By: Christopher Conte
With summer inching steadily toward us, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep our excitement about festival season from bubbling over. Festy lineups are arriving each day, new releases are hitting the airwaves, tickets are getting snagged, and plans are being made. It seems that every piece of music news you hear is about building the momentum that barrel rolls into the summer season.
With this excitement comes the emphasis of certain genres. Trap, Jersey club, and future bass all gained steam riding into the summer months over the past couple years, but big festival stages are where they shine the brightest. Building off the Bass House boom of the past year, we're expecting the hybrid sound to dominate main stages this year.
Jauz's tweak on a classic sound has sent ripples of energy throughout the dance music world. You can't deny the influence he has had over the past year. Ephwurd, the powerhouse duo of Datsik and Bais Haus, teamed with Jauz, sending waves of inspiration through the scene. Those wubs were an awakening of monstrous sorts. EDM superstars continue to drop Jauz in their sets, further emphasizing what an impact the sound had on the industry. Everywhere you turn, one of his tracks is being played.
Datsik and Bais Haus point to that moment in time when they felt the sound was catching on. "Probably after Jauz released 'Feel The Volume.' Shortly following that was 'Rock The Party' which we did with Jauz and that's when we really saw a huge impact on the bass house scene. We were seeing videos popping up every week of huge DJ's dropping it like [Tiësto, Axwell/Ingrosso, and Skrillex]."
Jauz has absolutely exploded in the two short years since he burst onto the scene. Massive festival sets, and an unending tour that has left a rash of sold out club and theater dates in his wake have made him one of the biggest marquee acts in EDM in the blink of an eye.
In a sometimes stagnant industry, when fresh ideas hit the scene, they spread like wildfire. When talent like Datsik and Bais Haus work on a project that's both fun and inspirational, an anomaly is born and the dance floor demon that is Ephwurd was spawned. If you've been fortunate enough to catch a live set, count your blessings as they have only played a select few dates. Their debut came this past Halloween at Insomniac's Escape Psycho Circus main stage. They blew everyone away with their highly energetic and powerful set. It was like a Mack truck hurtling through a crowd of people. With a smattering of dates, including EDC NY and Shambhala, this rarity is a sight to behold. If you were lucky enough to be their at the debut, I salute you, but for those not so lucky, you can still hear the nasty set.
There is something seductive about the way artists get excited when a new sound emerges. The energy invigorates an artistic passion that spreads like a killer flu. Ideas flow, collaborations form, and risks are taken. It's a fresh muse that creative people can share. Everybody wants to dip their hands in it to see how they can twist it around or throw a new curve on it. Your favorite producers start to dabble in the sound and then the trend expands and explodes in a chain reaction.
Some haters see this as a negative. Cynics and hipsters alike will step up onto their virtual soapboxes, stating how this degrades the scene. But it is quite the contrary. When artists you admire get enthused about the progression of a sound, you should too! Whatever fuels them to be creative, you should support. You might not like it, and that's fine. You're not supposed to like every single thing that someone puts out, that would be boring. What you should do is have a sense of understanding and empathy for the creative process.
There are a number of standout artists creating bass house today. The wheel is turning. Some of the dudes killing the game right now include old favorites from the bass game, and brand new acts, as well. We're currently digging Joyryde, Habstrakt, JVST SAY YES and Drezo, who are all releasing killer stuff right now. Keep and ear out for all these guys. You can't deny the palpable energy that is felt during a drop like this Dirtyphonics remix from Habby or this Joyryde tune. It's total party music. This screams at your legs, telling them to get up and move. It's hard to actually sit down while you're listening to a tune like this. Right now, I have to keep reminding myself that I am sitting in office filled with people trying to work.
So where did this whole movement come from? Before the sound you hear today was developed, Tchami was releasing tracks like his "You Know You Like It" AlunaGeorge remix. This era might have been the beginning of the whole bass house sound. Whether it evolved from here or not is up for debate, but one can't deny the similarities. Tchami was the originator of the sound and the person who coined the name "future house." What is the real difference from future house and bass house? The answer is: the wubs. Bass house has much more of a dubstep feel. The deep bass wobbles as the lead is without question the main characteristic of bass house. Did bass house spawn from future bass or UK garage? There, it gets dicier.
According to Ghastly, our trusted bass house source, AC Slater along with Cause & Affect were really the first to push this vibe of dark dub sounds on house and garage beats. At The Untz we tend to think these three acts were the first to pave the way for the tunes we hear today. They were the three horseman to lead the charge. We try to give respect where it's due and this is one of those times. Without Tchami, AC Slater and Cause & Affect there would be no bass house.
Now the sound is spreading like a plague. A good plague, one that everyone wants to get infected with. One emerging artist who has contracted the disease is the aforementioned Ghastly a.ka. David Crow. He was recently on BBC's Diplo & Friends dropping knowledge with this monster mix. It reaches out to all different corners of the industry, not just locking into one style. What's fascinating about this whole widespread genre thing is that no one is pigeon holing themselves to a specific genre anymore. It's an open canvas. Whatever they are feeling that day or week or show or festival, they do. When an atmosphere is generated that allows artists to express themselves however they deem fit, everybody wins. High quality work is released, which induces sense of virtue, a sense of pride and satisfaction. This in turn feeds the artists creative ambition. In regards to this advancement that some DJs are achieving Ghastly had this to say:
"I don't think house ever really left, I feel that the spotlight shines in certain directions sometimes but the music in the dark rooms was still playing. I think that now it's to a point where genres just don't really matter much anymore on a creative level since we're at a point where all of them are converging."
"We discovered, played, and wrote house music before we got into drum and bass," the Dirtyphonics guys explained, "We’ve been making bass infused house songs for years and we’re excited to see this genre bloom today. It’s a great mix of the house vibes we grew up with and the heavy bass we all love."
Regardless of where and when it started, who is playing it now and where it will go for here, or if you dig it or not, the movement of bass house is unyielding. We are hearing it everywhere. The buzz is palpable. From dubstep producers to mainstream house producers. So sit back, soak up the sound waves, dance your ass off, and enjoy the ride (before it's on to the next one).