Posts Tagged ‘san francisco’

A while ago I spoke with Mal Harper, the founder and owner of MalLabel Music, and Skulltrane, a local dubstep producer you’ve possibly seen tearing it up. They both love this bass music scene we’re all a part of, and gave me a ton of good insight into it from their one-of-a-kind perspectives. Listen to the edit to find out why the cuts in the Bay are so raw and why the competition is a good thing, straight from the mouth’s of two of the scenes biggest names.

MalLabel Music is maintained from a secret location in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, but you can check them on their website. Skulltrane can be found at your favorite party, or heard on her Soundcloud.

Songs heard in edit: “Purple Gangsta”- Dr. Knobz (DZ Remix), “Dr. Wre”- Zombie J, “Bad Boy”- 6Blocc (Blackheart Remix); all courtesy of MalLabel Music.


Hearts of Bass has parties for a cause. The organization is trying to gather the people power of the bass scene and raise money for people in need, aiming from local youth to international tragedies.

The team is fairly new, their first official event was SF Bass For Japan on April 6, but they’ve got big hearts and big plans to support some worthy causes.

In the words of the creator, Sam Arroyo, the crew was put together for dance music fans to raise money for recent issues, like Haiti and Japan.

“I asked myself, what skills do I have that can help situations like this?”

After watching Japanese earthquake footage at his mom’s house in L.A., he decided to utilize his DJ and organization skills to raise some money. He had helped throw past parties through Surefire Sound, and had already starting his own label, so Sam wasn’t concerned about the technicalities of getting a show together.

“I was part of a few Haiti benefit events, and it felt good to DJ to raise money to help folks,” Arroyo told me through email. “Throwing SF Bass for Japan was a no brainer.”

There wasn’t any specific crew doing non-profit work like Arroyo wanted.  And so he and DJ Dials created Hearts of Bass, which isn’t a non-profit organization yet, but is in the works of establishing itself. They’re also creating a two volume compilation CD to raise money, called I Love Japan.

SF Bass for Japan, a benefit event thrown on April 6 at 1015 Folsom, was the first step for the group in getting established. But Sam says the plan is to focus on a wide range of events, like raising money for earthquakes and the homeless, as well as supporting safe dance music legislation and organizations for at-risk youth.

“People who love dance music are at their core, loving and good natured folks. I asked myself, how can we harness that energy and do more than just dance and drink and have fun? How can we help others?”

Helicopter Showdown. I think the local gang of producer’s moniker say’s it all. It’s a pretty badass name.

The other day on Squitty Bubbler, a dubstep release site, the group released a track called “Dramatron.” The song was previewed a couple weeks ago on Showdown’s Soundcloud, but on Friday was posted in it’s powerful entirety, free for download.

It’s spacey and melodic in the beginning, but punches in with a constant wall of bass that hits the core. It’s got some halting cuts that are sure to throw you on your heels. It rides like a low end caravan of filthy subs. It’s pretty damn good.

Many people, though, have been saying it sounds a bit too familiar. Commenters on the S.F. based groups Soundcloud and on Squitty Bubbler have been drawing comparisons to a familiar Flux Pavilion track. Squitty Bubbler commenter Kaniform said, “Big tune, but, bare similar to “Bass Cannon.”” Soundcloud user Stasis touched on the same point, “Too similar to “Bass Cannon.” I know you’re more clever than this, Helicopter Showdown.”

After a couple side by side listens, they admittedly do sound fairly similar. The melodic parts have similar aspects, and the bass lines during the drop might as well be twins.

This brings up a question that comes up in any genre. Similar tones, sounds, samples; is it biting or is it inspired by? And where’s the line drawn? Now, obviously there are no clear answers. No one knows if all the horror-punk bands that came after the Misfits are imposters, or if Lady Gaga is just a regenerated Madonna. But the fact is influences and musical aspects tend to cross hairs tightly, especially in the tiny sub-genres that bass music has sprouted off.

There’s plenty of theorizing and internet arguments that could attempt to unravel those questions of originality. But the bottom line is this song is being written about because I like it. It’s a banger. Those bass rockets could carry me off to heaven for all I care.

So cheers, Helicopter Showdown. Keep ’em coming.

Check out “Dramatron” right here on Squitty Bubbler. Listen to “Bass Cannon” also.

On March 14, their collaboration with Sluggo, Hostages, with be available on Beatport through Ultragore recordings.

Photo from: Helicopter Showdown Facebook

We’ll probably be seeing a lot of this guy shortly, so here’s a heads up.

Rudebrat, known to some as Jake Bratrude, just recently joined forces with the Vital SC management team. The newly welcomed producer lives in Santa Cruz and goes to the UC there, but something tells me the venues of SF will soon be his second home.

After scoping a few tracks on his Soundcloud it’s easy to see why they welcomed his talent. His sound is an orgy of high intensity genres that is developed and ready for a packed venue.

His songs are a mix of the natural power of classical piano chords, the ADHD of glitch, the low-end of dubstep, and the inspiring synths of trance. And once in a while we get hit with a taste of metal; the squealing notes of a guitar solo or the repetitious chugs of a drop tuned guitar, watch out for screams as well.

This amalgamation of sound and style is  heard in artists like Wolfgang Gartner, Skirllex and Deadmau5, who all touch bases with the label Mau5trap. It’s a high energy combination of upbeats and breakdowns, melodies and mash ups, thats morphing style keeps it from getting too repetitious and boring like many electronic songs are prone to do.

He doesn’t have any show booked as of now, but that could soon change. Vital has become a staple name to the San Francisco dubstep scene after bringing top notch names to the Bay Area and being responsible for events like Wobbleland. They’re always around, such as High Rankin on Wednesday, so keep an eye out for the name Rudebrat.

Not many producers look to technical math-metal for a remix, but that’s what makes this so good. Abducted’s “Rings of Saturn” gets equipped with some sub-bass, but still holds on to those brutal riffs and growls, and I love the detail of incorporating some of the original drum fills. The slot machine melody keeps it light, but everything else is pure filth. Genius.

This track is a good ambassador of his sound. From the get go you can see how he utilizes symphonic sounds (it’s actually called “Zero Symphoy”)but still keeps it gritty. Around the 1 minute mark is where drop kicks, but throughout he mixes in tints of those clean notes. The guy has a damn good ear.

Photo from: Rudebrat Soundcloud

This is a huge, exciting step for San Francisco’s dubstep scene.

Low End Theory, probably the most recognized beat parties of Los Angeles, has come up north to spread the love. The first ever LET event in the Bay was last month with Daedelus as a test, and I guess it worked out because they’re back for more (the video above is from SF in January).

Unfortunately, we’re not getting weekly events yet like L.A. does, but the fact that this party is here really changes the game. Their resident DJ’s are probably the most solid in California and they attract killer names to headline.

The first regular installment of LET SF will be on Friday, March 4th. Astro-beat mastermind Flying lotus of Los Angeles will be headlining, along with L.A.’s Free the Robots, Matthewdavid and the local Shlohmo.

Resident DJ’s Daddy Kev, The Gaslamp Killer, Nobody, D-Styles, and Nocando will be there as well, cutting it up until the wee hours of the morning. Like any proper event, this runs from 10pm that night til 4am the next day.

I think SFWeekly summed it up pretty nicely: “Let me waste no time getting to the point: Low End Theory SF is everything I’ve wanted a hip-hop/dubstep/bass/beat music/whatever party to be in this city for a long time now.”

The spot is 103 Harriet, and like many great things in life the event is 21+. You can score a presale ticket here for $15, or you can pay $20 at the door.

The event on March 4th will be video taped as part of the Low End Theory documentary, so look snazzy.

Here’s the full line up:

Daddy Kev


The Gaslamp Killer



Flying Lotus

Free the Robots


Dose One


Video: “Maiden Voyage”Alpha Pup‘s Vimeo

10 years worth of FlyLo, mixed by The Gaslamp Killer:

Hot Boxing the Cockpit – Shlohmo

A couple weeks ago I sat down with blogger and SF State student Lina Abascal and we chatted about San Francisco’s ever growing love of dubstep. She’s originally from L.A. and had some interested insights into that scene as well, and we both agreed there are some differences in a couple different aspects of the music.

Lina is a new intern for SFWeekly’s All Shook Down but has owned her own website,, for years and has been writing for culture hub for a while now too.

The audio above is a chopped version of the interview that get’s straight to the good stuff. Check out what she had to say about bass in the bay and what can be done to keep San Francisco’s dubstep scene thriving.

Your low-frequency fix for the week can be found at Ritual on Thursday. The theme of the evening is ‘Ragga Night’, which event coordinators Irie Cartel describe as a gathering of “reggae inspired and infused dubstep.”

This weekly event is going back to roots on the seventeenth; mashing the no-worries vibrations with some serious low end funk. Ritual, which is held at club Temple at 540 Howard Street, will have five different acts busting out beats until 3:00am.

Locals Rastatronics and Djunya will be headlining the gig.

Djunya hails from San Francisco and started out as a drum and bass producer, but his style has evolved over the years to include hip hop, British style dubstep, reggae and more. His name has been seen on festival bills like Sundance, Ultra, Burning Man and a whole slew of others. Check out some of his music here.

Rastatronics is a San Francisco based producer/DJ and member of the MalLabel Music team, and it’s clear to see why he’s towards the top of the bill for Ragga Night. If the name is any indication, he mixes crisp, dreamy reggae samples with some serious sub-bass.

According to MalLabel, this gives his set a “singular sound,” which I’m taking as a smooth, irie set. The same paragraph says the DJ has shared shows with the likes of Rusko, Skream, Benga and others of equal weight.

Others that will be putting on the party at Ritual are Lud Dub (San Francisco), Rob I, Doug Surreal (Oakland), and resident Ritual DJ, Nebakaneza (Bay Area).

Like every Thursday gathering at Temple, Ritual is a free. The club says it can fit upwards of 600 people, has plenty of parking, and is an easy walk from Montgomery MUNI/BART stations. The night begins at 9:00pm and is restricted to those 21 and up; all beer from the tap is $3.

Video: Motion Eccentrica