'Mesmerizing The Ultra' marks the debut artist album from bay area prodigy Lorin Ashton, a.k.a. Bassnectar. This double-disc album features collaborations with Freq Nasty on the track “Everybody” (this single will also be a specialty serviced 12”), Sound Tribe Sector 9 on the track “STS9,” and a Heavyweight Dub Champion feat. KRS-ONE remix titled “HDC & Krs”.
The bonus disc also includes a collaboration with Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident on “Dubausca” and political samples cleared from acclaimed linguist Noam Chomsky and controversial death row inmate, journalist, and Black Panther member Mumia Abu Jamal on the track “Simultaneous.”
Having remixed or collaborated with the likes of Heavyweight Dub Champion feat. KRS-ONE, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Buckethead, The String Cheese Incident, Saul Williams, Noam Chomsky, Cheb I Sabbah, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Crash Berlin, and Landslide, as well as having released records on OM Records, Virgin, 6 Degree, Functional Breaks, Ceiba, Groundwork (Starbucks) and Kool Keith’s Sync Recordings, the Bassnectar sound has benefited from a wide scope of exposure, and evolved from cutting edge dance music to where it exists today: a mutant mash-up of multiple styles and genres.
Chatting recently with Bassnectar, I first wondered where his chosen name originated? "There was a clan of hippies and bass-addicts throwing fullmoons and outdoor parties in the forests and beaches of the SF Bay Area in the 1990's. In Santa Cruz, a faction was called SPACESHIP GAIA, and they had a sticker that read “Butterfly Beings Drink Bass Nectar.” A friend of mine, aptly named, BROTHER, came up with the slogan, and the first time I read it, I thought: 'Now that is the perfect name for the music I make'."
What else could you so easily have called yourself? "You know, I never thought it was so easy. When I first started out in 1995, all the DJs had fancy names, and I just want to toss down groovy beats on the beach with my friends, so I went with my first name, Lorin. That name developed a reputation as time passed and I began touring full time, but whenever I released music, it was as “Bassnectar” ... lot’s of folks call me “DJ Lorin” which I think has the most ridiculous sound to it; I absolutely can’t stand it to be honest ... so truth be told ... I have no idea. I could have just as easily called myself any assortment of “Elanor,” “Laquisha”, “Fredrick Bartholemule Acetate the Third, Esquire”, or DJ Treblenectar. So many options ... so little time :)"
With the new album entitled Mesmerizing The Ultra, I'm wondering what mesmerizing things has entered unto your life thus far? "That is an impossible question to answer, my friend, since I think once you get to the upper tiers of mesmerization, there is no longer any quantitative comparison ... only qualitative ... let’s see, when I think of mesmerization I think of: enthusiasm, passion, grief, rage, inspiration, death, orgasm, fear, love, butterflies, underwater, heartbeat, mango, spirulina, sub bass, hair in your face, political conviction, resistance to criminal corporate power, education, audacity, tension ... all that is quite mesmerizing, especially in unique combinations. As for specific circumstances, that might take a while to detail :)"
Which one track on this new album encapsulates Bassnectar at his current musical finest? "Wow, you really know how to ask full-on questions, eh? :) OK, well, the title track, 'Mesmerizing the Ultra', and 'Replenish' both conjure the mood I feel when my dreams dissolve into musical texture. There is a feeling, I don’t know what it is called ... it’s an emotion, a mix of compassion, melancholy, breathlessness, gorgeousness, urgency, profound contemplation, surrender, conviction, action, ultimate grief and loss, emptiness, but simultaneous fullness ... kind of like when Forest Gump is speaking to the grave of his wife: “I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidentally in the breeze, but I think, maybe it’s both.” Then, again, in terms of what happens when the tunes are jacked through loud sound systems to crowds of folks, I think the song 'Everybody' has a pretty good feel. It used to be called 'The Swampmonster Lambada,' but that’s now the title of a new, unreleased grinder :)"
Along the way, being an independent artist always has its risks, so what has been the biggest risk that you as a band have undertaken thus far? "Probably sticking myself out there to the world completely with 100% openess to fate ... raw and vulnerable, and often quite silly.
Another smaller risk is outspoken hatred of the BU$H administration and all neoconservative thieves and terrorists."
Tell us what goes through your head when you play such events as the legendary BurningMan Festival?! "That festival is one of the highlights of my year. I went for my 8th time this year, and it just gets better every year. Full f**king mind blowing freakouts ... the sickest art, overwhelming enthusiasm, community, generosity, connection ... and so much bass ... makes this boy very happy!"
If there was something that you wished the public to know about you that hadn't been discussed before, what would that piece of knowledge be? "I think I would just like people to have an experience to some of my music, in the right circumstances (time and attention to soak it up ... ultra wicked sound system with rolling bass, etc) ... not that everyone will enjoy it, but that’s definitely a huge reason it is created: to share, to give back some energy to this realm which has touched me so deeply."
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! "Well, my first choice is actually in the works, and its top secret, but my second choice ... I don’t think I would necessarily want a “cheesy” 80's song, but rather one of my favorites: 'Just Like Heaven' by the Cure ... and I don’t think I would want to cover it or make a club-oriented dancefloor remix, but rather, fully engage the separate tracks and re-create it with more bass, thicker beats, more texture, a few different ideas. I love that song so much."
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project, who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "Well, if it was FOR CHARITY, then my focus would be on popular musicians as opposed to talented, because I would want to get as much energy to the song as possible ... so maybe Prince on vocals, Art Garfunkel on vocals, ... and Jimmy Page? More vocals ... just set it over a bed of thick bassline, and complimentary music :)"
Finally, I like Penguins, ... do you? "I liked them on the film. I’ve never actually chilled out with one before. I think it’s neat that they are monogamous. But I like smoothies with Spirulina much better. Do you like Spirulina?!"
Thank you for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future "THANK YOU TO!!!! PLEASE keep in touch ... THANKS!!!!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Bassnectar's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: On February 11, 2005, Bassnectar played a gig in New York City ... but what was the name of that event?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 31st with your answer and the subject title 'BASSNECTAR SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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