Free Music

BassLine Brings Drum 'n' Bass Back to Miami

Karakter and SomeJerk
Karakter and SomeJerk Photo by John Gregory
Until recently, one of John Gregory's great frustrations was he couldn't find a drum 'n' bass night in Miami. "I'd been doing events all over South Florida, and I found the last couple years there really wasn't anything I wanted to go to," says Gregory, who in 2010 was named Miami's best new electronica artist by New Times. "There are cycles, and drum 'n' bass was really in a down cycle. People would come out for the big-name DJs like Noisa and John B., but there really wasn't anything regular."

To remedy that issue, Gregory, who DJs as SomeJerk, began throwing BassLine Miami, a monthly party at Kill Your Idol, whose next edition will take place Friday, November 3.

He originally looked for a venue in Wynwood, but the current setting ended up making perfect historical sense. South Beach was the epicenter of Miami's once-booming drum 'n' bass scene. "South Beach is where it all happened," Gregory says. "Beat Camp started it in 1995, but I was too young for that."

Though he missed the early stages of the movement because he was then a Broward County teenager, Gregory found himself knee-deep in the scene, making the yearly pilgrimage to Winter Music Conference.

"About ten years ago, you had infrastructure where you could meet everyone in the scene at Lounge 16. Then there was the Laundry Bar; it was owned by Juan BassHead's family and had working washing machines and brought in the biggest drum 'n' bass artists to play for free."

Gregory was not only a regular on the drum 'n' bass scene for more than a decade but also an instructor at Scratch DJ Academy. This gave him a long list of artists who could take part. Still, the first edition of BassLine held last year had truly sparse crowds. In fact, the only DJ who showed up was a friend who goes by the name Karakter and performs in a squid mask. Gregory decided right then to bring Karakter into the inner circle. He was joined by Disidente. Others who have performed include Juan BassHead, Danny Bled, Niko Javan, Galactic Effect, Serious Jorge, and MC Jumanji.

Crowds at BassLine Miami range from 50 to 150 regulars. "We're on the fringe of underground," Gregory explains. "We're not anti-EDM or anti-Ultra, but we're the opposite side of that. The newer, bigger music that you hear at Ultra is influenced by the underground."

Despite BassLine's motto of "bass music from every BPM," Gregory says the focus has been primarily on dubstep as well as drum 'n' bass. For those who don't know the difference between the two genres, "drum 'n' bass has a faster, more energetic pace," he says. "Dubstep is slower and has more groove. Drum 'n' bass brings in an older audience since it is an older genre."

Though he plans to expand the BassLine concept as a pop-up party in other cities, Gregory guarantees the current iteration is a unique event in Miami. "A lot of DJs out there try to make their music sound like everything else. I try not to do that, and I bring in artists who won't do that."

BassLine Miami. 10 p.m. Friday, November 3, at Kill Your Idol, 222 EspaƱola Way, Miami Beach; 305-672-1852; Admission is free.
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland