‘Obsessed with sound’: Bassnectar pours head, heart into electronic music experience

For the CDTOctober 4, 2013 

Bassnectar, aka Lorin Ashton, said that while he is fuly vested in the music at his live concerts, he said, “The atmosphere is really a big part of it for me.”


  • if you go

    What: Bassnectar, KOAN Sound, Andreilien

    When: 9 p.m. Oct. 10

    Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park

    Info: www.bjc.psu.edu, 865-5555

Like every artistic avenue in existence, electronic dance music is a complex web of genres and subgenres that twists and turns so often that it’s sometimes unrecognizable. Having first bleeped and blooped during the sweaty days of disco close to 40 years ago, EDM has since morphed into a rabid and pulsating animal and today it is arguably at the pinnacle of its popularity.

Lorin Ashton, more commonly known as Bassnectar, thrives from this electronic chaos and has built an empire and an unrivaled fan-following for breaking sonic-barriers.

With long, dark locks and cavernous eyes, the 36-year-old Bassnectar looks like a rave-ravaged Rasputin. The musical mad monk is an underground veteran and has been honing his DJing skills since the mid-90s. Having graduated from house parties then clubs, he now performs in massive concert halls and at giant festivals, where throngs of fans churn out to watch him perform wonders with laptops and digital turntables.

“My live shows are really special. They’re all just a process of me trying to recreate the experiences that blew my mind back when I first started raving,” Bassnectar said about the evolution of his concert performances.

While Bassnectar’s music alone is worth the price of admission (“Timestretch” being the quintessential gateway track; it’s melodic as all hell), it’s his live performances that separate him from anyone who has the audacity to consider themselves a peer. He creates some of the most visual and cinematic music on the planet.

“The atmosphere is really a big part of it for me,” Bassnectar said. “Of course I’m obsessed with sound and I’m obsessed with music, but in terms of sound, I think about it in terms of weight, not just volume. We’re really manufacturing the perfect kind of heavy butterzone, where you can feel the music in all the right places. Obviously the music is a huge part of it, but I’m also obsessed with creating an atmosphere that is thought-provoking, emotionally stimulating and completely immersive.”

For the time being, Bassnectar is dedicating all of his creativity and energy to his concert experience, which is clearly paying huge dividends.

“All my attention lately has been on creating material for live shows,” Bassnectar said. “Right now, I’m going through my record collection and taking soundtracks from movies and all kinds of material to wrap into different adventures for the live show. This creative liberty just makes me so full of ideas.”

The energy and passion that pours out of Bassnectar can easily be explained: He’s just a fan.

His unbridled joy and enthusiasm for all things music is beyond palpable and is a tribute to every track he releases.

“The thing I love about DJing is that it’s as simple as having a favorite song that you play for your friends,” Bassnectar said. “It’s as simple as someone on a laptop clicking a YouTube link to play a song that they love, that’s what DJing is: sharing the things you love.

“When we take it to the extreme and it’s live on the most perfect sound system and it’s all synched-up with custom visuals and there’s 5,000 beautiful people in the room and everything is pulsing together as one amazing experience, it’s just incredible and it’s like nothing else in the world.”

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