A Sit Down With DJ Bassnectar
If youve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of Lorin Ashton, better known as Bassnectar, then today is your lucky day. The electronic music producer has recently opened up in an interview with Westword, where he revealed a less-than-thrilled hot take on the dynamics of the current EDM scene, weighed in on his cult-like following, and more.
"Im pretty inspired, actually borderline obsessive when it comes to creating. I think about music all the time. I dream about it, so its never been like what I can be inspired by; its more like massive to do lists."
How did you start?
The terrain was so different when I was starting. The definition of a DJ was changing. I was in college training to be a guidance counselor or possible high school teacher and I began throwing free raves out in the woods and in warehouses.
How often do you fail in what you're doing?
Let's see. I don't feel a sense of failure very often. I don't actually think of it. Maybe I do and I don't notice. I don't know. I wouldn't want to say I never fail, but I never feel like I'm wallowing in failure. I think creativity is not really about winning or failing. I don't feel like I won, and I don't feel like I failed. I feel like I was creative.
Who is a DJ you admire?
Si Begg. I begged him for YEARS to come out to SF, and when he finally did he made my JAW DROP.
But i admire him even more as a producer. I am pretty bored with DJs, i must say. Also i admire FreQ Nasty, not only for being an ambassador of style, but for staying committed to using music as a magnification glass for social change. Z Trip is the shit too! (and dear good god some of these dub step producers are SO rocking me Reso, Rusko, UGNH!!!) I would like to see Mr Oizo or Mr Scruff. Coldcut is a genius operation. Come to think of it, there are probably zillions of pure genius acts slaying it right now, but i am on tour full time so i dont really see shows. So i dont know what I`m even talking about!
Do you feel like EDM has a political role at all?
Well, to be clear, I 100 percent don't feel like I'm any part of EDM any more than I'm part of hip-hop or rock and roll. And I don't mean that coyly, like I'm dancing around the reality. I really, truly have never felt like I was a part of that. Even in 2012, when I was doing interviews and a whole interview was about EDM and Skrillex and deadmau5, of course I would respond to them, but that doesn't mean that I had any business weighing in. Like if you asked me, "Do you think hip-hop should do da, da, da? Should Kendrick Lamar do blah, blah, blah? What do you think about Drake's new blah, blah, blah?" it would be kind of silly for me to respond. Or if you said, "What do you think about talk shows today? How is Stephen Colbert doing versus Johnny Carson or blah, blah, blah?" I don't know. I watch them, but I don't have anything to say. I don't speak on behalf of comedians or rock stars or EDM stars or anything. I feel EXTREMELY and you can put that in all caps disinterested in EDM. There are very few EDM artists who I like musically. There are very few EDM artists who I'm impressed [with] or intrigued by their personality or what they're projecting. But there are some artists who are making electronic music who are absolutely fantastic. And there's more and more underground artists who God knows what the fuck to call them are just very talented.
What do you think of digital dj technology?
It`s awesome. In some senses, it changes the sport whereas one of the GOALS used to be beat matching, that is now pretty irrelevant. And its sad, if your sport was showing off how wonderfully you can beat match, because that has really become obsolete. Although i can beat match as instantaneously as the next DJ, i dont give an ats rasss about doing it and making people watch me do it. Im rather much more interested in creating and collecting awesome sounds, and layering, combining and broadcasting them as a means to conjure up an energetically cathartic experience for other humans.
Are there any really exciting new ideas emerging in underground dance music today?
I am really excited about combinations of existing forms of sound. The more fearlessly we explore these combinations, the more wild and imaginary our results. Strict rules bother me and bore me. Although i tend to refer to Bassnectar as omnitempo maximalism which means any or all speeds, time signatures, and rhythms, and every sound source possible, i seem to gravitate towards really heavy tempos, lots of play with double time and half time, and using electronic methods to embellish and reinforce other styles of music.
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