Interview by Joshua Glazer.
If you attended this year’s Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago, there was one performance that had folks talking — and it wasn’t the helicopter shining a spotlight on the crowd during Jane’s Addiction’s first song. Rather, it was the set by Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, the socially conscious hero of the growing bass-heavy electronic sub-genre that is currently captivating American audiences. Lit by a mutant cascade of projections and LEDs, Ashton threw down a seismically rumbling set for the manic dancers who’d packed themselves elbow to elbow into “Perry’s” (aka the festival’s dance area) in order to catch one of the hottest names in dance music.
Playing to this capacity festival crowd represented a sort of mainstream coming-out party for the San Francisco-based producer, who began making music a decade ago in the city’s warehouse rave scene before going on to build a stellar reputation through decidedly underground networks like the hippified Burning Man community. But there’s nothing “jam band” about Bassnectar’s sound, a genreless mash-up of hip-hop, drum ’n’ bass, dub step, grindcore and just about any other music you can think of that focuses on the sounds found at the low end. In fact, Bassnectar — who just released Cozza Frenzy, his eighth full-length album — doesn’t even like jam bands, as he tells ShockHound in this exclusive interview.
SHOCKHOUND: People are struggling with your new album title, Cozza Frenzy. It’s meant to be pronounced “cause-a-frenzy,” but everyone keeps saying “coze-a-frenzy.”
BASSNECTAR: My tour manager was like, "name me one word where the single o is a soft aah.” and I’m like, “mom, pop, spot, pot…cozza.” But everyone wants to say cause a, and I don’t know how to help them. I don’t care. They can call the record Bob. I think names are semi-irrelevant.
SHOCKHOUND: What came first — the spelling, the word, the thought? Was it the song, the lyric, the album?
BASSNECTAR: I love spelling things phonetically. I’m not trying to be hyphy or something. Ever since I was a kid, I loved misspelling things the way they sound to me. I do it all day long, and it’s gotten worse since I’m texting all day, or on Twitter. The title is about constructing sound systems and how sound is a form of energy, in terms of how weight can effect the human body. One of my first musical influences was the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. That was the first time I sensed the sensation of sub-bass. I was in the car and my mom was yelling and trees were bending and the car bouncing around and I just feel this sensation. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with the concept. It was also a response to a tour last year, when we did 48 nights and 45 were sold out, and it was just night after night of complete frenzy in these random towns where I would never have expected to visit, much less play on a Tuesday night. I guess that’s the meaning of the song.
To continue the interview check out Shockhound.