Bass Violator has been steadily building a name for himself in the Twin Cities as a solid producer and powerful DJ. In addition to creating all of his own music, he also writes and raps under the moniker Free Drugs. The self-made artist has big plans for both projects – including, but not limited to, releasing loads of new material in the coming year. I spent a little time talking to Bass about his roots, the Bass Violator / Free Drugs narrative, and what’s in store for 2015. Check it:
The Beat MPLS: Tell me a little bit about your start. What turned you on to making music?
Bass Violator: My family is musical. My dad made us take piano lessons as kids, so music has always been a part of my life. The time I realized I wanted to make music, I feel like, was the first time I watched Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video. I heard Eddie Van Halen’s solo. I was so confused. I just didn’t understand the sounds that were coming out of the TV. I was like, “Is that a guitar? Is someone screaming? What’s goin’ on?” You know? I started getting really curious, and going through a lot of my dad’s records. Listening to a lot of 80s Funk. That’s initially what got me into music: that funky, groovy, 80s music.
TBM: You’ve got a couple of projects. First, Bass Violator, and the second being Free Drugs. Tell me about Bass Violator.
BV: Bass Violator was an idea I developed when I moved to the Twin Cities. I started going to music school. EDM was just becoming this really big thing. I went to a couple of shows. I had already been a DJ for a while, but the idea of actually being able to DJ in the Twin Cities became a reality. I started trying to develop my sound and style. I used to go by DJ Patron, but that’s a corny name [laughter]. I worked with the idea, and people were telling me that my sound was really heavy, always funky, always melodic. They’d say it felt like an experience. Obviously I love bass, and Violator kind of just came to me. Bass Violator is more of my EDM / production persona. It’s all what I do without saying a word. It’s just me writing music.
TBM: A while back you were telling me about a theme, or rather, a Bass Violator story. Is that something you’re still working on?
BV: All the music I’m writing right now is meant to be a soundtrack for the story. I don’t have any visual ability. I’m not an artist, in that sense, by any means. I’m sort of waiting to meet the person who can design my vision. Yes, the story is still in the works though. Bass Violator, in the story, is a soldier. It’s like musical warfare basically. It’s in an age where it’s all computers, and the government is using frequencies to keep people docile. Bass Violator fights back by teaching people how to speak through music.
TBM: So what’s up with Free Drugs?
BV: Initially I started off as a rapper. Production / rapper, but I was definitely gunning to be a rapper more. I developed Bass Violator and every once in a while I would be inclined to rap on a track. People were really feeling it, so I just felt like it would be best to develop a different concept for the vocal side of me. I feel like my vocals and productions line up, but at the same time I have very different concepts for my vocals. Again, still tying in with the story, Free Drugs is Bass Violator’s right hand man. He helps get the message out by speaking to the people. Free Drugs is my vocal side. Everything I’ve held back over the last couple years. All my experiences, spiritual experiences, my growth… I kind of want to bring that to the table now and simultaneously launch the two together, officially.
TBM: Do you struggle with balancing the two personas?
BV: The trouble with it right now is that I’ve done so much as Bass Violator and not as much with Free Drugs. It’s a bit of a catch up game with Free Drugs. I’m trying to align everything up, but eventually the product will start speaking for itself. I have a whole bunch of stuff I’ve already written. February is actually the month I’ve dedicated to Free Drugs. I’m going to drop at least eight to ten Free Drugs songs.
TBM: So what exactly is in store for you in the coming year? You just mentioned you’ll be dropping a few new tracks.
BV: Oh yea! In January I’ll be reviving Bass Violator as a producer, bringing a bunch of my originals, concepts, and remixes to the table. February, like I said, is dedicated to Free Drugs – all Hip Hop. After that I’m dedicating a month to cinema. I’m a huge movie head. So many concepts within cinema are great and align with music so well. I’ve got a Mortal Kombat remix coming out, I’ve got a lil’ Ron Burgundy remix coming out. There are a few things in the works. It’s going to be a fun year.
TBM: If you had the chance to collaborate, or even just pick the brain of any artist, who would that person be?
BV: Honestly, over everyone, there’s this female vocalist from Ireland (but she’s based in the UK). Her name is Róisín Marie Murphy. Her music just speaks to me on so many levels. It’s so classy. Beautiful. Just the way she writes is amazing. If I could sit down with anyone, it’d have to be her.
TBM: What are your thoughts about the music scene here in the Twin Cities?
BV: I love that there is always something happening. Whether it be Hip Hop or EDM, there is always a show. Every week someone is playing – from local to national to international. Minneapolis is actually the center where a lot of people stop. It’s great. It doesn’t matter even matter what you’re into. You can definitely go out at least once a week and catch something that you like. The variety and interconnectivity between everyone is really cool.
There is however an issue of nepotism within certain companies and it makes it a bit hard for people to find themselves and grow in a way that’s conducive to their future plans. I feel I’ve worked all my personal issues out with that.
TBM: When you’re not producing or writing music what are you doing?
BV: I am mostly just on a spiritual journey. I’ve been trying to figure out a lot more about palmistry… astrology. Just bettering myself I guess. I do a bit of writing aside from my lyrics, but I haven’t really gone public with that yet. I’d say that’s what takes up the remainder of my time. Trying to develop my writing style. Meditating. Smokin’ weed, you know [laughter]. Video games. PS4. FIFA.
TBM: Do you have any upcoming events in the works?
BV: I don’t have anything planned immediately, but you can expect an EP release party once a month this next year to coincide with everything that I’ll be droppin’. There’s definitely 12 awesome, bass spectacular, shows in the works for next year.
Photo Cred: Dana Kim
Bass Violator on Facebook.
Article by Alex Stahlmann
Photos by Dana Kim and Kale Fischer