Most of you know him as Breakbeat Lou the co-founder of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series, those close know him as Louis Flores, a gentleman that is extremely humble and carries himself in a very respectable manner. To us here at the office he’s Butta Brother #3, a man who was born in a pre-Hip Hop era and experienced urban culture to the fullest, everything from ghetto kids Playing stick ball and in fire hydrants to when the Schwinn Stingray bicycle was the Rolls Royce of 2 wheels. The days when Saturday afternoons meant jumping on the iron horse and riding downtown to catch double feature Kung Fu flicks at theaters long since gone such as the Empire, Cine 42, New Amsterdam and the Lyric to name a few. When 42nd Street was a carnival for the anything goes and nobody knows what the hell is going on landscape in comparison to today’s Disney Land as it stands today. Way before the media or masses put a tag or label of ”cool” on what we have already been doing Lou has pretty much seen it all.
By now you should already know everything there is to know about the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series and have heard all of the fabled rumors and mysteries surrounding lost volumes, you also know that this man has very deep crates, fact is he’s partially the reason why most of you ‘dig’ for records anyway. But what most of you don’t know outside of all this record business is the man himself and where he comes from, what experiences from yesterday made him into who is today so where excited to introduce to you this interview with Breakbeat Lou.
In brief please tell us in your own words who Louis Flores is.
Louis Flores which technically it’s Luis Flores is a man that was born in El Barrio Metropolitan Hospital to be exact; the second child of a young Puerto Ricanos couple Father who worked in the auto industry and a mother who to this day even though she’s no longer here, remains to be the person that God mode me after…. If that makes any sense. My Hero!
Growing up in a pre-Hip Hop era tell us about the visual surroundings of what your neighborhood looked like.
Well for me it was all about having fun to the fullest. I really enjoyed my childhood. The first couple of years I lived in El Barrio. Being there was like everyone in the hood was FAM. We lived in a 3 stories building with a perfect bottom step to play “Off the Point”. Our hood hosted one of the best bakery you can ask for plus the Eagle Theater which is where I saw The 5 Fingers of Death the first 10 times!
As a youth what was a typical Saturday afternoon for you?
In the summer it usually started out with a fight (friendly fight) between mom and me, reason being she wanted me to eat breakfast but I just wanted to go out and start the festivity. It would consist of a game called punch-ball or maybe regular baseball or stick ball that would be like 8am to let’s say 11am or so. Then I would hear the infamous “Loooouuuiieeeeee Lunche!!!!! Sube!!!” Meaning, it’s time for lunch come upstairs. The rest of the year it was breakfast while watching Broadcast TV (Channels 2,4,5,7,9,11,13,21,25, UHF 41 & 47) on a 13” B&W TV. Shows like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Scooby’s All Star Laff-a- Lympics, Shazam/Isis Hour, Superfriends and Hong Kong Phooey to name a few. That was in the 70’ now in the 80’ we all know that beside the aforementioned 3pm was time for Channel 5 Saturday Drive-In Movie aka Kung-Fu Cinema!!!!
I know as a kid just like many in urban areas such as New York and Philadelphia we played street games such as Skullies (Skully, Dead Man, Dead Block, Coolie), Hot Peas & Butta, stickball and others to occupy your time, what were some of the ones that you remember playing or seeing in the streets?
Yea man!!!!! Besides Scully (that’s with the NY BX ascent) and the others you mentioned we also played Ring-o-Leavio (1-2-3) Steal the Bacon, Kick the Can, Tag – Freeze Tag, Johnny on the Pony and the nice mandatory co-ed game Run-Catch & Kiss!!!!! Lol!!!!
As a kid having a bike meant everything, which bikes do you remember as the ones to have?
This question really hits my heart, due to that fact that we didn’t have money like that. My family live very modestly and buying a brand new bike was an impossibility. I save up some change until I reached a dollar and I play the numbers which meant I made a bet with the local bookie the #7 straight for NY which was a 7 to 1 winning. It’s safe to say that I won and with those winnings I went and purchased A used Raleigh Chopper bike (black with banana seat with sissy pole) without one pedal which I adapted a metal pipe with duct tape!!!!!
As you started reaching your teen years, fashion and looking good was becoming a part of your daily routine, what were some of the fresh fits that was relevant during that time?
Well let’s start with Pro-Keds 69’s ($9.98) with Lee Jeans and Jacket (in our hood Fordham Rd area we had a store called Martin bros that had the signature series “Onyx” Patch Lees”), BVDs and Mock Necks. Then we would rock Clyde Pumas leather black on white came out ($24.99), Adidas ($39.99), The Playboys and British Walkers with the AJs and two Tone Overlaps pants still kicking Mock Necks the two tons of course and started rocking Chams de Baron.
And you can also don’t forget the Sweat Shirts with the Crew Names, the Track suits (Puma/Adidas) and last but not lease the leisure suits. To top it off the Kangos, Chauffeurs Hats, Adjustable Strap Baseball Caps.
When you became old enough to start catching the train and riding into Manhattan’s Times Square, specifically the 42nd Street area were you going to the theaters to catch Kung Fu flicks as were most youth during that time or was there another agenda such as buying records or shopping?
Without giving away my age, lol!!! By ’73 I was already going to the duce!!!! When we went to the duce, the reason was always the movies; Downstairs and Music Factory was the stops on our way home.
Let’s talk about house parties for a second because that’s something that most people have never experienced which was a natural thing in our neighborhoods. These were social gatherings that started with our parents having family and friends over to drink, dance and play card games and to us as youth bringing in turntables for people to dance to in dark basements with only a red light bulb or lights from the amps as a source of seeing. What do you remember most about these parties and what music was playing during that time?
Hahaha!!!! My house was the party house on the block. We had parties for everything besides the regular parties like B-Day, graduation and holidays, we had rent parties, beginning of summer parties. My house being biggest on our block even if it wasn’t our party per say my mom would let our friends in the hood have their parties at our house.
Music is a big part of your life, what year did you really become involved with collecting and playing records for people to dance to? Because most people take your name in the literal sense, “Break Beat Lou” and think that you only spin breaks, yet you are a man that plays music of all genres for people to dance to, not necessarily to show your skills off to people at a party.
My love for music I inherited from my mom; she came to the states in the early ‘50s so she was up on everything from Chuck Berry to Dion. My earliest recollection of a records all the Motown joint but what has been the corner stone of my love for music is The Four Seasons’ “Beggin” (which I still own my mom’s copy today 7”). From there she exposed me to all genres of music. When I finally got behind the deck in ’74 my pallet for music very seasoned. Being blessed to love all genres that entailed me to have the “keep the people dancing” mindset is embedded in my DNA. I only know one way to spin and that’s to make sure that those who are there leave with a musical story of the night and hurting feet!!!! Lol!!!
Being a person who has seen the many changing faces of New York from its landscapes and sceneries, what are some of the goods and bad’s that you’ve witnessed? Being that New York is a mecca, do you feel that the city has lost some of its uniqueness, character and flavor that it once had? Times Square isn’t times as it once stood, does that same creative energy still flow throughout the city?
Wow that’s a heavy subject; the thing I feel what has suffered the most is the sense of community as a whole. The landscapes and sceneries were enterable to change but when the whole drug game becoming a bigger part of our lives that broken that mode. The mindset of a neighborhood co-raises a child went out the window along with respect your elders …..we can do a whole other interview on the subject alone, so I’ll leave it at that!
To most DJ’s there collections mean the world to them but as a man who has seen it all and probably has it all where does family rate with you in comparison to those DJ’s collections?
I’m glad you asked that question. Here is the way I lived my life since ‘98 God 1st and foremost, my family, and then everything else. I gave up the game totally when it treated my life with my family. It took me years to mature and realize that without God I’m nothing. In addition, what kind of person I would be if I didn’t appreciate God blessing me with my family and music, the only way to do that is to put them in their respected priority order!
Any last words or things you want to touch on or mention that you want the readers to know about you?
Continue being a student; I know I am!