Behind the Beat | AC Slater on Night Bass, New Directions and Being a Legend
When I got the confirmation that I would be chatting with the one and only AC Slater, I literally fell out of my seat and onto the ground in excitement and embarrassment. A personal favorite of mine, and many others alike, AC Slater has help paved the road for electronic dance music and is noted as a pioneer for this movement. His tracks date all the way back to the early 2000’s, when he was testing out all sorts of sounds from UK Garage to Electro to Dubstep. His successful career continues as he’s toured the world, created his own record label empire, Party Like Us and produced over 100 tracks and remixes, many of them being Beatport chart toppers.
Today he continues to excel in not only his producing skills, creating various EPs and weekly remixes, but has set out to ignite the grooviest new dance music party series called “Night Bass”, which happens at LA’s own Sound Nightclub and is hosted by his Party Like Us Records and Steve Aoki’s infamous Dim Mak Records. I was able to sit down and chat with AC Slater about his past, present and future and was blown away by just how friendly and down to earth he was. We talked about everything; though he has already accomplished what many producers only can dream of, it’s the pure and original sounds that he creates that allow this West Virginian native to continuously succeed and give us a breath of fresh air (and some bass-y grooves) with his music.
OTB: Tell us about the AC Slater your fans don’t know; what are your true passions?
AC Slater: I mean, I’m totally obsessed with music, so it’s kind of hard to think of something outside of music. I grew up skateboarding; that was my passion for years and years up until my twenties, but now my body is a little broken. Can’t really do that anymore, but I love cooking and films.
OTB: Nice! You pumped out a lot of great remixes and tracks this year, such as the Jack Beats remix which was huge. What can we expect from you in 2014?
AC Slater: I have a 5 track EP that is complete and I am talking to a label now ( thought I can’t say who it is yet ) but it’s a label I’ve never worked with and they’re friends of mine…but I have a bunch of stuff in the works!The thing I’m most excited about is me and Jack Beats finally got in the studio and got a good start on an original track!
OTB: So you’re noted as the “King of Heavy Bass House” and you kind of initially started this movement yourself (in the US) where did you get your original inspiration from when you first started making music?
AC Slater: Originally, I was inspired by producers from the UK such as Switch and Jesse Rose. I grew up on more “ravey” music and I always hated “house music” until I saw what they were doing, because I have a short attention span and to me it always seemed really repetitive but they had baselines and drops, though not as much as people have today, but a bunch of people took it back then they called it “fidget” (I always hated that name) but those guys definitely pushed me in that direction. Also, a lot of grime producers from the US like Drop the Lime.
OTB: Your EP “Night Moves” was epic, and has a lot of unique sounds coming from it. How do you keep all these original sounds flowing in your tracks?
AC Slater: I don’t really use samples, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but, I prefer to make my own sounds and I just love programming a cool sound on a synth and just kind of being proud of it knowing it’s original…I love that! I like pushing things forward for myself.
OTB: So what’s something you want to change in 2014? Should we expect to see you at more festival settings or clubs? I know you have Night Bass going on – but what will change for you?
AC Slater: Right now, Night Bass is my new monthly gig in L.A. that I’m doing with Dim Mak and my record label Party Like Us and it’s very different for L.A., and America in general – it’s somewhere between house and somewhere between EDM and I want to keep pushing that. And festivals are always amazing, but I am actually working on re-branding because I went through an experimental phase when I tried electro and dubstep, but for the past year I’ve been kind of going back to my roots like you were saying before, and doing the more “bass-y house” stuff and I want to bring that more to the states and establish that whole scene.
OTB: So you’ve obviously been producing for a very long time; what’s your advice for new producers out there?
AC Slater: I learned by teaching myself; I never had someone teach me what to do. I feel like you learn so much more that way because it’s really ease to fake it. I would definitely say learn the little things when it comes to production because it really pays off in the end. It’s always really fun to produce sounds and learn how to make music and just do you. Don’t copy other people!
OTB: Nice! I was taking a listen to your EP, “Party Like Us” from way back in 2009 and you have definitely proven to be one of the pioneers to allow EDM to become popular today; what do you think of the movement becoming mainstream? What do you see it growing to be?
AC Slater: I think it’s been underground, the whole EDM thing is crazy how it exploded the past few years, but I think the underground is coming back and I think that both could co-exist. I think EDM was so popular for a minute, where smaller, like middle-size [artists] are getting pushed by the bigger clubs…but now I think it’s the other way around. I like both but I really like the underground vibe, it’s way more about the music and less about the LED screen and stuff.
OTB: So tell us about your record label, “Party Like Us” what kind of direction do you want to bring your label?
AC Slater: I say we’re pushing it to be, “forward-thinking bass music.” We just want to push the sound in America, which is more like hous-y, bass-y, garage-y kind of stuff. That’s where we are headed now. We’ve got a lot of good artists such as Petey Clicks and Jay Robinson. We’re trying to bring sounds to the United States that are grossly underrated.
AC Slater: That’s funny you picked those three people, because they’re probably the three nicest people I’ve ever met, and I love all three of them– I couldn’t pick!
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