What can one possibly say about Lorin Ashton, better known as Bassnectar, that hasn't already been said? At 33, this artist is a self-proclaimed workaholic that's been on what could be called a constant tour for the past seven years. He's been quoted as saying that he works upwards of 80 hours a week and that figure doesn't seem out of the question considering this year alone he's released a full-length album, three mixtapes, an EP and two music videos.
"It is mathematically, sadly, a very accurate figure," says Ashton of his weekly work hours.
Considering the already monumental success this artist has accrued, it's a fair question to wonder why exactly he's still working harder than even artists who are still trying to make it in the world of electronic dance music.
"I must be running from something," he says. "I have a fear of something. Maybe it's a fear of running out of time. I don't know, you can psychoanalyze that later."
If it's fear he's proverbially running from, it's venues he's veritably running to in order to escape whatever it happens to be that he's trying to get away from. Having spent nearly every day on the road since 2005, he's played for upwards of 10,000 people at a time, which can, even for the most seasoned of EDM veterans, make artists a little bit nervous. It's not so for Ashton, however.
"I think the first time I performed in front of a crowd was sophomore year of high school and I think that was the last time I was nervous. Since then, it's always felt like home. I performed at Red Rocks and before I went on stage I peeked out and the crowd and there were so many people everywhere I looked and I remember asking myself 'Why am I not nervous?'" he says.
A natural performer, Ashton's shows are known for being bigger than life, incorporating light shows and crowd interaction. As much as he's known for his music, he's known equally well for performing it, which may be just one reason why he's barely taken a day off in almost a decade. Although, that's about to change shortly.
"After I get back from Australia, I'm going to be taking several months off. I going to take one of those, what are they called? Oh, yeah, a vacation," says Ashton.
One wonders what exactly he'll be doing during those months, considering that he's admitted that he doesn't really know how to decompress.
"I've just always been really motivated," he says. "Even when I was in high school, I was getting straight A's and smoking pot all the time and making bad punk music with my friends and in college I had two majors and a minor. I've just always been this way."
His thongs of fans the world over are, of course, happy the man never stops working, bringing them both non-stop new music as well as live shows aplenty, but they also seem to hang on to his every word, and there can be many. Outspoken about politics and community, he's never shied away from sharing his opinions with his fans and the world.
"I think people can confused, because I'm not actually interested in politics. I am really interested in people leading healthier, happier lives. It's a complex social issue and I will make statements about it," he says. "I don't want my country getting any worse."
Open and honest about who he plans on voting for, Ashton's quick to admit that both candidates are "corporate motherfuckers" who really don't care about anything but their own bottom lines. Choosing the path of lesser evil, he says Obama has his vote. And he's not shy about telling people why, exactly, a vote the other way is a bad idea.
"People think Romney is the perfect idea of a Christian politician, when in reality, he's Mormon. They're presenting him in such a way so people, who are leaning on oblivious, will vote for him based on what he appears to be," he says.
Though we can't foresee a political future for Ashton, there is plenty he's working on in terms of new and upcoming music (are you surprised?).
"I'm currently working with Underworld – they were one of the rave acts of the '90s – and I'm also getting to work with Primus. My manager is really into punk rock, so I have a lot of access to all of those bands," he says.
As for new sound and style, you can always expect Ashton to be at the forefront of originality.
"I've always considered myself an innovator," he says. "I feel like in our society there's such a vast onslaught of over-stimulation. There's so much in our A.D.D. culture that's overlooked because there's always something new happening. I want to create something that's unique, but also the best and the newest." | RDW
Bassnectar • 11/7, 7:30 p.m. • The Fillmore • 2115 Woodward, Detroit • thefillmoredetroit.com • 313.961.5451 • $35/$55
Quite often the rule of quality versus quantity is one that should be followed without a doubt. Bassnectar turns that rule on its head more often that we could possibly count, releasing full-length albums, EPs and mixtapes on a ridiculously regular basis. And this workaholic doesn't just throw together any crappy old tracks just for the sake of adding titles to his discography either. Freestyle is the perfect example of this artist's ability to constantly keep his fans happy with new and quality music. Featuring guest vocals by Angel Haze and Mimi Page as well as collaborations with DC Breaks, this is yet another innovative and impressive musical venture by Bassnectar. The six-track EP also includes "Human" a Zion I track remixed by Bassnectar as well as "Ego Killer," an Amp Live & Eligh remix that also features Timeline. "Breathless" is a personal favorite, featuring a slow start with distorted vocals and a quick speed-up that leaves the listener wondering just how incredible it will sound live. —alysa zavala
Worth a Listen: "Breathless" and "Hologram"