MONDAY MIXTAPE: BASS SEKOLAH
Fluid bass waves hover through clouds of misty soundscapes. Welcome to “Liquid Transmission” - the exclusive Lodown Monday Mixtape by Bass Sekolah! The Duo Cee and the Darren are offering their soulful blend straight out of the Malaysian tropical rainforest! Dig into the attached interview for more insights. They just released their debut single “Lighthouse”, but teasing us already with unreleased and exclusives tracks in this mix. Be aware, that you might hit the repeat button!
MONDAY MIXTAPE : BASS SEKOLAH PLAYLIST
Machinedrum - Vizion
Bass Sekolah - U know the sound (unreleased)
Addison Groove feat DJ Blast - Die
Addison Groove - Warped
Bass Sekolah feat Phon.o - Don't fade away (Unreleased)
Traxman - Sit ya self down
Schlachthofbronx - Up
Bass Sekolah - Lighthouse
Dorian Concept - Draft culture (Japanese edition)
Alex Banks - Solar
Clark - Strength through fragility (Bass Sekolah edit)
Phon.o feat Bass Sekolah - Here now
Reid - Singapore
The Invisible - Wings (Floating Points remix)
Al-Haca - Uckeritz Dub (Bass Sekolah edit)
Daisuke Tanabe - Arrow
Haba Haba Group - Sitogol #2
Thanks to LP for the Bass Sekolah Interview. >
You live on what used to be a rubber tree plantation, right? What s up with that?
CEE: Yeah I am a lucky bastard, I guess. My mother in law bought these amazing 12 acres of land 30 years ago and we run the place as a little boutique rainforest resort (it's called the Dusun). We also live out there. Not living in a city has changed my life so much. We record all music out here and I still need to pinch myself every morning when I stare at that incredible view with a coffee in my hand…
DARREN: In school, the used to educate us on the history of Malaysia and our rubber tree industry. We watched videos on the extraction and how they pressed rubber with their feet. I've always wanted to do that.
When I listen to your music I see all these bright colors: oranges, reds, yellows. Somehow, I can't imagine this sound being produced anywhere else. It completely makes sense that you're composing this music out in the jungle. Are you guys aware of the fact that the jungle is speaking through your songs?
D: Totally. I believe we absorb tones from our senses which allow us to detach from the confinement of our own skills and knowledge. I have always felt the jungle coaxing us to go on, feeding our ears when we pause a recording in search of ideas. Funny though, I hear our music in dark green hues and deep evening sky blues. But that's what I love about music. It speaks volumes you didn't even write.
C: The sounds around us are constantly changing and the orchestra out there never stops. It creates the foundation of the Bass Sekolah sound. Undeniably. Just the other day we were recording some vocals and these huge hornbills (big tropical bird) flew past the house. They made this loud squawking sound and its all over the track now. We really just go with the flow when nature starts throwing stuff at us.
Btw. what does Bass Sekolah mean?
D: 'Bas Sekolah' means 'school bus' in malay. This whole project feels like a field trip for me actually. On the other hand, I'm sure it takes a crack at boxed up preconceived ideas about genres. For anyone willing to hop on board with us, of course.
C: I will be the conductor. Tickets please!
How did you guys meet? As far as I can tell from what I can find online, Darren you're quite a celebrity in Malaysia.
D: A few years ago I was a drummer for a rock band and Christian was waist deep in the music industry too. We bumped into each other multiple times at gigs and as musicians who almost naturally let their guard down around other musicians, I slipped and accidentally fell into his flip-side world of music production. I couldn't resist getting my hands dirty. I honestly see myself a long way off from being a "celebrity", judging by which ears the music has caught and how far I actually want the music to reach (especially to the homies outside of KL). When I met Christian and when Bass Sekolah sparked off, it was a simple decision to link with an equally realistic & passionate buddy to run alongside.
C: The way Darren was drumming, singing and using the kaos pad for his own effects was just so good and pure. I had to start collaborating with him. Luckily this collaboration turned into much more and we are now running this beautiful new project together.
So, you guys are basically Justin and Timberland? I'm playing..
D: Yes but with inverted colors! Hahaha!
C: We do go deeper than Justin & Timberland though… it's my goal to re invent our sound as we are going along. I really want to keep pushing boundaries with this project and I think Justin & Timberland kinda stopped pushing. They do make good music no doubt, but the genre bending period is over for them.
In recent interview with you guys, Darren was cracking jokes on how you being from Europe is opening doors for you project – do you feel that's the case? ..and Darren, is there a semblance of truth in that?
D: Ah! I knew I shouldn't have mentioned it. Cee is obviously more to me than that. For the most part, I dodge and leap over music career hurdles in my own rhinoceros way, smashing my own path if need be. Cee has been on that route for a bit longer and to me, that is rare. Package it whichever way you want, short, tall, black, white, girl, boy, when opposite polars meet, it's always a theatrical spectacle in my books. I think my curiosity about how this whole collision is going to work will catch on to the people around. Haha.
On a skin tone note, I've seen a white man begging and I've seen an indian man start Air Asia. I don't think it matters.
C: Most people in Asia or especially Malaysia are super welcoming when they see me. I will always stick out though and I will always be the outsider, even though I started to pick up the language. I also drive and eat like a Malaysian, but I simply can't change the color of my skin. I don't tolerate any kind of racism whether it has positive or negative outcome. All I wanna do is blend in hahaha…. But for reals: our cultural mix is super interesting and keeps opening doors for us. This mix is reflected in our sound as well. That is us and that makes is unique as well. Embracing this uniqueness is the Bass Sekolah way.
I'm curious if either one of you had a chance to check out more traditional music from the area, and if so, if it had any significant influence on your writing?
D: We found this treasure trove of a shop in Seremban filled with old vinyls of Malaysian music. We have yet to spill some samples onto our own tracks but the conversion process has already begun. I'm sure we will wrap our heads around that one soon.
C: I played around with gamelan samples and I am totally in love with the harmonies and rhythm you can create with a gamelan orchestra. It's so trippy. We will find a way to work this into our sound. It just has to come naturally or we end up sounding like "world music". When Phon.o was here recently we worked on some music and when Darren played the keys Phon.o was convinced that the way he played was so different to how a European would play. I don't even hear that anymore…. So Asian already : )
What's the Electronica scene like in S/E Asia? What are some of the hot spots? Are there any artists that we should know about?
D: The electronic scene on a general has had a constant throb. Unfortunately marred by some major setbacks with festivals, I think we will eventually rise bigger and stronger. On an artistry level, I'd love to name drop a few but I'd have to include them all. I'm a wimp like that. Watch out for Ali Aiman.
C: The scene is just starting to become a scene with its own underground stars, crews, a unique sound here and there, a supportive growing crowd and venues pushing for quality local acts. Lots of loose ends still, but people all the region are starting to tie up these ends. I see big talent everywhere and if we keep pushing Asia will be of the global electronic scene. Culturally many Asian countries were big in consuming all these influences, but creation was suppressed. I see the change coming and hot spots like Manila, Shanghai, SIngapore or Hong Kong are starting to make lots of noise.
What's next for Bass Sekolah?
C: We are planning to release a compilation of music created at our jungle place, curated by Bass Sekolah and presented by the Goethe Institut. This is very exciting for us, because we had the chance to work with people like Skinnerbox, Daedelus, Perera Elsewhere and many more. We will also release remixes for 'lighthouse' in early 2015 and we will release another single and EP very soon.
All pics by Jason Tan Highway, “Lighthouse” is released on MOUTHWATERING RECORDS with the Artwork by Clemens Behr