I Hear Places experiments with breakcore genre

LC student, producer, meme page curator talks new music, dubstep influences, Portland rave culture

I Hear Places poses in front of graffiti
Courtesy of I Hear Places

I Hear Places (IHP) is a breakcore producer who attends Lewis & Clark. In their bio, IHP describes themselves as a “Non-binary musician and artist at the frontiers of rave culture.”

Breakcore is a genre of “undanceable dance music” that features irregular time signatures and intricate, sped-up samples. However, those attributes do not begin to explain the complex and often psychedelic effect the music has on the listener. IHP’s complex, textured music is no different. 

IHP became interested in making music at a young age. Inspired by artists such as Skrillex, they began experimenting with dubstep influenced music. 

“I’ve been making music since I was about 12 or 13,” IHP said. “When I heard what Skrillex and all the other dubstep producers around that time in like 2012, 2013 were doing, I was like, ‘I want to make that.’ And from there was the gateway to me experimenting.” 

Their creative process really depends on the song, though an overarching theme in their music is maximalism. 

“Just starting out with an initial idea or a sample in my music and then adding elements until it coalesses into a recognizable song,” IHP said. “It’s all one fixed creative process though. It really just starts with something and builds up from there. I just see what sounds good and take out what doesn’t. Mostly I just leave it in, because I make very maximalist music.” 

Although their work is mainly within the breakcore genre, they are inspired by other obscure subgenres.

“You know shoegaze? You know witchouse?” they asked. “I want to make the breakcore equivalent to that.” 

In five years, their plan is to be at a place where they can support themself with their art and perform in interesting live shows. They have played live “sporadically,” but find themselves limited by college, personal life and mental health. They are taking a gap year after they graduate in 2023, and hope to focus on their music then.

Their biggest musical inspiration is either SOPHIE or Bladee, and they are most proud of making the song “Religion.” Similar to the works of those artists, “Religion” is high-pitched and fast-paced, to the point of inducing anxiety in many listeners.

Additionally, IHP also runs a meme page, the often esoteric and insular @pdxbreakcoreposting.

“The meme page was something I never expected to blow up, besides like five people who I thought would like it,” IHP said.  “It was me trying to point out the obvious absurdities in this beautiful, creative niche DIY scene. I never expected that people would actually like it.”

To IHP, memes are a wonderful anarchist form of communication. Various subcultures often overlap in the meme scene, giving them a fun avenue to experiment beyond music. 

“That’s another aspect of the Portland breakcore scene that’s unique,” IHP said. “Most other scenes like rave and punk are separate in most cities. Granted, I’ve only lived in San Franciso and Utah, but what I can tell is Portland is the only scene in the country where there’s this huge crossover between hardcore punk and the rave scene.”

They also enjoy the rave scene, which they say is a welcoming place for various types of people. One such memorable rave they went to was back in March, located  at a “large industrial area” in Portland.

“I remember it the most because I met one of my best friends there,” IHP said. “Raves are cool, but I think the purpose behind them is ultimately to bring people together who are otherwise just outcasts, especially queer trans people. It’s such a welcoming and safe space and I feel like if you take away nothing else from this interview, the music exists so that people can party and have cool connections with each other.”

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