WTFIRGO — BASECK
BASECK threw his first rave when he was 13. When people in LA were looking for locations in the desert, his hometown of Lancaster provided the perfect place. Since then, music has been his life. BASECK started out as a DJ but quickly taught himself to use music production softwares from his family computer. He calls his music “futuristic laser gangster bass.” While BASECK’s music is experimental and electronic, there’s still an ode to the lowrider bass and 90s rave scene he grew up with. BASECK remembers FreshJive as an integral part of the 90s subculture he grew up with. It’s truly come full circle for him. The passion he had as a kid led him to a career that allows him to create community through music, much like those early rave days. Today, he not only produces and DJ’s but he also helps companies develop new instruments. His new EP “Energy Morph” is now out on Boysnoize records.
How would you describe yourself and your work?
I'm a sound artist. I’m a DJ/Producer and I perform a lot of festivals and raves. I make sounds that are deeply rooted in Los Angeles's rave scene from the early 90s. The music I make now is just a continuation of that lineage. I make hyperactive sounds meant to give people a burst of energy. I feel like it’s the punk rock of the future. People getting together and getting out that energy and just dancing.
Where did you grow up?
I actually grew up in Lancaster which is about an hour north of here. I started going to raves in Lancaster because people from Los Angeles were always looking for locations out in the desert where I grew up. I started throwing raves when I was around 13. We would drive around finding abandoned place and spend the week cleaning them up and finding sound systems.
What was it like growing up in Lancaster?
It was wild in Lancaster. There was extreme racism. When we threw a party one time in Lancaster and I was only like 14 cops came and told us to leave and were being extremely racist basically beating your ass. The whole point of the raves was for everyone to get together. Before we were into gangs and this was a way to leave all that at the door and just party and have fun. It's nuts when everyone's coming together but you're still getting beat up by the authorities.
How did you learn to DJ?
I got interested in like hip hop at an early age. They would be scratching on the hip hop tracks. Later on listening to the radio people would play all these Latin freestyle mixes and I would hear them mixing tracks together. My cousin Mario, his uncle had a DJ crew and he would show us tapes of DJ’s mixing and would drive us to Melrose to pick out records. Mario got a mixer and turntable and we would play a tape deck and try to mix and record it. Then we learned to beat match and try scratching. At that time we were getting into electronic music. We learned the fundamentals of hip hop mixing and scratching and then applied that to jungle or acid and various forms of techno music.
I just had to sell everything. I sold all my Nintendo game. I mowed lawns. Any way I could make a little bit of money and eventually I saved up enough to get a system of my own.
At what point did you realize this could be a career?
Well you know the deejaying is just the beginning of it. Because from there I went into music production. There was the family computer and I started downloading free programs. I started playing gigs at like 16. Four years later, I met someone deejaying a rave at a skating rink and they were like, “oh we have this thing going on in Milwaukee Wisconsin and we play in barns and we want to fly you out.” The next thing you know I’m 19 years old getting flown out of state for shows to Wisconsin and they'd give me three hundred bucks. When I was 20 I moved to L.A. proper and things started to blow up. I was playing more playing festivals with like thousands of people. Then I got asked to tour in Europe at 20. My family never went on trips because we didn’t have the money. I started tripping and telling my mom like I’m going to Europe because of the crazy music I used to play that she would always tell me was too loud.
I started getting heavily into alcohol and drugs. That was a real big setback. I realized it was clouding me and not serving my highest purpose. and. When I got rid of all that, I decided I want to be the best I could be and these opportunities. It really started to blossom for me.
From raving and deejaying for 25 years I’m now realizing all the stuff I did when I was young led me to where I am now. Even the stuff with FreshJive. That was a big part of the young rave scene. Being asked to be part of this is crazy, full circle.
What inspires you about LA?
The richness of everything here. It’s a melting pot of every different type of people. Being Mexican, it's amazing to be around a bunch of other Mexicans and people that look like me. There’s something going on here where a lot of creativity bubbles.
How is the city reflected in your work?
Even though I do super futuristic sounds, I still feel like it has a mini truck vibe to it. The mini trucks, the low riders that that I grew up with, it was all about taking something like an old Nissan truck and giving it the wildest paint jobs and putting in the biggest speakers and playing really wild bass heavy music. I feel like that reflects in my music because everything has a mini truck swag to it. Futuristic laser gangster bass.
What are some misconceptions of the city?
That L.A. is so fake. I think that's just because people come in here really quick and they go straight to Hollywood. They go places that people in L.A. don't really go to. They don’t see the rich communities of of people helping each other out. Also that you need a car to be here. I didn’t have a car for about 12 years. I rode my bike and took the trains and buses.
What’s your LA?
It’s people and places. The most formative years of my life were spent in warehouse spaces dancing all night. Al the people that I met and all the people that are inspired by my interesting sounds that now live in Los Angeles. I have a whole core of people here that are creating amazing things and we inspire each other. Also the LA River. Something about being at the L.A. River where big graffiti pieces used to be. It’s where I like to kick it. I would feel really regenerated with other people that were doing graffiti the size of a couple houses. They spent hours creating these masterpieces.
What’s a perfect day in LA for you?
A nice bike ride down by the L.A. River. Going up to the market and getting some freshly made tortillas and just making music.
What’s your favorite LA song?
Kid Frost - La Raza
What advice would you give a young person growing up in Lancaster that wants to do something creative?
Well one of the things that's amazing that's available now is the information being everywhere like on the Internet. All you need is a computer or a smartphone, download free apps, and you can produce music. Creativity comes from doing the most with what you already have.
Also the power of manifestation. I started telling myself that I’m worthy and it doesn't matter how you're gonna get this stuff but it's gonna come to you and you'll find a way.
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