Q+A: Olie Bassweight

Olie Bassweight

A veteran and kingpin of local bass music, DJ/producer and label boss Olie Bassweight recently released his long awaited debut LP The Ghost In The Machine which has further cemented his place as one of NZ’s leading electronic music exports. We had the chance to ask him a few questions and here’s what he had to say.

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Approximately how long was The Ghost In The Machine in the works?

Hmmm, well I’d say a lot of those tunes i was working on about two and a half years prior to the album coming out. I had a hard drive crash in the middle of those two years somewhere so a lot of tunes I originally wanted to be on that LP didn’t make it. I essentially wrote two albums that were meant to be The Ghost In The Machine some I still have the stems for, some I don’t.

How satisfying is this release considering how long you’ve been in the game?

Pretty damn satisfying to be honest, after its come out I have been able to relax and work on new projects. When I was working on the album everything I was writing was being done with a vision of the album. I’ve even cut down on my touring recently letting the album do the work. I’ve been working so hard for so long, going up and down the country. It’s good to be able to feel content as an artist. Obviously this wont last too long. I’ll be back on the road in no time. I’ve got tours of Asia and the USA coming up this year.

When did you start taking the idea of making music seriously?

Somewhere around 2007 I think. I quit my job (or got fired, I can’t remember) decided ‘OK… this is what you’re going to do’. I decided that life was too short not to follow your dreams. So I started just writing music constantly until it started to sound good. I think it only really pays off if you put everything you have into it. I started fiddling with electronic music production software when I was around 13, bought my first turntables and drum machine – it’s all just a blur now. But I look back and this culture has been such a huge part of my life for so long it has become my life.

You have toured alongside some true bass music titans – what important lessons have you learned from those experiences?

Never take LSD at airports. If a chamber maid wants to give you more towels, you bloody well take em. Never go near McDonalds after 4am in Dunedin. Bourbon is bad – Jamesons is good. Always take a torch to an outdoor rave. Never use Serato. Try to avoid Palmerston North and Hamilton.

What distinctions do you think the local crop of dubstep/bass artists have opposed to other parts of the globe?

These days not much at all, its funny how electronic music evolves so fast – the internet has a huge part in this, as does the huge amount of free access everyone has to cutting edge production software. New Zealand will always have its roots sound, but even this is a culture that has come from another part of the world. We are such a young country when you boil it down, and we have taken our influences in all forms of art from other places in the world. Very little art is unique to us. But when it comes to “bass music” – NZ has a ridiculous amount of world class producers in so many different genres, THAT I cannot explain. I guess there’s just something in the water.

How did Bassweight Recordings come about?

Well when dubstep was first in its embryonic form there was so much awesome music being made I wanted the world to hear it, so I started a label.

What advantages and challenges does running your own label bring in this day and age?

Well its handy for me. I get to release my own music and the music of other producers I like.

Dubstep has evolved into a commercial colossus and subsequent musical offshoots from it’s modest South London beginnings – has this altered any of your attitudes as an artist?

For quite a long time I felt so lost with dubstep. Around 2009/10 shit was starting to blow up real fast. The shows were getting bigger and bigger, but the music got worse and worse. The original vibe that I got into, turned into a giant fluro coloured panda with a chainsaw and a bag of MDMA. The meditation and the low frequency minimal vibes were disappearing, and I found myself playing music and supporting music that made me feel like I had a mouthful of Satan’s worm jism. Sure the money was good, but I felt like I was selling out. Recently though the lines have become a lot more clearer when it comes to dubstep. It has splintered off into different sub genres, and the original vibe has returned to the underground where it belongs. Really have to thank trap for taking the EDM raver crew and giving them their own home.

What are you listening to at the moment?

When I’m not listening to dubstep, drum & bass or electronica in general, I’m listening to a lot of Home Brew. I love their album so much. I really appreciate that there’s a new generation of NZ musicians that are coming through speaking the truth and writing music from their heart, no boundaries, no posing, no plastic.

Where to now for Olie Bassweight?

I’ve started writing a new solo EP project that’s pretty much finished, which will be the blueprint to my next solo album. I’ve also started a collaborative LP project with a friend from the other side of the Pacific. I don’t really want to reveal too much about that right now but we are hard at work on that at the moment. ‘The Tides Have Turned’ music video has just come out. And I’ve got tours of the USA and Asia lined up for 2013.

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The Ghost In The Machine is out through Bassweight Recordings

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