See Bassnectar’s Flame Flicker Stronger Than Ever in 2018
by Katherine Crawford
“Life goes by so fucking fast, and every single second is so fucking precious, and I hope that that’s what you take away from these events my friends. Cherish your bodies, cherish your friends, and make the most of every second.” -Lorin Ashton, New Years Eve Gathering 2017-2018.
Some artists really go above and beyond to use their platform for good. I’m calling the spotlight on Lorin Ashton, known as Bassnectar, DJ from California. Ashton, alternately nicknamed “King of the Sound”, has been in the musical game since the beginning of electronic music, delving in breakbeats, house and experimental samples all the way back in the mid-90’s.
Today, he continues to mash it up properly in 2018 with a new album, ever-transforming sets and even an private show in Brooklyn this year. Each year the man creates bigger and better events for his fans; family gatherings that he loves to call ‘art shows’ rather than concerts. From his intimate shows a decade ago to the 25,000 person throwdowns him and his team put together today, he is always improving and looking for ways to help out the community and improve the experience; expanding in all directions.
Photo by Eric Allen
Atlanta, Georgia was the chosen location for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, and Bassnectar delivered an insightful guest speaker amidst his set to tell us a little about his thoughts on today’s pressing environmental issues. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, age 17, is suing the U.S. Government on behalf of Youth for the right to clean air and clean water. In the words of the Bassnectar team, “We brought Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his organization Earth Guardians out to Basslanta so they could share their message of activism and environmental justice. At just 17 years old, he has already dedicated much of his young life fighting for the rights of the planet. He has organized a group of youth to SUE THE US GOVERNMENT for failing to protect them from the dangers of climate change”. Bringing Martinez out and calling attention to these issues set the tone for the year; “this is the year we take back the power”, shouts Martinez, as Ashton prepares to finish out the set in the new year and make 2018 the year of change.
“The corporate agenda that overtakes our right to live and breathe is something that we need to stand against” -Ashton, NYE 17/18
The Be Interactive team was live and in action during his annual Bass Center gathering, this year held at ‘The Mothership’ in Hampton, Virginia. As explained on their website, the group is a “... new non-profit project [...] which exists to inspire activism and empower people to give back to their communities in positive ways”.
Photo courtesy of Bassnectar
The team organized an art auction in the lots prior to the show that proved very successful in its launch at Freestyle Sessions in Colorado, and all proceeds went to Pine Ridge and Standing Rock Indian Reservations. In addition to this, Be Interactive, along with Conscious Alliance, gave out lunchboxes to the first folks to donate more than 20 cans to their food drive! In the lots, ambassadors floated around encouraging fans to register to vote, and turnout was highly successful.
Bassnectar Ambassadors this year are stronger than ever; if you walk into a Bassnectar curated event today, you will experience The Haven, a center run by his team of ambassadors that is a safe, tranquil place for all to break from the show. Here, you will be greeted with friendly faces, earplugs and water. Plus, wristbands are always on deck. When you venture onto the floor, you are sure to encounter many Ambassadors in their white shirts weaving through the crowd, ensuring safety and offering free water to everyone throughout the entirety of the show.
The most fascinating aspect of Bass Center XI was Be Interactive’s voting experiment; Ashton opened up a poll allowing fans to vote on which song they most wanted him to play that weekend. During night 2 of the event, the screens lit up with an announcer revealing the results of the poll; the majority vote went to Leprechauns Arise, a song that Ashton was rumored to never play, and the runner-up vote went to "I Still Believe" by Ted Nugent.
Photo courtesy of Bassnectar
Many fans suspected that Ashton would play the runner-up vote, which would have won through the electoral college if he’d followed the procedure of our U.S. government, to teach a lesson and inspire anger against the fault in our voting system. However, when he played the popular vote and Leprechauns Arise started to twinkle, the crowd stood in awe of how special the message was; we should get for what we vote for. All were jumping for joy; from fans experiencing their 70th+ show that night, to newer fans, it was indeed a heart warming and eye opening experience.
This event shows his progress as an artist and his determination to create art that resonates with his fans. Ashton explains all the back on his 2007 album, “The philosophical meaning of Underground Communication is important because it insists that you educate yourself, that you educate those around you, and that you plunge yourself into research, debate, and active involvement”. The music is more than just sound, it hits with a wave of intention, and inspires movement as well as involvement in the bustling world around us. In his shows, he samples many clips of political messages and portrays powerful images on the screens, hoping to trigger passion in his fanbase to stand up against injustices.
On November 29th, 2018, Bassnectar and his team Be Interactive threw down their first charity event with openers The Glitch Mob, Dead Prez, Ninth Child, Zion i, AShel SeaSunz and Xiutezcatl Martinez in his hometown of San Francisco, California. As advertised on the event announcement, Be Interactive San Francisco would run with “a special focus on the upcoming elections and how to promote voter fairness and justice. 100% of proceeds go to charity, and we are aiming to raise $100,000 for Be Interactive campaigns & initiatives”, promising their launch event to fuel the team’s further initiatives.
Lorin Ashton is no where near burnt out on what he does; rather, he continues to improve and explore heightened possibilities in his career. If you’ve yet to experience a Bassnectar event, consider buying a ticket to a show that is always a product of hard work, meaning and inspiration, as well as undeniably skillfully mixed jams that he melds together into a euphoric dance party for all to enjoy.