10 Questions with ... Bassnectar
July 1, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
1) Where are you from and where did the name Bassnectar come from?
I grew up in the Bay Area of California. There was an underground scene that floated around the Bay Area in the mid-'90s called Space Ship Gaya. It was kind of like promoting underground rave music, free parties and full moon parties. My friend Steve was the main editor and writer, and he used to go to Kinko's and photocopy stickers; he had a sticker that said "Butterfly beings drink Bassnectar" and I was always like, "Bassnectar, that's a cool word; if I ever have a band, I want to name it Bassnectar." Then one day I just said, "Hey -- I think it was 1998 -- I asked if I could get Bassnectar.net" and I did.
2) How did you get into DJ-jng and producing?
I listened to death metal in high school, and before that my entry level was Nirvana and Metallica. Within a couple days of hearing "Smells Like Teenage Spirit" and "Enter Sandman," I went and got a guitar. I took a couple of lessons and began pouring myself into heavy metal and death metal and I was always really into the creative side of recording. When my band would record a demo tape, I would sit with the engineer and figure out what he was doing. I got into electronic music my senior year of high school and basically just went and got turntables. I figured it out really quick and started playing with them. I studied electronic music at university, but I never really thought I would end up a performer or a DJ. I was more interested in making events happen. I just really like making the atmosphere for some kind of underground music event, and booking my friends to play music there, and it just organically built from that.
3) Speaking of events, you just came from Vegas where you did EDC. Can you tell us a bit what that was like?
Hundreds of thousands of people in a race track with exploding neon light everywhere ... it's very insane. I played there a couple of times and it's just as wild every time, if not more wild than the last year. It was bananas.
4) Speaking of wild, when you were a fan of Megadeth, Metallica, and Nirvana did you ever think you would be headlining a concert at Madison Square Garden ... wwhen is your MSG show?
Never once ... maybe in the basement of a library I would be playing for 10 people but never would I have thought of anything like that. MSG will be October 4th; it is our 8th Bass Center event where we pick a destination and fans come from far and wide and we build an extra special production show, and book a heavier lineup then normal, full of great performers;I am fans of their music. It's going to be a smashing event.
5) You have a new album that just came out. What can you tell us about the album and is there a favorite song of yours on the it?
Noise vs. Beauty is the name of it. It is really hard to pick favorites partly because I try and unleash as diverse an expression of my musical interests as possible, so there is very hard and very soft and very deep and very loud and everything in between. I kind of feel most comfortable with the album being in its entirety because I couldn't really pick one song that would represent what I am feeling right now. The album itself is the perfect representation to me and I felt really happy with it
6) "You & Me" is starting to get tons of airplay around the country. What can you tell us about that song?
I still get goosebumps every time I play it. I sing it in my head all the time and it's just such a piece of magic. I don't really identify with it from an egotistical "Like yeah, I made a great song," but more like, "Fuck, I love listening to that song so much and it was so fun to create". Working with Jade from AFI, he did the guitar work. I worked with several vocalists and the final one was Haley. I had a whole other song built around the music and she came in with this idea of "You & Me" and at first I was thinking it was a cliché. I had heard so many other songs called "You & Me," but it was a pretty basic concept. For me, it is not really a love song as much as it is a song about friendship, loyalty and being together until the end through thick and thin. It really kind of came out as a lush kind of indie rock summer anthem remix sound; I am really happy with it. I feel like it certainly represents one side of my style which is that Ellie Goulding "Lights" remix or "Magical World" or that kind of softer, lusher butterfly style of music.
7) Speaking of remixes, is there a favorite remix that you have done to date and are there any remixes that you are working on that you can talk about?
Playing the "Seek and Destroy" remix just for the response. I played it the first year I played Coachella and the mosh pit that took over that entire Sahara tent was pretty memorable but I love remixing so yeah there's a lot of remixes. These days the way my live set is set up its all one kind of massive live remix. I have all these different samples and loops and sounds and songs cut up into an infinite array of a grid that I can layer and re-layer anyway I want. All of those clips are assigned to and sync'd with video clips. I am just kind of up there, like a big sound collage, and I could take guitar loop from the Deftones or an orchestra from Beethoven or a vocal from Lauren Hill or whatever and just kind of go to town.
8) In the 10-plus years you have been putting out music, is there an artist you haven't worked with that you would love to be able to?
Someone asked me that recently and I was thinking that I would like to go to the site of the Daily Show and just be an assistant for Jon Stewart. I think he is so amazing and I don't even need to artistically contribute or do anything musical; I just want to make sure his show keeps happening because I love that show.
9) Is there a favorite place you like to DJ, either a city or a venue?
There's no one favorite for me because I love all the extremes. I love Red Rocks and the Gorge. Love Madison Square Garden and I love Lollapalooza and Coachella and all of that, but then I also love down-and-dirty Tuesday night in Kansas City or Kentucky or Alabama ... just some crazy buck wild room where it potentially means even more to people because they don't get as many acts coming through town so all of it is really fun.
10) You've mentioned that you like hiking and biking. What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you even have spare time?
That's it! If I can relax and have good conversations with my friends, go hiking around in California, ride my bike and just enjoy the sunlight, that's the best for me. Life is so fast-paced; traveling all the time is fun but exhausting. Anything I can do just to unplug from the Internet and be a little bit normal, that's what I love.
Taking your Producer/Remixer/DJ hat off and becoming a fan, if you could go out tonight and hear one DJ spin who would it be?
Well quite honestly, having never seen a Bassnectar show, I would really like to see a Bassnectar show.
What is one-must have travel item?
That is so easy, I have a 20-inch box fan with its own suitcase that I use to sleep so that I can sleep in any room regardless of outside noise and it creates kind of like a hypnotic purr and I fall right asleep.
What's your favorite restaurant or a recommendation of a restaurant you would give?
Honesty not for exotic value or even for gourmet value but just for reliability, I recommend Whole Foods because I try to eat there everywhere I go because I know I can get organic food and they are popping up all over the place.