Producer and DJ Bassnectar (Lorin Ashton) is known for his vivid live performances and injecting a unique heaviness into his music that is uncommon in electronic music. He plays Rain at the Palms this Saturday, March 3 in promotion of his upcoming release, Vava Voom.
What can we expect from the EP?
I’m actually putting the finishing touches on it today and delivering it before heading out on tour.
It’s a nice mix of hip-hop, dubstep, punk rock, downtempo and some of my older material. I’ve got a track with Lupe Fiasco and remixing a track by Pennywise. I’m also putting some outtakes from my death metal, little studio tidbits of thing I never finished. That’s just a bonus, but it’s what I’m working on right now.
You had a bit of a background with metal before you got into the electronic and rave scene, right?
Yeah, before I even knew about electronic and rave.
I started playing guitar when I was 12, and it was heavy metal, then it got progressively darker and sicker until it was full-on black metal and death metal. The underground scene at the time really paved the way for finding a sound you love, one that not a lot of people can relate to. And then finding and building a community around that with people that share that strange and twisted interest. But, they don’t necessarily need to be morbid.
Which is why when I found the rave scene in like 1995, it was extremely exciting for me because I have always been kind of a goofball and pretty positive person, so it was fun to find a meeting of the minds on a musical level for other people who like fringe music… but we’re happy to be alive. [laugh]
How do feel about the popularity of electronic dance music here in Vegas and in the US in general?
It’s the zeitgeist. To me, it feels long overdue, but perfect timing.
Electronic music has been in existence since the ’50s and using it to augment and alter organic and traditional forms of music has been. There’s been some obliviousness to it in America, despite the fact that most rock ‘n’ roll was being produced electronically on some level, same with hip-hop. I mean, someone had to record that sh** and someone had to mix and master that sh**.
There’s really nothing new there. Technology is increasing and getting better and high-def video is getting better and everything is increasing in quality, it’s the same with music.
You’re active on Twitter, have you found that it makes it easier to connect with fans and the community?
Love people, but don’t love Twitter — I don’t like character confines. I really prefer in-person interaction, but when you can’t have that, it’s an amazing alternative.
And it definitely has brought all kinds of communities together. I actually studied community in college, as an independent major called Community Studies, so I’m fascinated by that on every level, pretty much.
What’s it like playing Vegas, since we already have such a big electronic music presence here?
Well, my only experience with that was EDC last year, which was of course an anomaly — but it was raging.
One of the highlights was my tour manager helped us hijack David Guetta’s private helicopter while it was leaving and gave us a ride to the airport. We got to slow-motion fly over the entire f**king crowd of however many hundred thousand people, it was utterly insane.
I’m happy to come back, really excited to play in a club in a DJ booth, something I have a lot of experience in but haven’t gotten to enjoy in the recent past because it’s been larger stages and larger stage shows. I’m really excited to throw down and get creative, but I hope they don’t have a dress code because I don’t have any collared shirts.
I don’t really play a standard style and definitely cater to the crowd and play to them, do it my own way, energetically like a stand-up comedian would play to a crowd, not so much the way a wedding DJ would play to a crowd. Not so much concerned about playing familiar music or mashups or techno or trance — I want to sound like a mix of all of my favorites sounds mixed into a beautiful soup.
What do have in store for 2012?
Mayhem. Mayhem and beauty, full f**king power. This is the first weekend we’re out on the road and after that we’ll probably have two or three weekends off total for the rest of the year.
We’re kicking off the Vava Voom release this spring and basically touring the rest of the year and, well, holding on for dear life.