There is no denying our love for NYC Heavyweight Bass Champions of the World, Trouble & Bass. From the start, the T&B crew have always been unapologetically themselves, holding fast to the taste and influences that inspire them to create some of the most original and iconic dance music to come from the electronic renaissance. Now in their 7th year, T&B mainstays Drop The Lime, Star Eyes, and AC Slater are celebrating with a 7 date tour to cast their wicked vibes across the country. Here, we discuss some of Trouble & Bass’ radical history along with expectations for the future.
O S A K A: Tell me a bit about the Trouble & Bass Crew as a whole. Who’s involved and how have they contributed to the ideology of T&B?
DROP THE LIME: It’s shifted a lot over the years, but the core members have always been Star Eyes and myself. As of now, it’s me, Star Eyes, and AC slater, but it’s growing. A lot of amazing new talent in NYC that are spawning from the underground.
With sounds, technology, and public interest constantly changing, what has been the biggest challenge in keeping Trouble & Bass alive through these cultural shifts?
The biggest challenge is to remember where you began and where you want to be. Always remember where you started.
How has your approach to making music changed since Trouble & Bass’ inception, or has it?
Always evolve, listen to the young, and never imitate what your already done.
In the past year or so you’ve been performing as both Drop The Lime and Curses!. How have you balanced these personas over the past 7 years in addition to running a label? Also, where did you get that hat?
I sleep in 2 dimensions and wake in the same mars. Stetson all the way baby.
Do we have any new DTL or Curses! records to look forward to?
A lot, a lot of curses pouring out at the moment.
Tell me about one of your favorite adventures shared with the crew.
It’s a twist up between our first Euro/UK tour together or our Six Flags Great Adventure escapade.
What do you hope to see happen for you and the Trouble & Bass family in the next 7 years?
We are constantly growing and bringing in new talent to join the gang. Cats like Tony Quattro, Doctor Jeep, DKDS, and more…
There has always been such a strong aesthetic to Trouble & Bass that seems to perfectly coincide with the music. Tell me a little about how the design and mentality of Trouble & Bass formed.
STAR EYES: The biggest influence on Trouble & Bass is New York itself. The color palette, the dark but often funny vibes, the horror overtones, the kind of technical look at times (such as our new 7-year t-shirt)—all of those things have a lot to do with living in Brooklyn, taking the craziness and the stress and the inspiration and the hard-edge of our everyday lives and compacting it into a crazy hexagon of different influences that somehow make sense together. You can’t really separate it out—art, fashion, design, lifestyle, food… It’s all important to the music and everything feeds off each other. T&B is really the meeting point of all the stuff that we mutually like… but as we are all good friends there is a lot to agree upon and draw from. No one here is boring and we’re surrounded by a lot of other rad people in Brooklyn that influence us/work with us, like the guys at Mishka, L’Amour Supreme, Dennis Chow, Ninjasonik, The Death Set, etc.
Under what circumstance did you and Luca start working together on Trouble & Bass? Was their a ritual or any use of black magic that brought you to cross paths with one another?
I met Luca not that long after I moved to New York from San Francisco. My life was all crazy parties, crazy people, whiskey shots, dark basements, doing graffiti in the LES, seeing the sun rise over rooftops at 6am. (Maybe it still is… ;). That time was a blur I can remember the first few times Luca and I hung out with crystal clarity so I do think it was meant to be. The first night we truly hung out in a squad we went on this crazy Vice/DFA Records party on this abandoned boat called the Frying Pan and partied all night and Luca ended up walking out the door of a bar just in time to stop this Russian mobster from shooting me with a tommy gun, and we’ve always been fast friends ever since. We made a mix together, threw a grime party as the record release, and before you knew it we had a four-person crew called Trouble & Bass. Plenty of magic moments and crazy coincidences have happened since then, believe me.
At what point was the namesake Trouble & Bass established?
Trouble & Bass is a name Luca conceived of in college, when he had the idea of a futuristic gang of bass warriors roaming the city streets. I guess he used The Secret cos he made it real!
How has the death and resurrection of Trouble & Bass last year changed the daily operations at the label? What’s the new mission statement?
If anything, I think it just made us recommitted to the music and what we really believe in as artists. The new mission statement isn’t really new: just a reminder to do whatever the fuck you want and it will eventually make sense to everyone else. We didn’t get successful by following everyone else so no point in doing it now. Also, we’ve always been a DIY crew so I think the resurrection has just brought us closer back to those roots, since we know what we like more than anyone. It’s good to be the undead.
Personal highlight from your adventures with the Trouble & Bass family?
Winning the RBMA Culture Clash in New York City after Just Blaze & Young Guru brought out 2 Chainz, Freeway, Bun B, Raekwon and all these others was MENTAL. I’ve always dreamed of being a part of the Culture Clash so that was thrilling in every way, and to have so many of our friends and family in NYC come out and rep for us. Apart from that, I continuously love all the slang and jokes we’ve come up with—you wouldn’t believe how many people bite our shit, but there is an endless supply so no need to worry.
What’s on deck from Star Eyes? Any new projects aching to get out?
Star Eyes has been busy running the label! But I’ve got some projects I’m a part of that have new tunes brewing, including Gotham City Creepers and Party Crashers and Dark Ages so look out for those, plus some new stuff in the new year. And um… I been interviewing a few people again.
Hopes and expectations for the next 7 years of Trouble & Bass?
Being able to last 7 years and nearly 100 releases as a DIY label with no backing already makes me super proud. I would like to tour the whole world as a crew, sign more artists from faraway places, and have the money to actually do and make all the crazy things we dream up.
How did you initially come into the fold of Trouble & Bass? Was there some sort of initiation or spaghetti dinner involved?
AC SLATER: I played a gig in Brooklyn a long time ago and when I finished playing I walked through the dance floor towards the back of the room and I saw 3 bats flying around. They landed right in front of me and there was a puff of smoke. When the smoke cleared the T&B crew was standing there. They asked me if I wanted to join their crew and it just felt right so I did. It’s about 5 years later and I’m still here.
New York has certainly infused itself into the bloodwork of Trouble & Bass culture. How has living in Los Angeles influenced your contributions to the T&B legacy?
Moving across the country really changed my musical perspective a lot and refreshed my creative inspiration. Also I use a lot more words like “dude” and “sick” when we hang out. Me and Vivian surfed here once.
How does the crew stay so united with people living bi-costal and everyone traveling so frequently?
A lot of emojis.
Have you high-fived Mario Lopez yet?
Only in my dreams.
I’ve seen a lot of preview samples of new tracks on instagram and vine, but i’ve also heard you are kind of the unsung Shaolin Master of Vine. What role does storytelling play in with your interests?
I used to do these self-deprecating Snapchats of me doing these weird affirmations into the mirror, or strange monologues and send them to all my friends. When Vine came out a lot of people told me to take it to there but I like the idea of someone watching something on Snapchat and it disappearing forever, not someone watching my dumb face for 6 seconds in an infinite loop on their iPhone.
Tell me a personal highlight from your experiences with the Trouble & Bass family.
It’s so hard to choose. Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to throw events all over the US and Europe, definitely leading to some really good highlights. I still think our 3 year anniversary in NYC with Skream & Benga was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in my life. It was one of our top craziest parties and the place was just filled with amazing people. I’ll never forget that night!
What do you look forward to in the next 7 years of Trouble & Bass?
A lots of good new music, a lot more laughs, and especially that party on the moon for the 10 year anniversary. Can’t wait!
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O S A K A