Following on from our first installment of ‘the Bass Coast’ I decided to venture deeper into the chasms of bass music on the North American West Coast. Throughout my various conversations and attended events ‘Jesse Disociate’ seemed to be a name that regularly featured in and around line-ups across the family of venues in Vancouver. I was fortunate enough to drag the man along to interview (at a café called ‘Yolks’ no less, Irish heads rejoice) which you can read in full below:
Q: Ey up 3000 Blog, it is my esteemed pleasure and privilege to introduce a member of the ‘TURU Crew’ a friend of the ‘SHAHdjs’ and somebody who’s deeply involved in the bass music scene here – please, introduce yourself and give us a wee rundown of your involvement in the scene.
A: So, my name is ‘Jesse’, I DJ under the name ‘Disociate’ and I’ve been running the TURU crew for around four years in Vancouver now. I’ve been putting on shows around once a month, usually a local thing one month and a headline show the following month. I’ve also played a few different BC festivals over the last few years including ‘Bass Coast’ and ‘Luminosity’ and yeah, I don’t know what else to say (laughs).
Q: (Laughs) that’s perfect, thanks! Bass Coast in particular seems to be something of a Holy Grail for bass music here; I hear it spoken of in an incredibly high regard and I know lots of people who aren’t even invested or involved in the scene here who share that feeling. What experiences do you have of the festival and what does it mean to you?
A: Bass Coast holds a pretty special place in my heart; I’ve been involved with them in a few different ways since 2012 which was my first year attending and also my first year volunteering for them… I volunteered as part of the setup crew doing carpentry and every year except the first year I played I’ve been volunteering with them, usually on the setup crew. The year I did play I also did an art install with my friend Willis of SHAHdjs who is also quite involved with the festival as well. I’ve been going every year since 2012 and 2012 was a very important year for me going to that festival because it really showcased to me the underground scene in Vancouver which I was just starting to get familiar with.
Going to Bass Coast that year really opened up my eyes to a lot of new artists and a lot of different new sounds and it seemed to be a really important year for the scene itself; people were starting to move away from Dubstep and started experimenting with a lot of other stuff like 130 BPM stuff, Trap, Halftime and a load of different hybrid-style sounds.
They used to be located in Squamish but then they moved to a much larger site in Merritt and they’ve probably doubled, if not quadrupled in size since I went in 2012.
A: Yeah it’s pretty crazy to see how far they’ve come. We could probably say they are a world-renowned festival now and all the headlining DJs who have come and played have nothing but praise for it and have helped spread the word around the rest of the world.
Q: That leads us very nicely into my next question actually! What is it that got you into bass music initially? Would you say it was Bass Coast in 2012?
A: I would say Bass Coast 2012 was definitely a defining moment; I went to Shambala the year before and that was my first, big electronic music festival. I had a good time at Shambala and there was a huge variety of electronic music but, at the same time, it didn’t grab me as much music-wise as Bass Coast did. A lot of the stuff was more – how do I put it – lacking surprises, you know? You would hear a lot of sets that all started to sound the same whereas Bass Coast seemed to be very forward thinking.
Q: In a way that highlights the two-way relationship between taste and artists too – you get nights/events/festivals that reflect what is popular currently but then there’s also that relationship that comes top-down, where artists showcase a new sound and set the trend rather than follow it.
A: Yeah I think for Bass Coast they always try and showcase a very large aspect of the local scene and in particular local producers/DJs. That often tends to grab people a little more than some of the headliners, some of the headliners that get booked aren’t necessarily the most popular but a lot of the heads know about them. A lot of people come and put their trust in Bass Coast and leave themselves open to new sounds; it happened to me and it happens to a lot of people.
Q: That’s awesome. We were talking before the interview about the history of the scene here – could you give us a rundown of a history of the scene here?
A: Well Lighta! Crew formed in around the mid-2000s and they really started pushing the Dubstep scene in Vancouver. Here we are in 2018 and they’re still a crew, albeit doing fewer events as ‘Lighta!’. They basically do two, full-crew Lighta! jams a year now but each member has branched out in their own way and each member has hosted their own events. Lighta! was spearheaded by Michael Red, to my knowledge and also Jamie aka ‘Tusk’. You also have people like ‘Mandai’, ‘Tank Girl’ , ‘Self Evident’, ‘Max Ulis’, ‘Daega Sound’, ‘DJ Cure’ and one of their newer members ‘the Librarian’ who is also one of the founders of Bass Coast.
These guys really paved the way for more underground sorts of bass music, they were doing a lot of events in parallel with the SHAHdjs, who at the time were more Drum and Bass with a bit of Dubstep. Lighta! eventually moved away from Dubstep and started doing more hybrid stuff.
Q: I (at the time) unknowingly saw you at Djrum and I saw first-hand the diversity that’s made its way into music here. To a more personal question: what would you say your standout gigging experience has been over the last few years?
A: Hmm, it’s a tough question.
Q: (Laughs) it always is!
A: Yeah… Playing Bass Coast is always super fun – I’ve had the privilege of doing that twice. I’ve had a lot of fun playing my own events too and it’s kind of hard to narrow it down, but it’s a great feeling when the room is packed with three, four, sometimes five hundred people and the crowd is super receptive to what you’re playing… with that said I’ve also had some great experiences playing smaller parties, you know like after hours at a friend’s space; getting to play a set from five to seven in the morning is my favourite time to play. I love rolling into melodic morning music from darker stuff.
Q: This next question follows on from the conversation we had prior to this interview about spaces in Vancouver: do you think there are sufficient spaces here for the scene?
A: No, absolutely not. It’s almost a kind of cat-and-mouse game.
Q: That is the impression I got.
A: Yeah, venues are always getting shut down, new ones always seem to be popping up but there are always times when there’s a bit of a lull. They call it ‘the underground’ because that’s just what it is. Personally I don’t enjoy doing events at club; it’s not the right atmosphere and they usually can’t go as late – it’s really not the same as doing it in an underground venue.
Over the years there have been a lot of venues that have come and gone and the ultimate goal for myself and a few others is to take hold of the situation and get our own space. That would be a dream come true and is always something I’ve wanted to do – that doesn’t come without its share of fears though, particularly considering I don’t have a lot of experience in running a venue. It’s a lot to take on by myself but it’s looking like a few of us are banding together to make something happen in the future in that regard.
Q: Another personal one for you: is there a particular album or tune that you see as inspirational?
A: Just about everything that Synkro does. He is god to me (laughs). I’ve been listening to him since 2011 and it’s been interesting hearing his sound change over the years and it’s been really inspiring to me. Also a lot of the autonomic Drum and Bass stuff like DBridge and Kid Drama have done together, that’s usually quite stripped back – still at 170 BPM but in halftime a lot of the time, a lot of space, percussive elements and a lot pad work.
Q: Do you have any of your own stuff coming out soon?
A: I’ve been working on a debut EP; I’ve been producing music for years but not really finishing much.
Q: (Laughs) That’s how it goes.
A: (Laughs) Yeah, with the motivation and push from friends and seeing people around me release stuff has helped motivate me to get stuff done now. I’m trying to finish up an EP that’s gonna be around 4-6 tracks, all originals and it might feature a couple of local vocalists on it too. That might be a self-release or I might bug Myles (Away) to get it put out on Smokey Crow.
Q: What kind of style will this EP be showcasing?
A: I would say it’s definitely got that autonomic Drum and Bass influence, lots of space, pads and melodies. Deep and emotive would be a good way to describe it.
Q: That’s what we like to hear! I feel bass music a lot of the time sells itself short and whilst you need people pushing the dirtier end of things, you also see, for the most part, people neglecting how diverse the sound can be.
A: Everyone wants to make bangers.
Q: Very succinct way of putting it!
A: The way I look at it is: is it stuff I’m downloading/buying to play out? Or is it stuff I’m listening to every day on my own time? Whether that’s in the morning making breakfast or driving around in my car, or listening to it at work you know? In those contexts I tend to like stuff that feels a little slower, a little deeper with more emotion and melody behind it. I think that this kind of music grows stronger over time because people are listening to it in a broader range of contexts rather than just, you know, saying ‘that’s party music!’
I think people tend to make more of an emotional bond with that kind of music too.
Q: Have you got any shows coming up in the near-future that you’d like to inform our readership of?
A: I wish! Not for TURU right now; I did two shows back-to-back and after that I wanted to take a break for a bit. I might be doing another ‘Lush’ event in February or March but the next thing I have coming up for certain is the New Year’s party at Backstage Lounge which will be featuring two other members of the crew: Sinerise and Handsome Tiger, as well as a slew of other Vancouver DJs. 13 DJs, 2 floors of music – it’s going to be a big night.
Q: As a final question: how important do you feel community has been to the scene here and is there anything you would say to anyone who is within a scene or looking to get into one?
A: Community plays a very important part as it’s much better to work together than against each other. If you want to get your foot-in-the-door show up to events, try to offer some help, be seen, be courteous.
Make sure you release mixes and music and send them to people, not just as a link but with a message behind it! Also don’t forget to pay homage to the people that are in front of you already doing things; I try to pay homage to the people who paved the way for me and always try to get them involved and have communication with them about shows they’re doing and whatnot.
Q: Thank you very much for your time Jesse, I look forward to bumping into you in the weeks to come.
Another huge thank you to Jesse Disociate for taking time to speak to us here at 3000 Blog and as usual you can find the links to all the relevant socials below. Be sure to follow Jesse and the other artists mentioned in this piece to keep up-to-date with their releases and shows!
Follow Jesse Disociate:
Follow Turu Crew
Words: Jordan Moussavi
Photo Credit: Michael Benz