Our cover feature this week is on Bassnectar, the dance music behemoth that hails from right here in the Bay Area. The man behind Bassnectar is Lorin Ashton, who said a lot of interesting things in interviews that we didn't manage to get into our story. Helpfully, we've collected a list of them here. So read on for Ashton's thoughts on Pitchfork, the irreplaceability of the live experience, and why he's happy to be left off the DJ lists compiled by Forbes and DJ Mag. And check out the full story: Bass Instincts: How a Metal Kid from the Bay Area Became One of Dance Music's Biggest DJs.
When I make a song, I'm sure that Pitchfork's not going to cover it, and if they do, they'll arrogantly tease it. I think they're a bunch of fucking dicks. I don't respect them as press, and I don't want to be covered by them as music reviewers, because they're just slanderous... I'm not a hipster, and I don't care about being hip. I'm anti-trend, I'm extremely uncool, and i'm not trying to impress them. It's like the popular crowd at school, and I just don't fucking care. That's the one publication that I have zero interest in, and for all I care they could never talk about me.
On making albums
I'm not really ever sitting down to create an album. I'm just creating adventures, and those adventures are intended to be reinvented night after night. It's just like a time capsule.
On the live experience
That's one of the exciting things about live experience, is that it is the only unfakeable unbootleggable phenomenon that I know of in existence right now. You can synthesize anything digitally... but you can't fake what it feels like to be around 10,000 people, especially engulfed in music the way it was intended to be heard on a state-of-the-art system with state-of-the-art lighting. That's why it has so much of my attention.
On being cool (or not)
One of the defining characteristics of being hip and cool in our culture is being ambivalent or being unfazed or not caring. If you don't give a fuck, there's something cool about that. If you're really concerned, you've lost your cool, and that's not seen as hip. I don't mind that I'm not exhibiting the rules of cool in that sense, because I really do genuinely give a fuck.
On touring the U.S.
The world's too big for me to try and crush everywhere. What I'd rather do is sink deeply into a network that's sustainable. And what's sustainable is California to Arizona to Colorado to Montana through the midwest... just making that figure-eight over and over in strategic ways. There's a point at which quantity greatly reduces quality. And I don't mean quality of music, I mean depth of penetration of the experience. Of really being able to deliver a sustained high impact to a human's emotional existence. I feel like somehow I've been able to do that on a level that I don't think most DJs get to enjoy or experience. I've somehow been able to strike a nerve in a way that I really wanted to, which is to really positively inspire people. And I don't know how long that's going to last, but as long as it's happening I really want to just throw myself into that full-time.
On his demanding schedule
Demand outweighs the supply so grotesquely, so I'll have to fight for one week off. And two months before it that one week, they'll be like, "Dude they want to fly you to Hawaii and put the whole crew up for a week and you get to play at a waterfall for 10,000 people." It's like, how do you say no to that? But after a while you gotta, you gotta say no.