Catching Up with Alex B and the Growing Bass Culture
Heavy Bass, hard music, and late nights. Do not forget the electronic influence. Except this time some jazz, rock, reggae,and hip hop and you are starting to get a bit closer.
There are many previously classified genres of music that are fusing to become a current style that the kids of today are craving in the masses. What to call it is one thing, but where to find it is a bit easier.
Saturday Night at Tipitina’s Uptown in New Orleans Paper Diamond began to debut his most recent work amid the release of his first EP Levitate this past Tuesday under the label Pretty Lights Music. The show was supported by Elliot Lipp and gulf coast DJs Shanook and Myzagomatik.
Hundreds of fans came out ready to dance and this was certainly the place to enable such a party. With a backdrop of live snchronized video art, the super loud and chest rumbling sub woofers, and a collection of lights that necessitated sunglasses for many, Winter Circle Productions once again created an atmosphere similar to their monthly Bassik event.
The night began with Mynozygotik and then Shanook, who has become a local favorite, hosting his own blends of raunchy melodies and grimy bass tones. His set was paced well as partygoers began to fill the room.
Elliot Lipp followed with an eclectic set ranging from many different genres. As the crowd began to get a bit looser so did the music which had a nice flow and progression throughout his set, all leading to the main event which everyone was eager to rage to.
Paper Diamond (Alex Botwin) has been playing in these circles for quite a few years. He began at a young age playing with The Pnuma Trio and had actually performed at Tipitianas as recently as 2008 before Saturday night. However, this time the show was his to control.
Alex had the crowd constantly in a state of rage and anticipation, launching a series of tracks and ample effects from his set up which was controlled from an iPad. His music sounded like a smooth contortion of bass, beats, and melodies. His set was exciting and also catered to the general audience with some selected crowd favorites along with new material featured on his new EP.
Botwin had played solo performances under the name Alex B for a while until being signed under the guise Paper Diamond to Pretty Lights Music. Since then he has been busy in the studio doing more of the work he enjoys, which tends to be influenced mostly by hip-hop and bass music while still focusing on the melody.
OurVinyl got a chance to talk with Paper Diamond for a bit to discuss the project, the new EP, and about this music scene in general that just seems to keep getting bigger in New Orleans and across the states.
When asked to describe Paper Diamond’s style of music as opposed to the music he plays with the Pnuma Trio, Alex says “I am putting out the music that I like to play, which is dance. I like to play upbeat music with some bass and plenty of influences like soul and hip-hop.”
He also continued to discuss how the music being played by him (along with other acts like Pretty Lights) is changing and becoming. “ours.” Alex feels “It’s our time. Our age. Our music.”, including the fans and artists of this budding subgenre of electronic music.
Clearly, for any avid music fan who has attended or is aware of nearly any large music festival is beginning to realize that electronic music and even bass music is beginning to grown in popularity and knocking on the door to the mainstream.
Teaming up with Pretty Lights was an essential step in such progress. The two teamed up in Colorado where they and others like members of Big Gigantic can continue to produce and play shows around the country.
These parties are growing at an exciting pace and artists such as Paper Diamond is helping to push this movement and ensure the quality of the music is not compromised and more importantly, still progressing.
As experienced through Friday nights show at Tipitina’s, bass music is continuing to deliver. All acts involved and the stellar production ensured a well run and pleasurable experience.
Alex created the new EP Levitate , which is available for free download on his website (http://www.prettylightsmusic.com/therecordlabel/), in an attempt to “create an alternate place” through a multimedia experience of both art and music. When hearing the variety of music Paper Diamond chooses to play during his set, this notion is certainly illuminated as it creates a place where fans can get as close to this place as possible.
By Danny Goodman
Photos from Max Rasche