you happen to be reading this, and actually do go by the name “DJ Bread,” or “Mr. Beats,” we’re sorry. We actually think those names are really cool. We just didn’t want to copy you…)
Anyway, the name Bread & Beats came from the work that the duo began long ago, that has evolved into a music career. Bread & Beats Music is made up of Brandon “b.side” Anthony, and James “DJ Havcutz” Wright Jr. These two have worked together in a variety of ways over the past twenty years, but it was really their connection in the Christian church that brought them together as a DJ duo and production team. You might ask, “How in the world did church inspire these guys to play and produce electronic beats?” Here’s how it went down…
DJ Havcutz - 2002
b.side - 2003
Ages ago (about twenty years ago, they’re not THAT old), these two connected as resident DJ’s for the Hollywood-version of the world-famous Club Chemistry. Havcutz rocked the Hip Hop floor, while b.side lit up the House Music floor. Hearing each other play different music genres with differing styles, really challenged each of them to grow in their respective craft. They noticed that each one made the other one better. So, they kept connecting. Around that time, b.side was opening up his studio, and the two began working together producing and remixing various Hip Hop and R&B artist, local to the Los Angeles area. At that time, b.side was doing most of the production, and Havcutz complimenting the work with his scratches, but then also doing a lot of the artist and studio marketing. Over the years, things changed dramatically.
Circumstances of life have a funny way of changing perspective. Both Brandon and James had to endure some pretty compelling life-situations after they began working together in music. Times got dark. The studio shut down. DJ’ing wasn’t a part of the thought process. Their faith in Jesus Christ took them through that season. Both guys made it their priority to focus on the Bible, serving in ministry through the church, rebuilding their families, and basic things like that. They tried to separate from music, but music wouldn’t let them go too far.
Through their church and ministry experience, people found out that they came from DJ backgrounds, and that excited them. James and Brandon were called for various street outreaches, and things like that. They were the Christian DJ novelty that made kids excited about doing something “religious” or “spiritual.” The guys had fun, but in the end, it all seemed kind of fake and insincere. Brandon and James appreciated the attempt to reach out, but the attitudes about the style of music they played, and criticisms that took place behind closed doors in the church, really forced the guys to take a hard look at how they would approach music and ministry.
After several years of trying to figure this out, they came to the realization that, if they were going to do music, they would have to do it their way, and deviate from some uptight church traditions. They would have to work with music they liked to play: The jazzy, funky, soulful groovy stuff that made people dance and sing with joy. Being motivated by their Christian faith, they knew that there was some music and environments, that were simply off-limits. But that didn’t mean all music was evil. They knew that both the secular and Christian artists were doing “sinful” things. So, from a DJ perspective, they concluded that, if they could just focus on the beats, life with music could be simpler, more inspiring, and spiritually productive.
That thought-process led them to the creation of “The Bread & Beats Mixshow.” Havcutz and b.side had a hard time fitting into the culture of the modern church. Their work in ministry was Biblical, but mostly independent of any traditional church structure or denomination. They formed the Proper Knowledge Initiative, which was a ministry committed to teaching the truth of the Bible in a dialect that their culture could identify with. The Bread & Beats Mixshow was a podcast they started in order to answer Bible questions truthfully and candidly. They called it “The Bread & Beats Mixshow,” because it was a show that provided “the Bread of Life,” referring to truthful Bible-teaching, communicated over dope beats, with DJ mixes. It wasn’t rocket science.
As the podcast evolved and grew in popularity, the guys had to start doing all of the other things that social media content producers have to do – produce content. They were making videos to promote the ministry and podcast, so they needed background beats for that stuff. They made their own. Every now and then, one of those background loops turned into a beat, and got slotted into one of the DJ mixes on the podcast. After a while the guys realized, they were back in the DJ culture, and producing music again. Since this all kind of happened as a result of the podcast, they figured it was appropriate to just stick with the name that started it all. Hence, Bread & Beats Music…
So now, the guys are in this music thing full-time, while still balancing the requirements of their ministry and podcast. They’re making music the way they want, that they like to hear, trusting that other people might dig it too. They’re not compromising their faith. In fact, they’re using this music as a platform to teach the Bible, while also showing that Christians can get down with the funk too. The aim before, was to play all the clubs and venues. They did that, and it didn’t really mean anything in the end. The aim before was to make a bunch of money, making beats. They did that too, and again, in the end, it didn’t really mean anything. Now, they just make beats useful for their ministry needs, but also that they think fit well into the background of any life situation; figuring that every life-situation could use a little more funky joy, a little more flavor, a little more groove, and a lot more dancing! Especially for Christian! Don’t true Christians have the most compelling reason to dance, based on what Biblical faith teaches?
Today, they’re working on instrumental music that crosses various genres like house music, drum n’ bass, hip hop, downtempo, acid jazz, mushroom jazz, lo-fi, and so forth. They’re also working on bringing those musical influences to the traditional “worship music” genre, remixing some of those classics, to see if the Christian community wouldn’t mind praising the LORD to a different tempo, with some different sounds, that might make peeps dance, and not just sway…