Like world-renowned contemporaries Dirty South, Bag Raiders and TV Rock among others, Sydney-based DJ/producerBass Kleph
(born Stu Tyson) has been riding the crest of the wave of an Australian electronic dance music renaissance since the late '00s. But Tyson has in fact been honing his craft for well over a decade and actually had something of a burgeoning early career in rock before getting into the EDM game, having toured Australia and New Zealand in his teens as the drummer of successful three-piece act Loki.
2010 alone has seen Bass Kleph take the international dance music scene by storm, with a Beatport #1 and mid-year chart-topping remix of Joan Reyes's "Shakedown and the club/radio pop smash "$pend My Money" featuring Stellar MC. Meanwhile he's continued to expand his Vacation imprint, along with new sister label Exit Row, with their success propelled by incendiary releases from Wolfgang Gartner, Micky Slim, and Mowgli and support from international DJs across the board.
Coming off a recent hectic global tour with fidget house sensation Afrojack in support of his new Ministry of Sound Australia's Guide To The Underground compilation, Bass Kleph has started the first leg of a new North American tour and will be passing through our neck of the woods to play at club Cameo in South Beach. New Times caught up with the Aussie star on the cusp of his Miami performance to find out what he's all about.
Bass Kleph. With Christian Falero. Cameo. Doors open at 10 p.m. $15 in advance from wantickets.com. 1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. 786-235-5800. cameomiami.com
Read the full Q&A after the jump.
New Times: You had a pretty early musical start, playing drums and touring in a rock band at age 15. How did you make the transition to electronic music production and DJing?
Bass Kleph: Playing in bands was a blast! I released an album on a major label, plus four videos and lots of touring and TV stuff, but I found myself always drawn to dance music too. Dance music was all about the beat, and as a drummer, I quickly realized that this was my music. I started DJing and producing around the same time. After a few years, the band broke up, and I had a decision to make. Find another band, or try and take this dance music hobby more seriously. I chose dance music and never looked back! Sold my drum kit for samplers and everything (laughs). It's now taken me all over the world! Although, these days, I could almost see myself doing some more live stuff again... maybe.
Australia pretty much exploded onto the international electronic music scene in the late '00s with a barrage of highly original new artists. As a native of Sydney, what do you think caused this sudden Aussie musical renaissance and where do you see yourself fitting in it?
Australia has always exported great music. In the past it was rock like AC/DC, but these days the kids want dance! It's huge here, and growing more and more each year. My sound is predominately tech house, but takes influence from techno, tribal, and classic house. I like to work on the occasional radio track, but in the club, for me it's all about pushing the hot new underground sounds.
In 2009 you followed up your first label Vacation Records with the launch of a second one, Exit Row. What differentiates the two projects?
Exit Row is the more underground tech house/techno sub-label for Vacation. It's bringing more of a European sound to Australia and beyond. It's recently had great feedback from Funkagenda, Olivier Giacomotto, Francis Preve and many more.
2010 has been a busy year for you so far full with lots of international dates. What have been some of the highlights and what do you have going on for the rest of the year?
That's right. I just returned to Australia from my second UK tour for 2010. I had time for one Sydney show, and now I'm straight off to Canada and USA in just a few days. The highlights would have to be the massive success of my Shakedown remix, the new release "Hey Ya", and all the new collaborations I've been doing with Filthy Rich, Alex Kenji, Bingo Players and many more.
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Your remix of "Shakedown" by Joan Reyes just topped Beatport's mid-year chart as most downloaded track of 2010. What do you think it takes to make it to Beatport's Top 100? Is it all commercial formula or is there room for boundary-pushing originality?
I couldn't tell you. Like normally, I write what I want to write, what I wanted to hear. I had no plan of taking on the charts. "Shakedown" was not a "commercial" song in any way. It's just very fun and danceable tech house. Maybe that's what we all need more of. (winks)
What can Miami expect during your August 27 performance at Cameo?
I've started performing with a sampling drum machine, along with my DJ setup. It's so much fun. It lets me improvise beats, melodies, and more, all over the top of my records. Sometimes I even turn off both records and just jam live on the drum machine. Alongside that, I'll be bringing all my latest releases, remixes, bootlegs, and a bunch of stuff that ain't even out yet. It'll be sneaker friendly tech house, with a touch of techno too.