Through all the different varieties and genres of music, the collective fan bases can comprise a sort of subculture. This outlet not only serves as a means of networking amongst those with similar musical tastes and leisure, but also has an ability to create a unique community that can help shape the image of the very place in which this is occurring. No city is more exemplary of this notion than New Orleans, Louisiana and the current resurgence of electronic music, more specifically of the “bass culture”.
Bass music is a sub genre that deals with the lower tones that rattle your organs as you feel the music. Many producers within this genre use frequencies that are below twenty hertz, which is the low end cut-off frequency of what can be perceived physically by the human ear. This high decibel, reggae and hip-hop driven, genre of electronic music can be labeled as “dubstep,” which has been acting as the punk scene of the electronic dance movement with its high volume, low frequency, dirty and grungy parties.
New Orlean’s venues, and local production companies such as Winter Circle Productions, are helping fuel and facilitate this movement by delivering frequent bass parties that feature some of the bigger names in the Dubstep genre to New Orleans. For example; WCP has put on events featuring acclaimed DJs and producers such as Heyoka, Datsik, Reid Speed, and Eskmo. As the music continues, so does the elusively expanding community and magnitude of artists drawn to New Orleans.
For the past year in New Orleans, the bass scene has become the talk amongst college students, electronic music lovers, or those just looking for that late night unique party that is guaranteed to be memorable in Louisiana and the neighboring gulf coast. The popularity and rapid growth of this movement has culminated into what is now a monthly event known as Bassik, a recurring dubstep heavy bass fueled party put on by the aforementioned WCP.
Reeves Price, founder of WCP, says how the mission of the Bassik party is to not only “be the bass party of the gulf coast” but also “act as a way to support local DJs “ through this field of bass driven music. “The big picture,” as Reeves states, “is to not only have a great dance party but also allow the local artists to learn from these more successful DJs, as well as become exposed as New Orleans producers.”
This is an essential step to the continuing development of the bass movement in New Orleans. Dubstep was created in the United Kingdom and is just becoming more popular throughout some major cities in the United States and to have a unique scene of their own in New Orleans will shape the music scene of this city for years to come. At the pace and methodology that New Orleans bass DJs are approaching this scene, dubstep and other bass fueled genres of music are already surpassing the more mainstream electronic music parties hosted throughout the city.
The growth of the Bassik party exemplifies the contextualization of the bass culture in New Orleans as an organic and ever evolving scene that continues to not only allure people to late night parties but also build a community in the gulf coast. Reeves says that 60 to 70 percent of the attendees at Bassik come to every single show, whether from Baton Rougue, Hattiesburg, Pensacola, or right here in New Orleans. In a city that is so defined by jazz and live music it is stunning to see that in nearly 6 months there is one of the largest devout music scenes in the city. Kermit Ruffins, George Porter Jr. , and many other New Orleans local legends play at least weekly for 10 dollars or less and cannot boast such a crowd as Bassik draws.
At the first Bassik party in October of 2009 there were about 80 people at a hotel bar called the Ohm Lounge. In the following January, with a unique pay-what-you-want system, bassheads came out and more than doubled in size at the Maison on Frenchman street. Today, Bassik attracts hundreds of fans monthly at the Republic. Next month, Bassik will feature Mimosa, one of the biggest names that have come to New Orleans in this budding genre. There is no denying the surge of bass music in this city and Bassik along with WCP and the dedicated fan base are ensuring that this progress continues.
Written by Danny Goodman, Photos from Max Rasche