Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bassnectar prepares for sensory overload

Known for his heartstopping bass and awe-inspiring light show, Bassnectar adds to the slew of hypnotic electronic that’s passed through the Madison concert scene.[/media-credit]

Stimulating audiences from all over, Bassnectar has been pleasuring the senses of those seeking something different for years. This musical offspring of Lorin Ashton’s defies classification as it embraces influences from all branches of music while adding sonic flair and a background of pounding bass and epilepsy-inducing lights.

Ashton’s live shows are potent, and luckily for Madison, the 2011 spring tour will be hitting up the Alliant Energy Center this Friday.

A socially active artist, Ashton has given 100 free tickets to protesters who volunteered their time at the Capitol over the past few months. In addition to this, $1 from every ticket is being donated to help spread awareness.


While unavailable for interview with The Badger Herald, Ashton was able to give a short Q&A.

Q: What would you say to students interested in your music/performances but unfamiliar with the rave scene?

A: The rave scene is history just like ‘grunge’ or ‘Motown.’ It started in the late 1980s and was done by 2000 or 2001 (when the Bush administration cracked down). Everything moved to nightclubs, switched to indie rock or disintegrated to the fringe.

What is happening now is a renaissance of style and sound that bridges previous ideas and influences – as all genres and scenes do – and tells a story. But the story is being written now, so you are invited to come be involved in that amazing process.

Q: You semi-recently posted a blog entry concerning the political situation in Madison. When did you first become aware/interested in the protests?

A: I heard about [the protests] a lot, but I did not actually become emotionally interested until I cut through a lot of the mainstream media noise, which as usual tries to distract people and keep them uninformed. I realized it was an economic issue, not a political one. There has always been a class war where the rich want to stay rich, and the only way to do this is to keep everyone else poor. That is simple math.

…In America, the wealthiest 1 percent works very hard to keep the majority of people uneducated, poor and numb. I realized what Governor Walker was doing is essentially saying, “I support the wealthiest people getting tax cuts, but since we are in a recession and need to cut some expenses, I promote cutting expenses from education instead of from the rich.” Aside from that everything is noise and distraction.

So everyone who blindly accepted what the media told them…was basically the ass of the joke. And the joke is that the majority of us are willing to give $750 billion to the rich – in the form of the Bush tax cuts – so that we can cut education and other basic rights and needs from our own lives.

It is ridiculous.

Q: Do you agree with the label of Bassnectar as politically vocal/active?

A: No, I do not necessarily agree. Lately I am not as political as I am “socially active,” which means I have an authentic interest in fairness and justice.

I want to help contribute to increasing the quality of life for other people, and I feel naturally called to fight for the underdog. Society is organized around wealth, not politics, and the distribution of wealth affects every aspect of modern life. In the case of the U.S., a very small amount of people (the richest 1 percent) control most of the assets and most of the wealth. I think this is unfair.

Politics can be good, but they can also be a distraction, so I am more interested in getting to the root of the problem and trying to do my part to help out on a basic humanistic level.

Q: Do these beliefs impact any of the music you create, and if so, how?

A: I used to be interested in making political music. These days I am less interested in that (as there are many points on the spectrum…[though] my music is just as meaningful to me now as it has always been) and more interested in generally contributing to humanistic causes…

My mind takes music and leverages it in various directions so I can productively contribute to the world around me.

Bassnectar will perform at the Alliant Energy Center Friday, April 8. Tickets are $26 in advance; $30 day of the show. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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