You know that sensation you get deep inside your brain when you realize you’ve found something big. When a movie, meal, song or any other type of creative inspiration hits you in the dome with an unexpected force. That’s the feeling we got when we first came upon Brooklyn-based producer/DJ Baauer’s Soundcloud. It is no secret that we love our hip hop-influenced, maximalist bass music, nor that we have a soft spot for some ignant Southern shit. Baauer represents the perfect intersection between the two. So we reached out to him for an interview and couldn’t be more pleased with the result. For years, Baauer was a 4/4 house and electro DJ going by the name CapnHarry, “a joke name to match the music I was making.” Around six months ago, he switched up his style to hip hop and Baauer was born. He didn’t abandon the dance music ethos he had established as CapnHarry. Instead, he translated it into hip hop, making the biggest, most souped up beats imaginable. Taking cues from Southern hip hop and UK bass, as well as his brethren at Brooklyn-based collective Trouble & Bass, Baauer has gone from virtual unknown to having his tracks played out by Lunice and Hudson Mohawke. This interview has a few gems in it thanks to a quirky coincidence and will give you the inside scoop on an artist that has been making waves from small clubs outside of Los Angeles to the streets of London. Check the full interview after the jump.
First off, can you introduce yourself to our readers a little bit. Who are you? Where are you from? Etc.
I am Baauer from Brooklyn, New York. I produce Hip Hop and DJ all kinds of music.
When did you start making music under the Baauer moniker?
I started about half a year ago. Before that I was making goofy party bootlegs and dance music under the name CapnHarry, a joke name to match the music I was making . When I got into making hip hop I wanted to start a new name, and Baauer was born.
Are you associated with any other artists, crews, labels, etc.?
Yea I’ve worked with the dudes at Trouble & Bass for a couple years now. I started off doing odd jobs for them, compiling DJ mixes and stuff like that. I loved what they were doing for electronic music in New York and wanted to be a part of it. I play at their parties and lately, have been in the studio with my buddy and VP of T&B The Captain working on some super weird new music.
So you consider yourself a hip hop producer?
Your music has elements of UK bass and southern hip hop. Do you take influence from those scenes?
Absolutely. I love trying to combine elements of all kinds of different music into my beats. The raw energy of southern hip hop is a huge influence on my tracks.
What was your reaction when Lunice and Hudson Mohawke (TNGHT) played out “DumDum”?
I was in shock! Im such a huge fan of both of those guys, to see them drop my tune was incredible! Huge motivation.
Do you consider yourself a maximalist?
Im not sure what that is but it sounds dope!
I would call artists like HudMo and Rustie maximalists, especially Glass Swords
Ah gotcha, in that case yea I would say I’m definitely striving for a similar sound. Glass Swords is one of the most incredibly mind blowing albums I’ve ever heard. Just sounds like it was made in outer space. Big up Rustie!
What type of music are you listening to at the moment?
A lot of trap music. Lots of ThreeSix Mafia instrumentals. And of course, a lot of HudMo and Rustie. Also Clams Casino! His style is so next level!
What is your creative process like?
Its always gotta start with a sample. Sometimes ill just spend hours scrolling through my iTunes looking for an interesting or weird sound that I think is cool. If i have an idea, Ill sketch out a loop really quickly and then keep adding more and more drums and sounds till I like what I have. Then, I listen to the same loop about a thousand times, tweaking little things here and there.
Where do you take influence from outside of the music world?
I get huge inspiration from anyone who is a real master of what they do, whatever it may be. Building, cooking, designing whatever, anyone who is dedicated to what they do enough to where its almost an obsession, I think thats awesome, and it definitely gives me inspiration.
Do you have any interest in working with any MC’s in the future? If so, who is your dream collaboration?
Yess definitely. I take any chance I can get to have someone spit over one of my beats, a good verse just takes a beat to another dimension. My dream collaboration? Thats a tough one. Im a huge fan of A$AP Rocky, and I think I could whip up a nice syrupy beat that would match his style well.
Yeah an A$AP collaboration would be out of control. Have you heard the new A$AP/Theopilus London “Big Spender” track? (Here’s the instrumental if you haven’t heard http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh1VzJU67Lk)
Woaaah dude! That is so weird! I havnt heard that yet, I made a beat with that SAME sample a while ago but never put it out. Its eerily similar, check out a snippet my version: Find it here.
I guess thats what I get for sleeping on a beat! Still verrrry similar though.,…
Goddamn that is uncanny. I love your version also. What’s that sample?
Big Spender by Peggy Lee. Crazy!
Mmhh so good. The Theopilus/A$AP version is produced by DJ Carnage. Any familiarity with him?
Not familiar with him, maybe I’ll hit him up and see what he thinks of my version!
You said you’ve been listening to old Three 6 Mafia instrumentals. Any interest in working with Juicy J?
Absolutely. I love everything that dude does. His energy is amazing.
What songs have you been playing in your DJ sets recently?
A lot of Hip Hop. Its kinda wierd transitioning from being a mostly house DJ to hip hop, its a totally different style. But just like my productions, i try to take the same tension and release and energy of 4/4 dance music and translate it to a hip hop format. Juicy J’s recent stuff is perfect for that, and Waka Flocka.
Do you consider yourself a producer or a DJ first?
Producer first. I love DJing and definitely want to do it professionally, but I think my natural habitat is in the studio! And by studio I mean on my laptop haha.
What equipment do use to DJ?
Serato. I used to DJ with ableton live, but made the switch to Serato about a year ago because I wanted more freedom to change BPM, rewind tracks, and make quick cuts. Now though, Im thinking of switching back to Ableton, watching guys like lunice and Flosstradamus play live have really inspired me and opened my mind to the possibilities of playing with Ableton.
Yeah, Lunice is incredible creative in Ableton. Can you dance like him?
What do you have planned for the rest of 2012? Any West Coast tour dates?
I have a couple remixes coming up, one for my buddy from philly Krueger (http://soundcloud.com/kruegerbass) and http://soundcloud.com/abelmariam from San Francisco, both coming in the next couple months. Besides that woking hard on original tunes! I’d LOVE to tour the west coast! Hopefully that will happen soon.
What equipment/software do use in the “studio”?
I use Ableton live to produce. Got a pair og headphones, and a couple of M-Audio monitors. And thats it!
A true home studio. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Jokes? Stories?
Haha I wish I could think of something cool to say. Thanks man interview was fun.