Hands down, ass up — Juan BassHead is the 305 music scene's foremost exponent of all things bass, from classic Miami booty bass to D&B and dubstep. And recently, he and BassHead Music dropped a deep and heavy compilation album — All Killer, No Filler — showcasing the label's roster of both local and international stars.
So we caught up with him to chat about the new slab, the origins of BassHead Music, and the local scene.
New Times: How did BassHead Music begin?
Juan BassHead: The label was started in 2008. It has a pretty wide-open musical policy, one that echoes what you might hear at our events or in our DJ sets. I'd like for people to think of BassHead as a soundtrack to their fun.
So how do you go about selecting material for release?
Selecting material for release is one of my favorite parts of this job. The criteria is very simple: We need to like it. That's it. The new LP does a great job of showing how there is no specific style of music we are looking for — it's actually a vibe we're trying to provide. Personally, I love a bit of Miami flavor in the music, and a good bass line definitely helps. But if it's good, it's good.
Do you think the Miami bass music scene has grown since you've been active as a DJ and label? What does our scene have to offer that distinguishes it from other cities?
I always play some classic Miami bass in my sets, not only because I want to pay homage to my roots, and not only because I love it, but because it works. It does what it's supposed to do: make booties bounce. It does it better than pretty much any type of music out there.
And the current Miami bass scene is great because it's constantly evolving by incorporating new ideas and techniques, yet manages to repackage the stuff we already love in fun, interesting, new ways.
What can you tell us about the UK bass scene? It seems as though you've built a bridge of sorts between Miami and London.
Being a big fan of bass music, I'm a fan of a lot of the music that comes out of the UK. I got into drum 'n' bass in about 1996, attending raves. Through the Internet, as well as by DJing and throwing events, I did my best to keep up with the evolution of the bass scene out there.
Over the years, I developed some great friendships in the industry, such as the one with my label partner A-Sides. He brings massive amounts of industry experience to the fold, as he has over 500 releases out himself, on a variety of record labels, dating back to the early 1990s.
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The label has a few UK-based artists on the roster, such as Skream and DJ Silver. But BassHead is also home to releases from artists based in places ranging from Miami to Los Angeles, Jamaica, Canada, Iceland, and even Siberia!
So what is the new LP all about? What ties the album together?
It's called All Killer, No Filler and it's our first LP. The name perfectly describes the album, which showcases 18 different artists over 12 tracks, all of which are killer enough to stand alone. There is no filler to be heard.
The album includes submissions from across the planet, by well-known producers with proven track records, alongside up-and-coming artists who are using this platform to catapult their careers to the highest levels. The LP is a proper representation of what BassHead Music strives to be, a label that embraces and showcases all sorts of music with one running theme: quality.