BASS JUNKIE: Getting High On Low Frequencies
Interview by Erkki Rautio / pHinnWeb
7 January, 2004 -- Bass Junkie a.k.a. Phil Klein and electro go a long way back. A fan of electro and hip hop since 1982, he started DJing in 1986 and began making his own tracks the following year. As Cybernet Systems and Bass Junkie (his project since 1997) Phil has recorded for various labels, such as UK's Panic Trax, Audio Illusion Recordings, Parallax Records, Ed DMX's Breakin' Records and Control Tower (a label owned by The Dexorcist and Radioactive Man). Also for Miami's Dynamix II Records and Joey Boy; Phil has a project with Scott Weiser of electro bass legends Dynamix II, called IBM (Industrial Bass Machine). He has run his own label Battle Trax since 1996. Bass Junkie has released two CDs, called In Bass No One Can Hear You Scream and Bass Time Continuum, and several 12-inches (see Bass Junkie's own site for more info).
As you can gather from his nom de guerre, Bass Junkie's style is booming, bass-heavy electro; taking its inspiration from PA-shattering Miami Bass and the masters of old skool electro. In occasion of Bass Junkie's January 2004 Finnish tour in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere, Phil Klein talked to pHinnWeb.
- So, what's now happening in the life of Bass Junkie, any news?
Well, I have been speaking to Scott Weiser of Dynamix II a lot lately and we have decided to do some new IBM tracks of which one 'Instruments of Armageddon' should be finished soon. We are playing a couple of gigs in Florifa in February and hope to have it done by then.
The new Kronos Device album QUBE is due for release early this year on Battle Trax also, so things are looking good.
- How did you start to make music?
My next door neighbour had a studio in his house, so I started making tracks round there in the beginning (1987).
- How would you describe your style of music?
Electro Bass or Electrobotic Bass.
- Are the any role models or influential artists for you?
I would say the most influential artists for me are or were: Dynamix II, Unknown DJ, Kraftwerk, World Class Wreckin' Cru, Egyptian Lovers, Pretty Tony, Juan Atkins, Hashim, Dave Storrs and The Glove.
- And any current acts which would particularly impress you, or you feel are on the same wavelength with you?
Dexorcist, Volsoc, Jackal & Hyde, Imatran Voima, EVAC.
- What kind of equipment do you create you create your own music with? And your favourite musical instruments?
Korg MS2000 Sequential Circuits Pro One Roland JP8000 Akai MPC2000
I have no favourites.
- You have both DJed and done live PAs. What have been the best and worst places to DJ and to play live gigs, for example?
There are no best or worst places. All have been good but the best ones are when a big crowd are really feeling it.
- You're coming to Finland now, so how did that connection came about, and how's your previous involvement with local artists and scene?
I met Perttu from Imatran Voima at a festival a year or so ago, when he did an interview with me and we stayed in touch. When Imatran Voima played in London, we hooked up again and we did a track together called Quad City, which is due for release later this year. As we are putting a record out together, it seemed logical to play some gigs together.
- Your brief comments on following genres:
I love Miami Bass. It kept the Electro movement going in its own way. Much respect.
Detroit Ghetto Bass/Ghetto Tech? (And what do you think about all these lyrics of booties and boobies?)
Not really my thing these days although I was into its earlier outings (2 Live Crew, etc.) I love a bit of smut.
Synthpop? (Were you ever influenced by these 70s/80s artists like Kraftwerk, Human League, Gary Numan, Visage, etc.?)
Kraftwerk are a big influence and I like some of the other artists' music but wouldn't say that it has influenced me.
- What is your own take on the "electroclash" craze of the recent two years?
Pants!!! I hope it disappears up its own arse soon.
- You also run your own label. How easy it is these days; with everything that concerns record plants, distribution, etc.? Can one actually make a living nowadays with your type of music?It's hard. I can't make a living solely from my label. It would be nice to sell 5-10,000 of everything I press but that's unlikely.
- How's the music scene in where you live? For example, any good clubs?
London caters for everything. There are good clubs and there is a good Electro scene but it needs to get a lot bigger to sustain itself, otherwise it will just disappear again.
Your own Top Ten for the moment/all-time?At the moment in no particular order:
The Saxon Scoundrels - The B-Boy Chronicles [B-Boy Beats & Pieces]
Dexorcist - Quad Angle EP [SMB White Label]
Hyde vs Exzakt - I Am the Enemy [Monotone]
Dr Schmidt - Borg [Maschinen Musik]
Diplomat EP - Ultrasonic Warhead [Electrolab]
Bass Kittens vs Volsoc - Another Day/Silent Running [Pretension]
Letroset - New Plastic EP [Atak]
T-Wrex - Bytecon [Satamile]
Scape One - Biot Engineering EP [TempleDog]
Rob Euroh - The Magma Man Chronicles [TempleDog]
All time in no particular order:
Dynamix II - Bass Generator/Ignition [Debonaire Records]
Chaos - This Is Too Much Bass/Emergency [Ace Records]
Unknown DJ & 3D - Beatronic [Techno Hop]
Matrix & DJ Slice - Jam (It's Time) [Jam City]
The Beat Club - Security [Pizzaz]
Egyptian Lover - Egypt, Egypt [Freak Beat]
Chris "The Glove" Taylor & David Storrs - Reckless (Club Mix)/Tibetan Jam [Polydor]
Unknown DJ - 808 Beats [Techno Hop]
World Class Wreckin' Cru - Juice [Kru Cut]
Dynamix II - Just Give The DJ A Break [Bass Station]
- How do you see the current electro scene, and how do you see its future?
I like what I see and hear, and see it taking over as long as the distributors get behind it.
- Your own future plans now?
World domination (same as last year).
- Your favourite question they never ask in interviews?
Can't think of anything, sorry.
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