Bay Area DJ Bass Cadet received his first taste of electronic music when someone handed him a CD titled “Freak Beats for Beat Freaks” by Lorin (now better known as Bassnectar). This CD changed his musical outlook, which had then consisted of only playing lead guitar in bands, and sent him running to the nearest store for turntables, a mixer and headphones.
Six months later, he found himself playing house parties all over Northern California. Today, he can be found at big festivals all over the nation and smaller venues, such as The EndUp.
You’re originally from Sweden. How did you migrate your way to San Francisco?
I was born in Stockholm into a cult of which my parents were put together in an arranged marriage. They were also in the opening band on the Dr. Hook tour that was going through Europe at the time. I grew up backstage at rock concerts all over Europe. Once, when I was two or three years old I’d managed to get away from my two Swedish nannies and wandered up on stage behind the drums. It was between bands and I guess nobody was watching so I jumped up on the stool and started playing this fully miked and live drum kit! I was totally oblivious to the 10,000 people in the audience that were listening. Once the backstage crew realized what was happening they, along with my nannies, tried to get me off the kit, but the audience by then had figured out what was happening and started chanting “let him play, let him play”. So, they let me play. I think my addiction to drums today probably stems back to that moment, haha! Both my parents are American so I assume their visa’s eventually ran out and we had to go back to the states. San Francisco has always had a feeling of magic for me and I jumped at the chance to move there. I currently live about an hour north of SF.
Where did you come up with the moniker Bass Cadet?
That was actually my buddy Dylan’s idea! Dylan, also know as Ill Gates, thought it was pretty funny and I’ve always been known as a space cadet so it just seemed to fit. I’m very much a dreamer with my head up in the clouds most of the time.
What made you connect most with the broken beat/bass heavy genres?
I’d never heard anything like that before. Those kind of rhythms get inside you and stir you up. It’s not the kind of stuff that I play currently, but I don’t know if I ever would have been drawn to electronic music if it weren’t for those genres.
You are the co-founder of The Purgatory Cruiser, which is pretty notorious at Burning Man. Tell us a little about that.
In 1995 some friends of mine built this crazy fire-blowing contraption to bring to the playa and asked me to help out with sound and music programming. I had so much fun that the following year I bought it with a another friend of mine, Evan Bender, and we started touring it around to LoveFest and other parties. It truly was a labor of love.
Since you are a frequenter of Burning Man, why do you think some people look down upon “burner music?”
By “burner Music” I’m assuming you’re referring to electronic music. Outsiders to the electronic scene think it’s all trance and techno but as an insider I have noticed one genre dominate the playa and that’s dubstep. Of course music is a matter of taste and it’s rare for a person to like all types. That being said, I think when any one genre takes over the scene it can start to annoy people. When I think “burner music” the only thing that comes to mind is dubstep. It’s taken over the playa as well as the world! I remember when it was first introduced to the west coast through Freq Nasty and I was stoked! We’d booked him to play on The Purgatory Cruiser at The Temple Of Breaks, but he surprised us all when he dropped dubstep! “Wow,” I thought. This is like the heavy metal of electronic music, ya know? I could relate. I’d grown up listening to heavy metal. I think it’s an amazing genre because of it’s ability to turn people on to electronic music that would never have given it a chance otherwise. That being said, I have also grown quite bored with it lately. When I go out I like to hear some variety throughout the night. Six hours of dubstep for me is a super downer.
You are often booked to play festivals, but also play smaller venues. What’s the main difference for you musically at a big venue versus a small one, if any?
I feel like I can get away with more at a festival. I love to take people on a musical journey that doesn’t necessarily fit into a single genre. I’m all over the board. Minimal deep tech funky break electronica, I wanna hear it all! When I play a club I tend to reel it in a little. I played The Bounce Festival last weekend in Belden and it was so amazing! The love pouring from that audience was super intense! That’s hand’s down my favorite party of the year! I guess I don’t get the fulfillment from a club like I do from a festival.
What music are you currently working on?
Right now I’m all about the big bouncy basslines with pretty melodies on top. Very minimal, but big! I’m currently working on a new mix that should be finished in a few weeks! You can find it on my Facebook page!