Only The Beat had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with legendary bass music producer Minnesota
on the first stop of his Mind Machine Tour
and G Jones
. Minnesota is Christian Bauhofer; a young, humble, seemingly nerdy guy with a mop of ginger curls and matching scruff. But don't let his innocent appearance fool you, Minnesota can throw down like no other! He is a trailblazer in the bass music scene, epitomizing the future bass sound for our generation. As a slightly younger bassheads, Minnesota was one of the first artists we latched onto. Not only is he an incredibly talented producer and DJ, but he is also an all-around nice guy; from giving his music away for free, to inviting Only The Beat onto his tour bus to pick his brain.
Read on to discover what he has to say about his production style, up-and-coming bass artists and even some tips and tricks for aspiring producers!
OTB: Where does the moniker Minnesota come from?
I grew up in Minnesota and moved out to the Bay Area and people started calling me that before I was DJ-ing and just used it for that- I couldn't think of anything cooler.
OTB: How would you define your sound?
I just say bass music, it’s kinda the easiest. I used to associate more with dubstep but it kind of has a bad connotation nowadays so now I just say bass music as an umbrella term.
OTB: How do you feel about dubstep getting a bad rap these days?
I dont actually care too much. It’s honestly still huge. It’s really not dead- even heavy dubstep is doing well. I’m fine with it, just more that the music I make and play is not all dubstep. So bass music just works a little bit better.
OTB: Your music has a very outerspace/futuristic sound to it- has that always been the type of music that you’ve aimed to create?
Definitely going for the more psychedelic vibe.
OTB: Do you think we will see a larger emergence of this future bass sound in bass music in coming months/years?
Yes, absolutely. Just with so many more kids out there getting the software, there’s just so much talent. Before this tour I was going through Soundcloud and there are so many songs with 1,000 plays that are so dope and so awesome. I think it’s definitely going to get more popular. G Jones and Jackal both kind of make that genre too and they’re both blowin’ up. I definitely think it’s going to get bigger.
OTB: You introduced us to Space Jesus, an artist we now love, thanks to your repost on Soundcloud. Can you name any other emerging artists that you believe deserve recognition in the bass music scene?
I used to always say G Jones but now he’s huge so I can’t really say him anymore. There’s this guy Deon Custom who is starting to get a lot of hype and he’s really good. I’d definitely say to check him out.
OTB: Which artists initially sparked your interest in producing electronic music?
The first electronic artist I was introduced to was Justice
. And then a year or so later, I got into Bassnectar
... stuff like that. So those three guys are really what set me off.
OTB: We already know that you’ve collaborated with G Jones and Seven Lions a lot in the past. Are there any other collaborations coming up or dream collaborations that you’d like to do in the future?
I don’t know, there used to be kind of dream collaborations, but I’ve found that I don’t really work too well with other people. Even working with Seven Lions
- I was really stoked to work with him, but he’s a really talented producer, and it was kind of hard to get on his level with things. Producing with Greg [G Jones] is my favorite, because we work really fast and really well together. So, for now, I’m just planning on working with him.
OTB: So, Burning Man… I saw a video of you and G Jones killing it at Camp Questionmark. I know this was your fifth year attending, but had you ever played the festival before? Tell us a little bit about your experience on the playa/your (multiple) sets at the festival.
Yeah, that video is at Camp Questionmark, which is who I’ve been camping with for the last 5 years. They’ve basically just grown and grown. The first time I camped with them and played with them was a really small stage and that was when bass music was first coming up. And now this year it’s a massive go-to bass music stage. And crazy artists just come through. Like right after us was Skrillex
doing a versus set, and Alvin Risk
also played that night. And now we do our versus set there every year and it’s turned into a staple. We’ll definitely do that every year.
OTB: We would love to see you at some festivals here in the Northwest. Do you have any plans or interest in coming out here next summer?
I’d love to do What The Festival
again. I played there the first year, but that would definitely be awesome. I’d also be down to play Paradiso
, I do like playing for USC so that would be pretty cool. Shambhala
was also amazing and I’d love to do that again.
OTB: Where are you most excited to play on this tour? Why?
I think a lot of us are really excited for Chicago.
OTB: What kind of software do you use and what are some tips and tricks you wish you knew about it before you began using it?
I gotta keep some of these in pocket cause I get the ‘tips’ question from people a lot after the show. So I use Ableton with a bunch of other soft synths, but one thing that really changed how my music sounded was doing the mix downs at low volumes. When I first started getting into it I would blast the volume and get into it but that can really mess up your mix downs. So just turning everything down really helped me a lot.
OTB: Would you ever consider producing music drastically different from your current genre, a la Skream?
Yeah... I would. I do try sometimes to produce a certain thing and it ends up completely different. I’m definitely down to produce music with rap beats or something like that.
OTB: Who is the first to hear your music aside from yourself? Close friends, other DJ’s, family?
*Laughs* I’m so self conscious about it. I’ll show my girlfriend and I can kind of gauge if she likes it or not and that’ll kind of determine if I’m going to keep going on it. 'Cause if she likes it, I know that a lot of girls will like it and it kind of works. Sometimes, if I know it's a dope track and she doesn’t like it, it’s alright and I’ll keep working on it. But I honestly don’t really send it to too many people and I want to wait and see what people will think.
OTB: I want to thank you for giving out so much of your music for free to your fans. Why do you do this? Do you feel that it has any sort of positive or negative impact on your sales?
No crazy reason. As an artist, most of your money comes from doing shows anyway. It’s really just easier. I used to get annoyed having to enter in my credit card info, so it’s just easier to enable a free download, people get really stoked on it. Some people think it's really kind of me, I guess, but I don't really think it's that big of a deal. You can get any music you want for free, so I might as well just give it away.
Download the entire Minnesota collection here!
OTB: Tell us more about your Bassnectar remix?
Yeah for sure. It’s a liquid drum and bass remix of his song “Open Up” and I’ve listened to it so many times and played it so many times, I can’t even tell if it’s good anymore. G Jones did a remix too that’s really dope.
OTB: Some of your newer music, such as the awesome "Thunderdome" collab with G Jones, has trap influences in it. Are you going to continue to make more trap in the future?
Yeah. I’ll go in and try and produce a trap track and it’ll just come out sounding like something else so it’s honestly what comes naturally. I would love to produce more hip-hop sounding stuff. Cause I do play some trap stuff in my sets and I do like it a lot so I will produce more stuff like that.
OTB: How much time do you typically spend on producing a track?
When I work with G Jones those tracks take like 2 days. But when I produce on my own it’s excruciating and it’ll take like a month and I’ll get to the end and I won’t even know if it’s good or not. On my own tracks I spend way more time than I should. Another tip for artists is not to spend a lot of time on your tracks. Just spit it out. If you keep working on it you’re just going to end up hating it *laughs*
OTB: What can we expect from you in the latter half of 2014 and the new year?
So we’ve been putting all of our efforts into this new tour so I haven’t been working on any new music in the last few months. But once I get back home I’ll start working on some new stuff. But as of right now this tour is pretty much it, though.
Don't miss Minnesota, along with Jackal and G Jones on the Mind Machine Tour.
More information here.
- By Hannah King and Maddy Bahner