2 Bad Mice was an electronic dance music
group composed of Sean O'Keefe
, Simon Colebrook
, and producer Rob Playford
. It is widely credited as one of the earliest pioneers of drum & bass
. Formed in 1991, the UK dance music scene was then centered around the hardcore
sound, and 2 Bad Mice brought in breakbeat
elements. Sampled breaks were cut up into each element (e.g. kick, snare, hihat) and spliced together in sped-up tempos. Rolling basslines and shrill helium vocals were layered on top. This laid down the blueprint from which jungle
and drum & bass would evolve from.
Their best known song is 1992's Bombscare. The hook, an infectious organ cadence, was supported by layered breakbeats and frenzied scratching. Its influence and popularity can be gauged by the numerous remixes. Other songs, such as Hold It Down, built mostly upon a sub-bass foundation then contrasted it with a sped-up sample of The Emotions singing I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love. Waremouse (their first song) on the other hand, used a harsh beat and a fairly minimalistic approach, which is closer to the hardstep ethos of today.
2 Bad Mice stopped releasing songs in the mid-1990's, as the hardcore scene faded away. This was due in part to the rise of jungle and drum & bass, since Playford owned Moving Shadow and his energies went there. The other two members went their separate ways and are occasionally involved with other musical projects.
Most of their releases are available only on vinyl, and due to their age are probably not easy to get a hold of, except possibly for Bombscare. However, in 1995 Sm:)e Communications released a best-of album titled Kaotic Chemistry. Interestingly enough, Playford had concurrently produced some songs under the Kaotic Chemistry name, which tended to be closer to hardcore than to breakbeat, so that choice of title for the album was slightly puzzling. The CD is very sparse, as there are no liner notes and a sticker is affixed to the jewel case cover. However, the content is well worth the purchase. One listen to it and you will be able to see where the music of today came from.