Live Music

An Interview With Bassnectar

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By Brian Washburn

Some music fiends might not find inspiration in DJing. They might just see bright lights, technological col- laborations, rapid movements and raving dancers. But that does not mean you can’t find inspiration in the music, just ask Lorin Ashton, better known by his stage-name Bassnectar.

Ashton began attending raves and researching electronic music in the San Francisco Bay Area when he was 18. While he would record radio shows and select songs to re- dub into makeshift mix tapes, being a DJ wasn’t something Ashton cared deeply for.

“I never cared about begin a DJ, but I cared deeply about creating community events or inciting gath- erings that were subversive to mainstream culture,” he said in an e-mail interview last week. “I wanted to reach out and kind of give back to the world because I felt inspired to a point that was almost out of con- trol. I also identified as a musicians, so there was no doubt in my mind I would make music for the rest of my life.”

Though Ashton made music pre- vious to his Bassnectar ventures, he found himself extremely involved with the local punk and death metal music scene around the Bay Area. But after his love for raves, social gatherings and electronic collabo- rations grew into an obsession, Ashton would skip college and hit the road for days at a time, bringing along a sound system attempting to convince promoters, dance studios and warehouses to let them throw a “proper grindcore freakshow after- hours.”

Aside from the shows Ashton and his friends would put on down the coast, he would throw shows when he attended college at University of California-Santa Cruz and try to hone his event planning abilities. However, it was after that that he found out the ability to DJ wasn’t as hard as it seemed.

“I had no problem picking up the art form, integrating it with my studio work and sculpting a unique sound,” Ashton said. “DJing is essen- tially dependent on a person’s taste and their sense of rhythm, so it ended up being a really fun addition to what I was already doing nonstop in the studio.”

What Ashton was doing in the stu- dio, now dubbed with the stage DJ name Bassnectar, has transcended into a live show that can only be described as an experience — one that will stop by George’s Majestic Lounge tonight. However, those attending the show have a lot to live up to, as the last and only time Ash- ton visited Arkansas, it “turned out to be totally bonkers,” he said.

“It totally changed my perspective on touring and renewed my dedica- tion to networking and community building through music. I met people who had been just as diehard for just as long in the rave scene and also totally random students who had just come out to check out some new music, as well as old hippies and perfectly random freaks,” Ash- ton said.

It was through this experience that Fayetteville taught Ashton a positive lesson to just trust and not judge in advance. The towns he considers to be small probably go off harder than any big major city. That it is possible to constantly tour through North America to build and develop a net- work of highly participating musical freaks, as well as Fayetteville being a rebirth of cultish underground hard- core music.

Aston does not consider his ten- ure as Bassnectar as another techno/ electronic rave necessity or even just as a career, but rather a lifestyle bringing people together, stimulat- ing them and catalyzing inspiration and empowerment, he said.

“Music is just an amazing tool or vehicle to help bring that kind of connection into being,” Ashton

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