On October 26th, The Graduate in San Luis Obispo, California transformed from a casual bar into a concert venue to host electronic music sensations DYRO and BASSJACKERS. This evening marked the second stop on their North American ‘X’ Tour with guest performances from KENNETH G and JAY HARDWAY. It was no surprise that Dyro and Bassjackers put on an amazing performance, each delivering their signature styles.
Once Kenneth G and Jay Hardway had performed, Dyro took the stage. In 2014, he’s made the shift from progressive house to a more aggressive sound, and he definitely showcased that with his explosive electro set. He dropped his recent hits like “WOLV”, fan favorites like “Calling Out” and “Black Smoke”, and some powerful tracks from other artists, like KNIFE PARTY’s “Resistance.” His set was upbeat and high energy, while still maintaining a grimey vibe. It was awesome to see his new style come through and the crowd ate up every second of it.
Marlon of Bassjackers took the stage next, delivering an equally energetic set but with a totally different feel. Bassjackers is known for their hard-hitting, big room drops and that’s exactly what Marlon dished out. He dropped their mega-hits “Like That”, “Savior”, “DERP” with MAKJ (who was actually stopped by to watch the show), and “Hey!” with SHOWTEK. The crowd jumped and fist-pumped wildly with each powerful drop.
To everyone’s surprise, Dyro came back out on stage to perform b2b with Bassjackers to wrap up the evening. They made an awesome team and appeared to be having a blast, as they smiled and danced until the evening’s close. Together they mixed it up with some Melbourne bounce, some Skrillex, and even a couple trap songs - the versatile close was an awesome treat.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with both artists before the show to learn more about their careers, inspirations, and goals. Check out the interview below, and make sure to catch the ‘X Tour’ when it stops near you.
Interview with Marlon of Bassjackers:
How did last night go?
Last night was the start of the tour, first show, and we started pretty well. It got kinda crazy, we were partying really hard, and yeah, it was fun.
What are you most looking forward to on the tour?
For touring, I think just the whole thing is fun. It feels like a school trip like back in the day traveling with your buddies, going city to city, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be hard too because it’s going to be a lot of shows, playing almost every day, and traveling everyday. I’m just looking forward to all the shows, especially when we play new cities and new venues we’ve never been to before, and there’s a few of those on this tour. I’m basically just really excited about the whole thing together, not just one city - it’s everything.
You just got back from your Asia tour, what was that like?
The Asia tour was really good. I think it was our third Asia tour and every time we go there it gets better. We really noticed that our fan base is really growing in Asia and Asia as a market for dance music is really evolving. People are really stoked; they behave like crazy fans and want to take pictures and autographs and want to buy our merch, and they’re really into it. It’s so much fun to play for a crowd that’s really there for you.
What was craziest experience you had while in Asia?
Not really crazy, but it was pretty funny. We were playing a show in Manila and out of nowhere it starts pouring, like really raining, raining, raining, and the Cd players were getting rained over. So what they did was like six people were just holding up a plastic thing standing next to me to keep the rain out of the DJ booth. They stood there for like half an hour just holding that thing. But you know, the show must go on and that’s what happened, so it was pretty funny.
How was playing mainstage at EDC Las Vegas?
Oh, wow. So three years ago we played mainstage for the first time and it was only like a thirty minute set, and this year we had the privilege of closing the mainstage of EDC Vegas For me, personally, it was one of the most breathtaking experiences ever during a gig. Halfway through the set the sun came up and I had to say i got a little emotional. I got goosebumps, and I had to take a moment for myself to be like ‘yo, look where we got, we’re playing one of the biggest festivals in the world and closing the mainstage.’ It was a really big milestone for us, definitely.
You guys definitely have a really energetic, hard-hitting sound. What influences your style?
So when we started, we always produced like high-energy music. We started in 2007 and we always had this Dutch sound which is based on a lot of energy, but of course it evolved throughout the years, and we got, like, bigger its really like a big room sound, and I think you still hear what they call the ‘Dutch sound.’ Our inspirations used to be guys like AFROJACK, SIDNEY SAMSON - they’re all like ambassadors of that kind of sound. We made it our own a little bit, it’s different and we have our own approach, but it’s still the foundation is still that Dutch, big room sound.
Your recent hit “Savior” is currently number 4 on the Beatport Top 100 chart and is hugely successful. How did that track come together?
So we did “Savior” this summer, and we already had this track on Smash the House, Dimitri and Mike’s label, which was also number 4 on Beatport, and we wanted to make like a follow up on that track, kind of like the same but take a different approach. For this track we wanted to make it more melodic, a little more of a theme going on, and play around with the melodies. So we did a breakdown which is very melodic, and then the build up, which, of course, leads to the drop, and I think we succeeded. It’s more of a big room, hard-hitting track but you can also, like, listen to it as a track. It’s fun, and we’ve gotten a lot of responses on our social media because of “Savior”. It’s one of the most popular tracks so far for us, we’ve noticed. So we’re really happy with it, and it got #4 today, so let’s see where it goes. Maybe number 3, 2? #1 is not possible because HARDWELL’s in the same; he’s battling us with his new track and he’s probably going to win that. (laughing). But, it’s doing pretty well we’re really happy with it.
Did you have any idea it was going to get so popular?
No. We actually really didn’t. When we just finished the song, I played it out a few times, and at some point I even stopped playing it. Since a few weeks we were smashing it with the track in anticipation for the release. We didn’t really have a clue what would happen, but it’s doing so well. You never know, you know? Sometimes you’re like ‘oh this track is going to do so good’ and no one likes it except for yourself, but this one is doing really well.
“Like That” is another massive track, and topped the “most heard” chart from Tomorrowland on 1001 Tracklist. What’s it like hearing your song dropped by so many incredible artists?
I was actually at Tomorrowland at the main stage and i heard it three times that day, and every time I heard it I was like ‘Yeah! they’re playing our track!’ Even though we play a lot of shows and stuff and big festivals, still when someone plays your track on a stage like that, you get really stoked and you get really happy. It’s the same thing as when your track gets played on the radio. We’re like two little kids celebrating - that never changes.
What’s been each of your most memorable moments of 2014 so far?
Well, we had a lot of highs, like really good festivals, really good tracks, like we have 5 Beatport Top 10s, but I would say for me, I’m more of the Dj and Ralph is more of the producer; so I would say for me, EDC closing set as the biggest moment this year. On the production level, it’s probably “Like That’ which did really well and got smashed at Tomorrowland all the time and was sitting in the Beatport Top 10 for weeks.
The tour officially kicked off in Amsterdam for ADE, how was that?
It was really cool. It was for ADE so the entire scene was there, which is one of the reasons why we launched it at ADE, so we had all the press and everything, and did a lot of interviews there, and like presented to a lot of promoters which was really cool. A lot of fans were there, and it was fun. It was a really different atmosphere because Amsterdam usually has a way different energy than it has during ADE, because during ADE it’s way more international. We really enjoyed it.
How do you like performing in America?
I like it a lot. It’s, like I said, it’s different. Every country has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, but I like America a lot. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing a 30 day tour here.
What are you looking forward to most on the tour?
The bigger shows, for sure - New York, LA, San Francisco, and we’ve got a show in Miami.
You’ve definitely experimented with different progressive/electro house styles when producing music, how would you describe your sound?
Well I think since the beginning of this year, I took a turn to more of an electro sound. More high energy, and I think it’s really becoming it’s own thing. It’s how people react to it. I obviously speak to a lot of DJs, and they’re all complimenting me on it, so it’s really exciting to see it happening.
Congratulations on earning number 27 in DJ Mags Top 100 DJ poll, what was your reaction when you first heard the news?
Thank you, I was really happy. I heard that this year they had the most votes they’ve ever had at the DJ Mag, so to be in the list at all again means so much because it means there are fans out there who actually took the time out of their day to go and vote for me. That’s the most important thing for me.
So you recently started your own label, WOLV Records, can you tell me a little about that?
So I’ve obviously been apart of the Revealed crew for a long time and still am, and I’m still releasing music with them, but I came to a certain point with my sound that I wanted to do something different, and we just decided ‘let’s start the label and see what happens.’ We have a lot of creative freedom right now. I’m a perfectionist so I want to have everything in my own hands, so I do the artwork myself, the teasers myself, and it just gives me a lot of creative freedom with that, so it’s good.
You’re releasing your new song “Against All Odds” tomorrow via WOLV Records, what were your thoughts behind that track?
“Against all Odds” I think is kind of a mix between future house and electro, my sound. I made that track a couple months ago and it turned out to be really cool. We got a lot of good responses on it, so I’m excited about it.
Your track “Never Say Goodbye” with Hardwell and Bright Lights is considered somewhat of a progressive house classic, what was it like watching it gain so much popularity?
That was a long time ago, like two years already. It was really cool; it was my first song I made with Hardwell, so it was right at the time I was coming up. It has a lot of meaning to me, that song.
How was playing mainstage at Tomorrowland?
Tomorrowland is like the festival everyone wants to play, especially for me playing mainstage. It sounds generic, but it was a dream come true. To be able to do that, and play for all these fans that came out to see me was amazing.
What’s been your most memorable moment of 2014?
Definitely mainstage performance at Tomorrowland, we did TomorrowWorld too, and we had the really cool set at EDC, me and Dannic together, and launching my own label. To see that popping up really, really inspired me a lot. All that stuff coming together is really exciting.
What are your ultimate career goals?
I want to create a platform for WOLV for guys out there like me that want to make something different like different music on more of the electro side. There aren’t enough labels that support that at the moment. It’s becoming a saturated market; a lot of things start to sound the same, and it’s kind of sad. I want to be that kind of disrupter and focus on new talent and open it up to a bigger community.