Bassnectar Speaks Up About His Creativity And Gradual Start
Electronic artist Bassnectar (Lorin Ashton) is back on the road for his Fall Tour 2012 in support of his recentthe album Vava Voom. Influenced equally by metal, ambient, psychedelic, and hip-hop, his music defies expectations, and his fanbase reacts passionately.
I spoke with Bassnectar about both of our Electric Forest experiences, his methods to the music that he creates and is inspired by and his evolution over time.
Up On The Sun: I never got the opportunity to see you until Electric Forest this summer. And it was amazing. I'm from Texas and I wasn't ready for the cold or anything like that, but I survived your night set. Hard to forget loving the moment and as soon as it was over realizing that I am a southerner freezing my ass off in Rothbury, Michigan.
Bassnectar: I'm from California and I don't really wear pants too often. I'll tour up in Canada, and I'll be wearing shorts and leg warmers. I just can't wear pants...even though it's freezing.
Is there a clear difference between playing regular shows and festivals?
Everything differs from show to show for me. Festivals are completely different from typical Bassnectar shows. Typical Bassnectar shows usual happen as part of a road tour. I'm there, next week we leave on tour. I think we'd have three sound/light trucks and a few tour buses full of crew. We go from town to town and basically set up somewhat of a carnival. It's an extended amount of time. I play probably about two hours every night. There are a lot of people that follow from show to show. The show kind of evolves organically with the audience from night to night.
A festival is a short set. It's usually just an hour. And it's like you just come up swinging it. Play anthems. And I have to say Electric Forest was a cool combination of the two. One of the reasons at festivals that I play anthems like that is because people have a short attention span. You're usually playing during a bunch of different acts. At electronic festivals it actually becomes physically impossible to play what I call, the down tempo moments of a song. Like the beautiful twinkly sounds of chimes. Or like a tense moment where everything falls out and you kind of just hear the song breathing before the song slams back in. And if you do that at a festival, in the silence that you are creating the other stages sound will shoot in and kind of pollute your signal. So you basically need to keep it driving and banging relentlessly; which isn't something I like to do creatively. So it's kind of like you're forced to play louder and harder than I'd want to.
At Electric Forest I was supposed to play a key set on Saturday, but it was with all the other stages playing. I really wanted to play stuff that was more like a Bassnectar show. So I played last on Sunday when no one else was playing. It was really cool, because it was one of the few festivals that I got to play a more artistic and dimensional set.
I like it when the music isn't just going completely hard. It's more of and should be an experience to me.
Absolutely. It's like anything. It's like sex or cooking or whatever. You don't want just one thing. And you certainly don't want it hard all the time. But with pure music, when you pull out and create a moment of silence or suspense, it makes the...well I call it 'drop' that much more impactful. And if you go drop after drop after drop after drop it just turns into one relentless meaning. So sometimes I use those down moments as a valley to make a new peak.