It's been a great month for local bass music releases.
And now BassHead Music is about to drop its own compilation album on Tuesday, showcasing its roster of both local and international stars.
Of course, label boss Juan BassHead and BassHead Music are the 305 music scene's foremost exponents of all things bass, from classic Miami booty bass to D&B and dubstep.
We caught up with Juan to chat about the new All Killer, No Filler album, the origins of BassHead Music, and the growth of the local scene.
Crossfade: How did Basshead first come about. What was the concept for the label when you first launched it and how has it evolved since?
Juan BassHead: BassHead Music, the label, was started in 2008. BassHead Productions has been doing events since 2001. The label has a pretty wide-open musical policy, one that echoes what you might hear at our events or in our DJ sets. BassHead Music is run by two life-long music lovers (myself and DJ A-Sides) who have over 30 years of DJing experience between them. We both love all sorts of music that works on the dance floor, and the output on BassHead shows that. I'd like for people to think of BassHead as an outlet they can rely on to present great music a person can use as a soundtrack to their fun.
So how do you go about selecting material for release? What style or sound are you looking for to define the label?
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 bassline 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?
Miami bass has been a constant in my life for as long as I remember. I liked Miami bass before I knew it was called that. I love rediscovering long-lost Miami bass gems that I heard once upon a time on late-night radio in my youth but never knew the name of until now. 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.
The current Miami bass scene is great because it's constantly evolving by incorporating new ideas and techniques, yet manages to re-package the stuff we already love in fun, interesting new ways. The local Miami bass scene is great because of the irresistible Miami flavor that runs through all of it, though individually each component definitely has its own sabor.
What can you tell us about your relations in the UK bass scene? It seems like you've built a bridge of sorts between Miami and London.
Being a big fan of bass music, naturally I'm a fan of a lot of the music that comes out of the UK. I got into drum 'n' bass since about 1996, by 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.
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, Los Angeles and Jamaica, to Canada, Iceland, and even Siberia!
So what is the new LP all about? Who are the artists represented and what ties the album together?
The new LP is 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.
All Killer, No Filler is an excellent listen from start to finish, and is a proper representation of what BassHead Music strives to be, a label which embraces and showcases all sorts of music with one running theme: quality.
Starting off the show, "Unexpected" comes to us from Iceland-based Agzilla, who sets the mood with lush soundscapes before dropping into a glitchy breakbeat workout. Next up: the UK-based "dub activist" Jah Free blesses us with his roots reggae-infused vocal dub of "Killing Time" by Noah D & Einstein, the original having been BassHead's third release.
The third track is a step in a different direction, as house legend DJ Sneak presents us with his remix of Total Science's "Hold My Tongue", originally a laid back hip hop tune that's now gotten that unmistakeable Sneak tweak. Miami's own Animal Krackerz (AKA AMKZ) steps up next with his debut release, bringing big party vibes with "Cuban Missile", an unclassifiable hip hop-bass fusion.
Next up is another Miami product, Code 305, gracing us with his first release "Overtown Dub", a tribute to classic Miami bass with a UK dubstep twist. Continuing with the Miami bass theme, track 6 is a remix of Otto Von Schirach's "Bass Low", a title which certainly fits. Live 2 Kill (A-Sides and DJ Wreck) push the bass to the extreme on this -- beware!
Switching things up a bit, tempos are raised for track 7, where UK product Mr. Explicit drops "A.W.O.L.", taking the opportunity to flex his D&B muscle by combining heavy "Amen" drums, big basslines and female vocals. Track 7 introduces us to Wheez-ie from Houston, whose composition "Get Down" takes bits and pieces from so many genres to create something new -- you've just got to hear it.
Next up is Datsik's "Gecko VIP", a new version of his first release ever (also on BassHead Music). Any dubstep fan should recognize the melody as it comes in before one of Datsik's classic drops.
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Another new artist from Miami, Bats!, offers us his Basshead debut with his heavy dubstep-techno fusion, creating the hard-edged stomper "Fly By Knight" for track 10. Track 11 sees label head A-Sides ramp up the BPMs a bit, showcasing his uncanny remix ability with his drum 'n' bass take on another Datsik classic, "Gizmo".
Last but not least, we close out the show with something different, "Hold My Tongue": razor-sharp rhymes over a laid back hip hop beat, neatly executed by long-time dance music producers Total Science.
BassHead Music's new All Killer, No Filler LP is out digitally on Tuesday, June 26th. Be sure to up your copy and support local music!