Jason Ayers on His Drum 'n' Bass Addiction, Hatred of Brostep, After-Hours Parties, and Why Newbie DJs Need Vinyl Experience
If you've walked by Bar Smith on a recent Wednesday evening and had your eardrums assaulted, its probably Jason Ayers' fault.
Jason Ayers (a.k.a. DeepFreq and Consumer C.)
The bass-loving beat-juggler and his long-running SubConscious night have (literally) been shaking the downstairs walls at the downtown Phoenix club with a storm of subharmonics and plenty of thrum. While the hipsters and moombah cats reign supreme up on the Bar Smith rooftop during The Scenario, Ayers and such cohorts as Issa and Dehga blast out drum 'n' bass and jungle tracks.
SubConscious hasn't been the only place to catch Ayers doing his thing, as he's a longtime veteran of the local DJ scene dating back to the early '90s. The dude's also an after-hours impresario who's both put on and performed at underground parties and wee hours wingdings for well over a decade.
Ayers recently spoke with Up on the Sun about his love of D'n'B, the after-hours scene, his abhorrence of the current popularity of dubstep, and other topics.
Name: Jason Ayers
AKA: DeepFreq/Consumer C
Current gigs: Taking a break from the weekly this summer to focus on production. We'll be doing a Sub:Con Afterhours series starting in June.
Preferred EDM genres: As Deepfreq -- jungle, drum & bass: neurofunk, minimal, halftime, liquid funk. As Consumer C -- '80s freestyle, early '90s funk, classic hip-hop, dub reggae.
How did you get into the DJ game?
Back in high school, I was into car stereos and building speaker boxes. I had a large collection of CDs I'd always have in the car. I would always figure out a way to take over the stereo at house parties. I really enjoyed changing the whole mood of an environment just by changing up the music. Around the same time I would go to all-ages afterhours events at The Works and Atomic Cafe, looked up to DJs like Markus Schulz and DJ Randall (RIP). I started collecting vinyl, but didn't buy Technics turntables until 1998.
The main reason I took up DJ'ing -- I wasn't hearing locals play the styles of drum 'n' bass that I was into at the time.
What's your musical background?
I was into playing guitar and producing before DJing.
Origin of your DJ name(s)?
Deepfreq Productions was my promoter name when I threw a couple of raves in the '90's. Deep frequency as in bass. I never intended for it to be my DJ name. A promoter wanted to book me after hearing me play at my house. I didn't get back to him in time with a DJ name so he just listed me as Deepfreq. I also produce under the name Consumer C.
What's your attraction to bass (D'n'B or otherwise)?
I enjoy feeling music as well as hearing it. The addiction started with the car stereo hobby and love of hip-hop. Later, I was blown away by the massive sound systems at raves. I used to enjoy dancing to minimal and Detroit techno and considered Jungle/D&B "undanceable," but loved the basslines. I love all kinds of dance music, but DJ'ing wise I picked Jungle/D&B as my focus.
Were you one of those cars that would blast bass at stoplights?
No, most of the time I kept the windows up to maximize the air pressure.
How have you kept your hearing over the years?
I haven't -- I developed tinnitus in my late teens. It got worse when I took up DJing, so I started being selective about it. For example, I just have a stock stereo in my car these days.
Have you ever played bass so loud that you broke something?
Besides circuit breakers? Three tequila bottles at Bar Smith, a light fixture at ICYC, a glass shelf at Studio 3D and many random things at [Quincy Ross'] old neighbor's place.
What's the difference between D'n'B and jungle?
Jungle is a type of drum 'n' bass. The confusion is because the D'n'B genre name came after jungle had already established itself.
Has D'n'B advanced much in the last decade or so, or has it just evolved into other genres?
Ask any accomplished producer in any genre of electronic music and they'll all agree on the same thing: The D'n'B producers, allthough not the most popular, are always at the forefront of production. Drum 'n' bass is audio nerd porn.
Who are your favorite drum 'n' bass artists of all time?
Optical, D-Bridge, Calibre, Marcus Intalex, Shy FX, Roni Size, Tech Itch, Big Bud...I could go on and on.