By Jackson Lavell-Lee
WA bass king ShockOne played a massive set at the left bank on Christmas Eve 2017, presenting the debut of new track ‘Bleed Black’ featuring Cruz Patterson from Koi Child, along with a deep array of bangers. The crowd was going wild all day and during the festive celebrations I took 5 minutes with the world-renowned Drum n Bass producer to talk his new studio, the Perth DnB scene and music over fashion.
It’s been a busy year mainly writing new music but also touring, I don’t know where the year went, you have your head down all year and then it’s all over. Compound with pendulum here was a real vibe at the exhibition centre in the city, it was fucking hectic and the Japan tour was pretty amazing too.
So, you lived in the UK, which do you prefer London or Perth?
I’m spending most of my time back in Perth now, I built a studio here in the northern suburbs so I’m spending most of my time in my “box”, my very own recording studio which I don’t really leave unless my girlfriend comes out and forces me to keep a semi normal life thing. I’m trying to have a surf every morning too.
How does it feel to be back in town looking around on stage and seeing so many adoring faces looking back up at you rinsing their faces off?
This show is pretty different for me, I’m used to playing at 1am or 3am to a drum n bass centric crowd whereas this crowd is a little bit more commercial. Each set is slightly different and I enjoy the variety, I’ll do this show, I’ll do one at Metros or Villa or Origin and each set is a little different and unique. Let’s be real, if the sun is shining I’m not going to play the heaviest DnB. I’m still going to melt their faces off but it’ll be a bit more feel good. Perth is one of the best places in the world to play a DnB set, I’m not just saying that because I’m from here, the crowds here are so crazy and so open minded, I love it!
I remember I curated a show here at Metros with CultureShock and some other dubstep guys from America and we were talking after the show, they were saying this is as good as it fucking gets all around the world! 2000 people vibing to underground bass music. We had a real euphoric moment where we thought we were really lucky to be here.
I know that you recently said in an interview with Pilerats that you felt like an outsider in the Australian music scene. Why do you think that is?
I didn’t realise it was going to get so many people talking. In Australia, I find myself feeling like a fish out of water sometimes. I don’t do music like Flume or What So Not stuff. I do drum and bass and there is plenty of other great DnB artists in Australia but they haven’t got enough exposure in my opinion. I’m touring over east to crowds that aren’t really a DnB or Dubstep crowd so I feel a little bit on my own in that sense. I kind of adapt my set but if I’m in London in Europe there’s that scene where I can just do my thing. I feel like that’s indicative of the Australian music scene, what I do is a little more Niche here. That used to give me the shits but now I actually kind of relish it. I’d love to see bass music get a little bit more love here. I’m trying to champion the DnB culture a little with my next album. I thought, I could follow what everyone else is doing and change what I’m doing to fit into a certain mold that is popular in Australia or I can do what I love which is dark underground drum and bass and that’s what my album is. It could backfire but I don’t care.
I remember seeing you at your shows back in 2011 and 2012 at Villa and Ambar and just being obsessed with your tunes, especially chaos theory, and your DJ Skills. The music scene has changed since then, how do you think you’ve improved or changed?
What we’re talking about isn’t music, we’re talking about fashion trends. When Dubstep was massive everyone was like “Fuck yeah bass music!” But then people got sick of that and some other trend took over. Meanwhile Dubstep and DnB keep doing their thing making real music. I’m not interested in fashion, I’m interested in music and creative expression and that’s why I make music. I don’t make music to get likes and plays on Soundcloud or Youtube. I’m interested in something I have in my head and expressing that. Whether that’s in vogue I don’t have any control over so I’m just going to make music.
I think that makes you more impressive, because each set is different and unique and you’re testing the boundaries of popular music with your releases and pushing the underground sound of bass music.
Sometimes it’s hard though because I feel like sometimes it falls on deaf ears. You do something that you’re really proud of and because it doesn’t fit into the parameters of Australian popular music it isn’t appreciated as much at home, as say, in London. Let’s say from a marketing perspective it would make sense to make a grime song right now but that’s not what I’m about and I don’t want to be an imposter or conceited, I’m not going to pretend I grew up with that movement.
I really rated your collaboration track with HWLS “Gamma.” How did that come about?
He’s one of my best mates and he was working on their EP and I was doing some mix down work on it and this track just came about from hanging in the studio. I’d written the guts of it and I threw it to him and he had some ideas and it just came about organically. I forgot I wrote that, I’m going to chuck it into today’s set. Thanks for reminding me!
What’s your production process? Do you use a sample first or drums or vocals, how does the process work for you?
It depends really, it’s all over the place most of the time it comes from an instrumental first and then I’ll get my sister Reija to come in and do some vocals, I really liked her vocals on Dark Machine. I’ve got another Perth Male vocalist on a new trappy track that I’m going to preview in today’s set, he nailed those rap vocals. Every song is a different beast. You put your head down, make noise, make a mess and see what happens.