Relentless Beats

Beyond Pressing Play: Bassnectar

There are many good reasons that Bassnectar is highly respected in the music industry. He’s been approached by legends including Prince, asking him for “Trap Beats” and such. This is most likely because Bassnectar’s roots lie deep in heavy metal and alternative genres. Refusing to abide to any sort of standard or consistency, he consistently is changing up his style just like every good artist should. Having such a diverse range of influence is reflected in Bassnectar’s Live setup. His setup is so unique, not because it doesn’t consist of a DJM mixer & Two CDJs, it’s because he has two MIDI controllers that are custom made by a company that no longer in business. They were hand crafted to the exact specifications of Bassnectar himself, and to be honest it’s nothing but a Glorified Drum Controller.

You may be thinking, “What’s MIDI?” That’s a valid question you have, let me try to explain this as simply as I possibly can. MIDI was first invented in 1983, in it’s simplest form MIDI is nothing but a bunch of 1s & 0s. Those 1s & 0s are machine code for sending control data to and from point a to b. The machine code is normally sent via USB or custom MIDI wires, one the information is sent to it’s destination it can do one of many things: Trigger a drum loop, play a specific note, adjust a certain effect, even triggering video content is possible. MIDI can be chained together from instrument to instrument. It was originally intended for Keyboards and Software Instruments, but has drastically become the standard for the digital age of music. MIDI can sync tempos, associate songs with videos, and chain lights to a performance easily so that everything can be one cue.

This is one of the main reasons why Bassnectar’s live shows are spectacular. He uses simple knobs and buttons to control software that basically orchestrates his entire set, music, lights, video, everything is automatically triggered through one little controller that he uses to control Ableton Live.

Bassnectar’s Live Equipment:
Pioneer DJM Nexus Mixer
2 Custom 60 Works Midi Controllers
2 Macbook Pros
2 Interfaces
(Redundancy is key with the duplicates, one laptop
gives out and theres another one ready to go)

They say the simpler your setup is, the better it’s probably going to sound. That’s why you’re seeing way more DJ’s with Laptops & Interfaces. The days of scratching vinyl, and spinning CD’s using a digital turntable are not over, but they have found their successor. The future of music is MIDI, it’s something you’re going to have to get really familiar with if you plan on making music. The funny part about that is one of the production manager’s I’ve worked with told me he remembers when he was having dinner with the guy’s who invented MIDI back in the early 80s, how he thought the idea was so stupid and complicated. How ironic that his career depends on an idea that he once belittled.

Joker – Midnight (Bassnectar Remix)

They say to achieve unreasonable results, you have to be an unreasonable person.

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