We’d like to welcome local artists Anthony Kasper and Easyrider onto this week’s edition of “On The Radar”. These local Drum and Bass artists are a few of the locals responsible for our growing DnB scene; unfamiliar fans take note, as DnB is a force to be reckoned with.
SIM: How long have you guys been producing for, and what drew you to produce Drum and Bass?
Anthony: I’ve been producing for eight years. Right now, I work primarily with Fokuz Recordings; I do have releases on various other labels, including Good Looking and [a track] coming out on V Recordings. I started producing at the same time as I started DJing. To me, the two go hand in hand.
Why does any artist do their particular form of art? Pete Rock, one of my favorite hip hop producers, once said, “Music. It’s always been a part of my life. I loved it so much I wanted to be a part of it.” The same goes for Drum and Bass and myself. At the end of the day, I make Drum and Bass because I am passionate about it.
Paul: I’ve only been producing drum and bass for about four years. I have had releases on DNB Guild, US Jump Up Movement and Dark Recordings. I’ve been a DJ for much longer, since the late 90’s. At some point I realized I wanted to reflect my own take on the music rather than just other producers in my sets.
I’ve been following the evolution of Jungle / Drum and Bass music from the beginning. Back then, I was just a young raver; it was all “rave music” to me. Some of this emerging music had sped up breakbeats – the central rhythmic element of Hip Hop, some was more house and techno influenced. The main trunk of what was called UK Hardcore, then Jungle, now just referred to as “Drum and Bass” developed into something very unique; a 21st Century blend of West Indian Reggae and Dancehall, Hip Hop, Techno, House influences and much more. Drum and bass music reflected to me the future of post-modern dance music. So in both the music I make and the music I DJ, I feel like I strive to express a respect for the original multi-cultural and multi-ethnic vibe of Jungle music, while recognizing that one of the key elements is also bold Futurism – sounds and rhythms that are not connected to the past in way.
SIM: Did you guys go to school for production, are you self-taught, or did you dance the fine line of a little bit of both?
Anthony: I learn by observing my peers and through trial and error, so I suppose you could say I’m self-taught.
Paul: I have been mostly self-taught, although I recently started some formal lessons under DJ Heist, a well-known producer and engineer in world of Drum and Bass.
SIM: Have you only limited yourselves to producing in Drum and Bass, or do you also produce in other genres?
Anthony: I make Hip Hop and House for fun, but all of my formal releases are Drum and Bass.
Paul: Pretty much 100% focused on Drum and Bass at the moment. I’ve had a small bit of success with some House and Garage stuff under other names in the past. However, I’ve found Drum and Bass to be a much more difficult genre to master. It’s very advanced technically in terms of synthesis, production and mastering techniques. It’s also very competitive at the top as far as dance music business is concerned.
SIM: What kind of set can show-goers expect at Netsky this weekend?
Anthony: You can expect to hear some cuts off my new EP, Misery Loves Company, out now on Fokuz. It’s currently sitting in the Beatport charts for top Drum and Bass releases. You can also expect a handful of digital dubs I’ve been sent in the past few weeks. Shouts to the talented producers like Random Movement, Silence Groove, Foreign Concept, and Command Strange who have sent me some exclusive music for this set.
Paul: I’m flipping the script a bit from the type of tunes people usually associate with me playing out, but I’ve got loads of new bits I’m excited to play.
SIM: Paul, describe some of the set styles you’ve done to a person who isn’t as familiar with Drum and Bass. What kind of energy do your sets try to create, and how are they different from a Trance or typical Trap set?
Paul: Well I collect, and have been known to play, a wide variety of bass music over time. I was apart of a DJ collective back in the 2000’s that brought UK Garage and early Dubstep both to Minneapolis and the rest of America; I’ve flowed with a few musical movements over the years within Drum and Bass as well. I’m mostly known for playing very future-forward Jump Up, as well as more minimal Dub and Funk-influenced Drum and Bass. For this event, I’m leaning towards the latter, as well as exploring some new liquid bits I haven’t played yet and a few crowd faves. I’m also really interested to see where Netsky takes his performance, and I’ll try to bring up the energy to that point in the night!
SIM: Give some insight on the Drum and Bass scene in Minneapolis for a reader who has no idea about it. Is is small? Is it getting larger? Paint the picture for a first time Drum and Bass person.
Anthony: The Drum and Bass scene in Minneapolis wouldn’t exist without guys like Paul Easyrider and Sean Brace. These hometown heroes, along with a handful of other serious heads, have been pushing the DnB sound in Minneapolis for nearly two decades. I had the opportunity to do a European tour in 2016 and a Stateside tour in 2017. From Prague to London, LA to Portland, the more I travel, the more I realize Minneapolis has a wonderful DnB community. We may not always get all the headliners through due to budgets or venue issues, but we make it happen. I have also noticed that as the Dubstep and mainstream-EDM bubbles burst, more new fans have honed their taste and discovered that DnB has a lot to offer.
Paul: Thanks Anthony. I’d like to add that the crowds here have waxed and waned over the years; it depends on how much those involved are pushing out the sounds and creating opportunities and experiences for people to hear the music. [Our scene has] always had an ‘underground’ ethos to it, and while there are tens of thousands coming to all-drum-and-bass festivals all over the world each year, it’s mainstream appeal has overall been kept in-check in Minneapolis. I just co-promoted a very high-profile Ram Records tour with Bad Company UK, Loadstar and DC Breaks at The Exchange that did alright. But, we’ve got ambassadors like Anthony and other DnB producers from the Twin Cities like Virgo, Chris Cause and more that are making a name for our city in the production realm, making tunes, performing internationally, running podcasts and so forth. So with the internet, especially, it’s a new world audience even for those of us here in Minnesota.
We’d like to thank Anthony and Paul for lending us some time this week; make sure to follow them for more on their respective socials below. Tickets for Netsky are still available; make sure to snag yours here.