Bassnectar (a.k.a. Lorin Ashton) has been called the King of Bass, the Lazer Bass God and the Lord of Dubstep. While he is undeniably worthy of these titles for his music, Lorin as a human being may be more worthy of the title of Benevolent Shaman of Bassheads.
“My ideal experience for a show attendee is that they feel at home and are interacting with the people around them and meeting new friends and just letting the room become one kind of organism of meta-human,” Lorin said from an airport terminal when he caught up with The Badger Herald on Thursday.
If the vocal Basshead community is any indication, Lorin’s ideal is frequently met. The meta-human community has been a staple of Bassnectar’s performances and career, one in which the fans have come first.
“The intention that I personally set is not to be a rock star and have this wild, fantastic ego career, but more to bring people together and supercharge them with an emotionally stimulating experience,” Lorin said. In the last year, he has attempted to give more than 250,000 fans that experience.
In the year since Bassnectar last played in Madison, he has released two albums, played roughly 60 shows and rocked nearly 20 festivals. “It’s basically just been nonstop,” Lorin said, laughing. “It’s looking like this year is going to be the same, so I’m just clinging on for dear life.”
Although the last year has been “bonkers” according to Lorin, it doesn’t appear that the bass musician is anywhere near stopping. When asked what would be different about this tour, he replied, “Hopefully nothing, because I loved the last tour, and I just want to do it again and again and again.”
Lorin explained that his tours are not about topping the last ones, but more about keeping a good thing going.
“My goal isn’t to find something that’s excellent and then change it,” he said. “My goal if I find something that’s excellent is to fucking do it again and again.”
“I don’t top myself, I don’t change, I don’t outdo myself,” he explained. “I’m just really naturally me, and it just flows. I think it’s a backwards way of looking at life to find something that you love and then hope it’s going to be different next time.”
Though the energy and passion are sure to be the same as his last Madison show, the set will be different, featuring tracks from the brand new album Vava Voom, along with much-loved fan favorites.
“Figuring out set lists is really difficult for me because it’s kind of like a parent having to choose between children,” Lorin said. “It’s really difficult because people think, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t do the same thing every night,’ but if I don’t do the same thing every night and I play ‘Lights’ or ‘Basshead’ in Indianapolis and not Kansas City, the 3,000 people in Kansas City are all going to be bummed,” he said with a laugh.
That doesn’t mean that Indianapolis will hear the same set as Kansas City, however.
“On this new set, I’m arranging it in acts like a play, and it goes in sections of 10-15 minute routines that are interchangeable,” he said. “Each routine I’ll mix on the fly, so it’s going to be improvisational. I can piece them together in a unique way, so each night could be a different set up.”
While Madison showgoers will hear tracks that are familiar, some surprises are in store as well.
“I basically just let myself free flow and play what I feel and play what I love. I also have just an unhumanly dense record collection from 15 years of collecting all genres, every fucking style, so I could play a 380-hour set easily. Well, if I didn’t pass out first,” Lorin said with a chuckle. “It’s hard to fit it all into 2 hours.”
Although the midnight curfew at the Alliant Energy Center may turn some attendees off, Lorin himself is not worried about the early night.
“Last time in Madison was off the chain, and I’m pretty sure it was over by midnight as well,” he said. Curfew or no curfew, “It’s going to go off hard, and I think that college towns have really enthusiastic audiences.”
“I’m really excited because when we played last year in Madison it was sold out and it was bonkers, and we sold out again this year and then they opened up another 500 tickets,” Lorin said. “Last year already felt insane, and I feel like this show has the potential to be 500 people crazier.”
Those who attend tonight’s show will not only get the bass experience, but contribute to the bass king’s charitable donations as well: $1 from each ticket goes to charities voted on by Bassheads, a donation Lorin pledges he will continue for as long as he tours.
“My New Year’s resolution this year, and for the past several years, has been to constantly focus on the little things in my life that I’m grateful for,” Lorin explained. “I’m just in awe of how lucky I feel and just really supercharged to give back.”
For Lorin, giving back to the world “is the least I can do.”
Bassnectar will perform at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall tonight. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $35 from ticketmaster.