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Bassnectar Wants You to Kill Your Expectations

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2012 15:10


Peter Samuels

With his signature waist-length locks swinging back and forth with the music, Lorin Ashton, better known as Bassnectar, rocks out with a sea of loyal fans and self-proclaimed “bass heads” who dance on the floor below his turntables.

At least that’s the scene that unfolds at most of the Bay Area-based DJ’s sets.

“I just try to create an atmosphere where people can lose their mind, make new friends and enjoy their life,” Ashton told College Times in a recent phone interview.

When Ashton launched his DJ career in 2001, he did it with purpose in mind. The community and people conscious individual began his DJ project as an open-sourced musical experiment that explored the exchange between music and community. Many times the DJ has linked charities and causes for social change to ticket sales or concert events.

“Bassnectar is a reflection of that opportunity to give back; the motion of my cells bouncing back at the world,” he is quoted in a press release.

Ashton said his music covers a wide spectrum of genres, never allowing himself or his music to be limited in any way. And that is exactly what his latest release, Freestyle Mixtape, is all about.

“When people ask what style I am that’s the word I use,” he said. “It reflects a lack of limitation, or rules or expectations and it just allows me to have the freedom to do whatever I want.”

The immensely popular DJ is also touring in support of his album Vava Voom and will stop in Tempe on October 17. College Times chatted up the bass music master as he came off his first week on tour.

College Times: First week of the tour! How’s it going so far?
Lorin Ashton: Good! It’s been really busy. We are booked solid until December so I won’t be home for a while.

Is that tough for you?
Um. Yeah, it’s really challenging...all the things that I sacrifice for my job and my schedule, but I do it wholeheartedly because the more you focus, the stronger your accomplishments will be. I am really happy doing what I do. The biggest [struggle] to this day, is maintaining my personal life –– just because I work full time –– but that’s okay because I feel like I am making a positive contribution.

You are certainly passionate about DJing. How did you get into it?
I never really approached it as a career, which I think was a good thing. It was just always a really honest and enthusiastic obsession with music. In high school it was punk rock and death metal. In college it was electronic music. I was always looking for warehouses to throw raves or a beach or a forest where we could do a free full moon party. And it just kind of grew over the years. When I graduated college I was prepared to be a guidance counselor and a teacher, but my music career was just exploding and so I just took the road less traveled and I’ve been doing this ever since.

Are you happy you got your degree even though you didn’t go down that path?
Absolutely. I think I did go that path; it’s just that I did it in my own way. I wouldn’t be who I am without what I learned in college.

So, given all of this competition and pressure on EDM from the mainstream, how have you managed to remain unchanged?
It’s not really something that I need to work at. I just do what I do and I love what I love. I was doing it long before it was popular and I’ll do it when it’s not popular. It’s not really about the mainstream for me because I am a very underground personality and I have no interest or commonality with the mainstream, so it’s just kind of a random fluke that what I happen to be doing is the popular sound of the moment. The mainstream doesn’t have the power to corrupt my love for music.

You’re known for your live shows. What can people expect when you stop by Tempe?
When people ask about what they can expect, I usually tell them to imagine that their expectation is a villain and that they drag that villain out into the street and they beat it mercilessly and then run over it with a car and then they come into the event. The more expectations you have, the more confined you will be.

Bassnectar, Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0707, Wednesday, October 17, 7 p.m., $33

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