Serious Bass: Interview w/ Epic Drum & Bass Trio Terravita
The Safe and Sound Festival is the first ever bass touring music festival filled with multiple headliners. “Knowing this is the first ever touring bass music festival of this caliber AND the first time my PK family unleashes their brand new sound system, people are going to lose their sh**!” – Excision
For all the bassheads out there, this is a GINORMOUS (yes I said ginormous), HEAD BANGING, BASS FILLED, EPIC event that should be mandatory to attend! Click here for more information in regards to dates, cities, and tickets!
Prior to attending Safe and Sound Festival in LA on October 16 at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, CA, I was privileged enough to interview Terravita, an epic drum and bass group whose recent EP just released on Datsik’s Firepower Records. My main goal was to get a sense of who they are as a group: what inspires them, how they define their sound and what they want fans to experience during the Safe and Sound Festival.
Who is Terravita?
Terravita consists of three DJs: Chris Barlow, Matt Simmers and Jon Spero. In addition to creating drum and bass music, this group has ventured into electro house under the name Hot Pink Delorean.
Terravita, though having roots and record label signings dating back to 2006, reached massive popularity in November of 2010 when they released “Up In the Club” on Beta Recordings. This particular track reached the number four spot on the Dubstep charts and was also featured numerous times on the Beatport Top 100. “Up In the Club” is argued to be a pivotal track in creating and refining the genre of drumstep.
OTB: What does your daily routine look like? Are you producing everyday? Take some time and walk us through your creative process.
Terravita: On the road it’s not as easy to stay productive in the studio. Fortunately there’s 3 of us; someone is always doing something. Matt isn’t on the tour so it gives him a chance to really sit in the studio and focus on what needs to get done musically. Chris and I can then add what we need to add. As for daily routine, it’s pretty much wake up, get as much work done as you can, soundcheck, play show, back on the bus, rinse repeat. Haha
OTB: How would you define your “sound”?
Terravita: I wouldn’t. Being confined to a sound is boring. At the end of the day we make bass music, tempo is just a variable and I don’t think anyone should be limited artistically to a singular sound. Exploring your limits is what makes art art. I’ll leave all the classifications to all the experts on the internet.
OTB: Which artists have had the biggest influence on your sound? And who would your ultimate dream collaboration be with?
Terravita: I’d probably say Pendulum for both of those. When ” Hold your Color” came out, it changed the whole game from sound design to mix downs and that had art huge effect on us. Getting to do a tune with them would be bucket list for us for sure.
OTB: Behind every DJ artist is a motive or reason as to what drew them to that genre. What made you so entranced by this musical avenue and more specifically bass music?
Terravita: When I first heard drum n bass back in like 1998 it was so raw but it had this dark backroom vibe because that was literally the only place you could hear it. For me it also had a lot to do with the people involved with the music. It was a place for outcasts. Everyone was accepted as a person and there was no judgement back then. I fell in love with the whole package it was magical.
OTB: How did you come up with your name ‘Terravita’?
Terravita: It means earth life in Latin. All of us are pretty interested in history of all different types and the idea of Gaia has always intrigued me. It’s really the only provable afterlife we all come from the earth and we will all return to it. When we picked the name though there wasn’t any crazy meaning behind it.
OTB: At what point did DJing go from a hobby to a profession for you?
Terravita: Probably around 2004 – 2005 we all quit our jobs and opened a record store in Boston called Trainspotters music. That’s when we started to focus full time on music. We threw shows as well but we were in the studio more nights than not. I actually lives there for awhile when we weren’t making any money.
OTB: Would you ever venture or do a bit of dabbling in other genres of music (i.e. hip-hop, rock, etc)?
Terravita: I make some hip-hop stuff occasionally for licensing purposes but we all focus all of our energy on Terravita 100%. There’s just not enough time in the day but we do incorporate all of those genres into the music we make.
OTB: What are your musical influences when putting together your tracks?
Terravita: We all have different tastes so we try to put a little bit of everything in there. Our stuff ranges. I suppose it really just depends on an idea.
OTB: Out of all your tracks which one is your favorite? Why?
Terravita: Probably ” We Are Alive” it’s a song that we did that was really different from anything we had done and I got to have a lot of fun writing it. That song means a lot to me.
OTB: You guys have an electro house side. What do you rather prefer to play, bass or electro house? Why
Terravita: Each has its own merits but we will always be bass guys at heart. I’d like to play more full on drum n bass sets coming up if we can find a way to get away with haha.
OTB: If there was any artist you could produce a song with right now who would it be?
Terravita: Probably Sam Smith. His voice is unreal.
OTB: If you could pick an artist to produce a song with from any decade who would it be?
Terravita: Toss up for me between young Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix.
OTB: What’s your opinion on current EDM music; the fact that its literally blowing up across the world and becoming popular and mainstream?
Terravita: I think it’s great that it’s getting the exposure it is. I’m just like everyone else; I have things I like and things I dislike but I support anyone out there doing it with passion and drive. It’s always fun to see things you love be loved by others.
OTB: Where do you see the progression of bass music in the next couple of years?
Terravita: Who knows? I think you’ll see a whole lot more genre fusion. It will seep into hip hop and metal a lot more. Elements of everything are already cross breeding so it would be only natural.
OTB: Getting to travel all over the world and play at different clubs and festivals must seem like a dream already. But tell us about one specific experience that you would describe as your favorite gig of all time
Terravita: There’s no way to pick. Playing for 7K people in Paris after taking in techno parade from the top of a float was surreal. Playing our first EDC was surreal. The crowd at Starscape Festival every year.. playing to a sold out abandoned subway station in Austria. Sweden and Australia in general. Shambhala is our favorite gig to play every year but It’s impossible to pick man. We’re extremely privileged in our life experiences and the ability to travel like we do.
OTB: What’s your favorite post-gig activity?
Terravita: Showering haha.
OTB: With the Safe and Sound Festival and being on the road, do you guys still have time to create or brainstorm for new tracks?
Terravita: For sure. Especially being around so many other creative people. It’s all we really talk about for the most part.
OTB: What is the most difficult aspect of being on the road?
Terravita: Being away from the people you love and missing so many things. We miss weddings, birthdays, holidays, graduations… pretty much we miss everything.
OTB: What’s your funniest/strangest/scariest experience on tour?
Terravita: Hmm ones I can actually talk about?
Funniest has got to be pretty much the whole Firepower tour. Everyday was hilarious. From fat scooter races in Walmart at 4 am to horizontal viking pours out the bus windows. Getting a pair of men’s underwear thrown at my face in Sweden was probably the strangest. Or when a naked guy fell from the sky onto the stage at Shambhala. Scariest is getting in a car with a fucked up driver. Thank god for Uber.
OTB: Do you have any new tracks or albums being released? If so what is your inspiration?
Terravita: We have a new EP coming out soon on Firepower Records. It’s a 4 tracker called “Fuel to the Fire” We wanted to get back to basics with this one back to lock down type stuff. A lot more midrange bass less high pitched synths. We’ve also got a lot of collaborations in the works so there will be a ton of stuff coming drop us soon.
OTB: What is the walk away feeling you want fans and listeners to feel after listening to your set at the Safe and Sound Festival?
Terravita: I just want people to smile. I want to give people an experience that let’s them let loose and get rid of all the shitty feelings from their week. Everybody has problems and whatever they are I feel like music is universal language that can give you reprieve from that. Even if it’s just for a little while my job is to make people happy and that’s what if hope they come away with.
OTB: Random facts and weird/strange/out of the box facts you would like to share with fans?
Terravita: Haha man ummm. I don’t know what’s considered weird? I’m obsessed with vinyl toys, comic books and video games. So basically we’re just a bunch of nerds. 😉 I dunno what’s weird is or isn’t.
Thank you so much Terravita for taking the time out of your tour schedule to open up in this interview. I am so excited to attend the Safe and Sound Festival; as all my friends know I am a trance girl who is into some electro house. For me to venture into drum and bass is an interesting and super fun experience. I am looking forward to “smiling and forgetting my shitty week” after raging and dancing my heart out to your set Terravita!
Readers, stay tuned to my post show coverage!
Latest posts by Monica Uppal (see all)
- Abandon Ship: Get Ready For Knife Party To Take Over LA - January 29, 2015
- White Wonderland: Ringing In 2015 - January 25, 2015
- Christopher Lawrence: Do You Even Acid House? - January 7, 2015
- OTB’s Prescription For Winter Sick Days - December 4, 2014
- The World’s Most Dangerous Producer: Dack Janiels Interview - November 13, 2014