We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with a number of talented producers around the world in the past 12 months. The stats on our Soundcloud page suggest the TRUSIK mix series has been enjoyed by the global community, with a combined number of streamed plays reaching 3,200 and close to 800 downloads. For our 10th feature mix, we return to the South Pacific, to an island successfully running its own unique bass community stimulated by a flourishing amount of fresh talent; New Zealand. We caught up with one of their most prolific producers and widely respected ambassadors of the Kiwi scene movement.
TRUSIK: Easy Olie. First up, so that the readers are familiar, what is your name, where are you from, and what were your motivations to become a DJ & producer?
OLIE: My name is Olie Bassweight, I am from a small group of islands in the South Pacific named New Zealand or Aotearoa (Land of the Long White Cloud). We are small country consisting of nearly 4 million people now, with our biggest city only just topping the million mark. I connected with electronic music at a very young age. I grew up in the Nelson region in the early nineties, where there was a new culture that would evolve to the present day as being one of the most special electronic music communities in the world. It was the music that got me first, the intricate compositions that seemed to make people lose their inhibitions and connect through this sonic art form, and dance. I just wanted to construct that music that connected with me and so many others. Emotions be it happy or sad, created by music is something that I have always been fascinated by.
TRUSIK: How would you describe the bass music scene in New Zealand, are people more interested in the commercial hype or the minimal bass driven sound?
OLIE: When it comes to “Bass music”, I think its the same as the rest of the world at the moment. The sounds that seem to be the most ‘popular’ are the hype wobble, gash rave, brostep – whatever you want to call it. However, overlooking the development of New Zealand’s dubstep scene, the deep minimal, organic sound has always, and will always be appreciated. New Zealand has had a strong “roots” / dub / breakbeat culture and our producers and DJs far and wide, have taken to the dubstep sound in all its forms like fish to water. Our landscapes, and amazing outdoor events have created a sort of spirituality between us. In terms of music, with a country of such a small population, its amazing how many talented producers have come out of it, in all genres. The true representatives of the “Minimal Bass Driven Sound” have always stuck true to their roots, and these days it seems more and more of the younger ones are getting into it. When we first started doing dubstep gigs, it wasn’t so black and white. No one knew what each style was. It was a bubbling pot of so many different sounds emanating from the dubstep flame. These days it is black and white, and the brostep / soulless / party / wob wob, take your shirt of at the rave and wave your glow bits around sound, definitely pulls more punters. However, that has never stopped the true followers to abandon it. I look around this country seeing the guys that were involved in the gigs / DJ’ing / producing from the beginning of this dubstep movement, and they are still there doing it, repping it hard alongside the new talent.
TRUSIK: We saw a sharp rise in new producers from New Zealand throughout 2011, who can you vouch for in terms of making REAL movements in the scene, domestically and internationally?
OLIE: There is so many, and have always been so many amazing producers in this sound coming from New Zealand. For the class of 2011, I think the breakthrough new artist is definitely Perverse. Alex and Brett have gained huge ground in the past year, internationally and locally, and they are (for me) writing some of the most exciting new dark minimal stuff. We recently released their Debut EP on Bassweight Recordings, 4 tracks with a collaboration from myself. Brett was sending me tunes for years and when the Perverse thing took shape, I really stood up and started taking notice. Special shout outs to Truth. These guys have taken the world by storm in the last few years and the colossus isn’t slowing down yet.
Organikismness / Soulware are doing great things. Harry is staying true to his ethos and trailblazing around the country with his unique sound like he has done for so many years. Consequence, another now well established artist honouring his skills in the New Zealand scene and breaking out to the world market with his unique deep soulful bass driven sound. The Iron Shirt Recordings guys, Konsida, Ghost Note and fam are making huge ripples as well, some really impressive music coming out from them. Tallan is another to watch coming out of Wellington, some of the bits he has been sending me has been blowing my mind, great producer with great ideas and putting them into audio so well.
There’s so many to mention its actually not funny… P vans: one of the originals! This guy has been writing dubstep for so long now, and has always stuck true to his sound. He has releases on labels all over the world – I just wish he got more music out there. There are so many guys writing such amazing music down here that never sees the light of day as well. So many audio nazis are never happy with their work and very seldomly let the world hear it. A recidivist in this area is Scott detail. One of the most talented musicians I know, he has released a bit of stuff and an EP on Bassweight Recordings. Watch the hell out when he decides hes gonna take the world on. Another special mention to Fis – he released his first 12″ in 2011 on Samurai music’s “Horo” imprint, this guy is extremley talented and will go very far.
TRUSIK: Have you ever found it frustrating to be hugely distanced from the original dubstep hub in the UK?
OLIE: Totally, on a certain level it has been frustrating, but to be honest, we have such a special thing popping off down here. In the last 5 years since starting Bassweight, I’ve watched the scene blossom into what it is today. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. We have an amazing community down here, and I really do love my Aotearoa fam!
TRUSIK: Carrying that positivity, do you believe it’s vital to be coordinating the movement that best suits the kiwi collective vision and aspirations of others as a whole?
OLIE: Yes! That is what is so special about what has happened down here. We are quite isolated from the motherland but what has grown here, is something really unique. Producers have been adding their own form of kiwi flavour to the music that is coming out of our country from day one. Kiwi ingenuity and originality is something very unique.
TRUSIK: Your label, Bassweight Recordings, holds real historic value in the South Pacific region. Can you enlighten our readers surrounding its significance.
OLIE: I started Bassweight in 2006, for the simple fact that there was so much talent emerging and no real outlet to get that music to the world. Little did I know, I created a monster. It was the first dubstep label of the South Pacific and in 5 years, we have launched many New Zealand, Australian and European artists into the world scene. Additionally, we have been promoting events all over the country, hosting milestone international artists and local artists alike. It’s quality over quantity. We don’t release much music, only hitting our 16th release in 5 years. I really try to get music that I think is groundbreaking and fits into the Bassweight paradigm. I try not to pressure artists too much into finishing a product without them being able to take their time and really be happy with the result.
TRUSIK: You have a LP in the works. Can you shed some light on any themes, concepts, direction behind the album & how has the production ethos altered compared to writing regular tracks?
OLIE: Well the title is ‘Painting Pictures on Silence’. I got the inspiration from an old Leopold Stokowski quote, “A painter paints his pictures on canvas, but musicians paint their pictures on silence, we provide the music, and you provide the silence”. Leopold was a famous British orchestral composer, most famous for his appearances and music for the movie ‘Fantasia’, a childhood favourite of mine. The project has really created itself when I set out to do it. I had no idea what to expect as its my first LP, but I have been involved in the creation of many releases through Bassweight, giving guidance and support for artists as they created their own EP or LP. Ergo, it wasn’t really an abnormal task. How it has come together has been something really special, and I can’t wait to give it to the world. It’s been a lot of hard work, and is nearing completion!
TRUSIK: Do you have any other releases in the pipeline or any significant developments you wish to share?
OLIE: Bassweight Recordings wise, there is a forthcoming debut EP from Australian producer ‘Dubfonik’. He’s another guy who has been sending me tunes for a few years now. When something clicked, it really clicked and im excited about getting this one out in 2012. Myself, I’ve just had a bunch of releases come out on Section 8 Recordings, from Denver, Colorado. On the other hand, most stuff im holding onto, as im not quite 100% sure what’s going to make the album cut. I just released a free/koha/pay as you choose EP on ConvoyUnltd (Melbourne, Australia), collaborating with vocalist Timmy P Mc, (Wellington, New Zealand). These tunes have been accepted widely over here and are doing well. One of the tracks has even been granted Music Video funding from the New Zealand government organisation, NZonAIR, so we are currently making that video which is exciting!
TRUSIK: The mix you have put together for us contains a mixture of material from yourself and other artists. Can you briefly explain the thought process behind the mix and the end product.
OLIE: The mix is a bunch of my own tunes and a bunch of cuts im really feeling myself right now. It varies in style, but stays true to the Olie Bassweight sound. There is lots of forthcomings and special bits in there – its great to get it out on such a great up & coming blog, pushing the sound I love so much.
Olie Bassweight & Kelly Dean – Playback [Forthcoming Bassweight Recordings]