We've got a task for you, Miami. Tomorrow night, at Bardot's bass edition of Slap & Tickle, AC Slater — the self-proclaimed king of heavy bass house in America — wants the ceiling sweating and people getting straight-up reckless. It was his birthday last week, and this is his wish. So we must make it so.
The DJ — first name Aaron, last name Clevenger — has gone by AC for most of his professional career.
“I like Saved by the Bell, but I’ve always been AC," he says via phone from his downtown Los Angeles loft. "I was just starting to get booked as a paid DJ, and a lot of people loved to call me AC Slater, so I just went with it."
Clevenger used to live in Brooklyn, where he and some colleagues built the label Trouble & Bass and spun at its bass-centric parties around town. Five years ago, Clevenger moved to California and created Night Bass events and his own Night Bass label (starting to see a theme?). Now the parties he throws under his label's name at Hollywood's Sound Nightclub (and all over the world) have become somewhat notorious for their ability to turn venues inside out and leave dance floors scuffed beyond recognition.
When New Times spoke with him last week, fellow bass-house producers TQD were on the way from Europe to play with him at his upcoming 37th birthday party. Reflecting on the past year of his life, Clevenger decides Coachella was probably his high point.
“A few minutes before my Coachella set, the space was rather empty, but I went on at 1 p.m. on a Sunday, and ten minutes into my set, the fucking place was rammed,” he says.
His worst moment of the year happened a few hours before his conversation with New Times.
“Yeah, I must say that a few hours ago — when it became official that Trump was going to be our president — yeah, that was the worst moment of the year,” he adds.
Clevenger will play 27 shows on the upcoming leg of his tour, and Miami is the first of five Florida stops. Fair warning to the bass ratchets of Gainesville, Tallahassee, Orlando, and Tampa: Clevenger is on the way. His tour will finish December 17 in Columbus, Ohio, and then his focus will transition to a new album scheduled for release in 2017. Fans heading to see Clevenger live can expect to hear some unreleased music from up-and-coming artists.
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“I want to grow new artists," he says. "Now my career is more about relationships, and I want to do cool stuff with cool people. I listen to demos every day. I like to support hustling artists."
Tomorrow's party will be yet another notch in the history of Miami and bass, a relationship that's been going strong since the '80s. Perhaps New Times contributor and bass legend Luther Campbell will stop by. Who knows? Maybe Kelly Kapowski and Jessie Spano will be there too. Screech might try to go but will probably get denied at the door.
If there's one certainty about an AC Slater party, it's that anything is possible.