Super producer Bassnectar found early inspiration at heavy metal shows in the basement of Cupertino’s public library before moving to Santa Cruz and launching his EDM career, according to a recent interview previewing his Northern California show this week.

The experience must have had quite the impact on the young Bassnectar, who continues to rock heavy metal imagery at his live shows an in new videos like this year’s Viva Voom. Bassnectar, who goes by Lorin Ashton when he’s not maxing out sound systems at massives around the world with his brand of dubstep-rooted electronic music, discussed his South Bay roots with Metro newspaper editor Steve Palopoli in an interview from his current home in San Francisco:

““I remember my band playing one time, and then after we played, Exhumed played. They were the San Jose death-metal heroes. They were three or four years older than me, and I looked up to them. They had hair on their arms. They were godly to me. I remember they came on, and at the first strike, the room exploded. Every single one of them, you could just see the muscles tensing in their arms as they played, and in their throats as they sang.”

The body-memory of that moment still echoes today in Ashton’s hair-whipping, sweat-soaked performances. “It really affected me, ’cause it’s how I normally felt. At that age, I needed one of my peers who I looked up to show me that that’s what you do: you let yourself be you.”

Bassnectar stops first in Santa Cruz, where he attended UCSC, on Thursday for a sold-out show before heading to Sacramento on Friday and San Jose on Saturday. We’re giving out a pair of tickets for the Santa Cruz show today at 4pm on our Facebook page.