AC Slater Talks Dance Music and "Bringing Back That Underground Feel"
Photo by Shoot People
AC Slater is about to take you back to a time before fancy light rigs and Jesus-posing DJs, when dance parties were messy, dark, personal affairs and nothing mattered but the bass.
Maybe some of you remember those times fondly, and perhaps some of you are tired of hearing about it, but everyone new and old to the scene is invited to experience the gritty realness of Night Bass. The LA-based monthly party is hitting the road with Hannah Wants, Jack Beats, and its fearless leader, AC Slater.
This weekend, Night Bass hits The Garret at Grand Central, the perfect Miami venue for the vibe. We here at Crossfade spoke to Slater about the state of dance music, how he plans to keep evolving, and whether or not he really influenced everyone in L.A. to start wearing black.
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Crossfade: This tour takes off pretty soon, are you getting anxious?
AC Slater: I'm mostly excited. It's something I've been dreaming about since I started doing the party in January. Even the artists that are on it, I've been thinking about since then. It's all come together perfectly for me, and it's a great two weeks that's pretty non-stop.
I was listening to the mix in August with Kastle and Salva. It sounds like it gets crazy out there. What's Night Bass like?
My whole concept for Night Bass was to bring it back to basics: a cool club with a good sound system and good DJs. Just let the crowd enjoy the evening and make their own experience. Nowadays, the scene has become so huge, every time you go to a party, it's a seriously major event. It's turned into almost a concert, and that's cool, but I wanted to bring back that underground feel to it -- when you go out to a club, and you just have your own night and experience the night in your own personal way with your own friends, meet new people and socialize. So Night Bass is less about watching someone and more about just enjoying yourself. The screaming and stuff [in the mix], here and there, that's people's natural reactions to whatever the music is doing.
It seems to me sometimes like all the lights and the showiness is party glitter to hide people that aren't really doing anything.
That shit is cool when you're up for it and that's what you're into, but I just wanted to bring it back. I come from a time when you just showed up and listened to music. It was just a dark room, maybe a strobe light, and that's what it was. I want people to experience that who haven't got to, because so many people are new to this through the popularity of what it's become.
Is there some response that you get out of people when you're DJing that just lets you know "I'm killing them right now."
I love hearing cheers. When something drops and you get that "ooooh," and everyone just feels it. That's a great feeling. When the whole crowd reacts on the same thing, you're all on the same page and feeling the same shit. I know after the first ten minutes if they're on board with what I'm doing or not. Sometimes, when they're really on board, you can play whatever you want. They're in the same place as you, and you can just take them wherever you want. A main objective for me is to introduce new music. People react to songs that they've never heard before. When I go out, that's what I look for. I hate hearing the same songs I hear all the time. I like to hear new things. That excites me, and I want to excite people in that same way. I play a lot of unreleased stuff, but you've got to toss in some familiar stuff, because a lot of people want to hear that. But it's too easy if you just throw in all the stuff they like and know. You want to challenge them and open their minds a little bit.
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Are the crowds from city to city really that different?
Cities are definitely different. It's hard to explain how. I would say that Miami and LA crowds are pretty similar, but Miami is definitely unique. Miami is pretty wild. The kids are very vocal about stuff. Their reactions are very natural, I like that. They're not shy.
Have all these artists played Night Bass in the past?
No. Each artist to me kind of represents a slightly different corner of the same movement, and I like to push all that stuff under the Night Bass label. We use that as a term to describe the sound, and this tour, for me, is to let people know this is what we're doing. People want to hear it, so we're doing this epic tour with four talented artists that have something unique to push.
Do you think, should all things go successfully, this is something you'll continue to do? Curate tours with artists you enjoy that meet the Night Bass vibe?
I had this vision, and I've been so lucky that it's gone exactly as I've planned, knock on wood. I wanted the brand to become something that people would trust in LA and just come. In the beginning, we had to convince people to come, because I'm booking headliners that no one's ever even heard of here. I put on Taiki and Nulight for the second edition and people were like "who?" Then everyone came, he killed it, it was this epic party, and everyone goes away loving him. That's exactly how I want it to fall. I'm just saying, "I know you're going to like this, if you like everything else so far." That's what I want to do with it, and if we can take it around to other cities, than I'm all for it. So far, we're getting to do that. Hopefully we do again. I want to take it everywhere, all over.
Anything else people should know?
We just put out a new Night Bass shirt, if you want to be styling for the event. You can get it at store.partylikeusrecords.com. Then for all the Miami people, I want to see them at the show. It's going to be great. I'm ready to kill it.
Since you brought up clothes, I feel everyone in L.A. dresses like a hood goth now. Is that your fault?
I know! Everyone is so goth. That's the old school Trouble & Bass look. I remember all of us walking around Miami during Winter Music Conference, and everyone being like "Where's the funeral, hyuk hyuk." Then literally like three years ago, we were walking around, and everyone is wearing all black. We're like "everybody looks the same."
I suggest you have a Day Bass pool party during WMC.
Oh, don't even worry about that. That's something I've ... Yeah. You'll see. It's already been thought of. I'm just trying to figure out how to make it happen. I'm pretty sure it'll be there.
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AC Slater. As part of Night Bass. With Jack Beats and Hannah Wants. Sunday, October 5,. The Garret at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $20 to $25 via ticketfly.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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