In the Beginning…
Photo: Banana Cam
Loud music makes us feel.
What do you call that feeling? Is it love? Is it the universe? It flows and rolls over all of us when we choose to let it in. It’s always around but rarely absorbed by the masses. There are few places in the world where people draw upon these mystical feelings of effervescent, hyper-real, ecstatic forms of vibrant, colourful, juicy, loud and in-your-face forms of molecular pleasure. We flock to these groove riddled cathedrals; be them warehouses, industrial parks, backyards, basements, tunnels, fields, clubs, bars, stadiums, or forests. We flock because they make us feel. They make us feel together in every sense of the word. Together in sound; divided by nothing.
Do you remember the first time you heard bass? The first time it rattled your little ribcage and made you shake? In a car, blasting out of your brothers ‘96 4Runner’s monster 2×12’s? Or maybe from the massive PK stacks at the Village during a Rusko set? It was scary and exciting. Is it supposed to be this loud? How can it get any louder? Oh my god, it is getting louder. What’s a “drop”? I CAN’T HEAR YOU?! WHAT!!!?? Your eyeballs flinch, you get permanent goosebumps on your arms and neck, your blood pumps in overtime, the little man in your brain is hitting every switch to make you feel everything, using every sense in overdrive. Hang on.
The first time the bass melted my core was in 1997; I was 10 years old. My older brother had just installed a new sound system in his Toyota 4Runner, and he took me for a ride. This was before the days of melody-heavy west-coast grimey bass music, and deep in the days of tech-house and hip-hop. MuchMusic (the Canadian MTV) actually played music, and the best parties had passwords. The sun shined a little brighter, and the sky was a little bluer back then.
My brother rolled the driver side window down, reached across to the aftermarket Kenwood stereo deck, selected a track, and turned the volume knob to five. The song was “Get ready to bounce” by Brooklyn Bounce, but it didn’t matter to me then, because up to this point all I knew was radio rock and whatever my parents played on Saturday mornings (spoiler alert: Tears For Fears.) The song begins and the words kick in: “These are the sounds of Brooklyn Bounce.” The first kick drum hits and I still swear to this day my teeth shifted a little. After the first few build-up bars, the riser starts rising and the first calm before the storm settles in. “Get ready… Get ready… Get ready… Get ready….” As the build starts happening, my brother smiles and turns the volume up with the beat. 8…10…12…15…19…22. By the time it gets to 25, I felt my stomach turn and twist; the anticipation of the sound was scary but it wasn’t. I was worried, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and smile at the thought of how loud this was truly going to be. I could almost feel the clicks of a rollercoaster under my seat as we went higher and higher. My eyes widened and my breathing got fast and short. The record spin brings everything to the temporary silence and the anticipation of sound hits the ceiling and back into my tiny brain. “…Get ready to BOUNCE.” The bass kicks and the windows shake. The startled neighbours washing their cars jump and turn. The seat vibrates aggressively; I thought I was going to be thrown from the truck. It keeps coming; the bass, the hi-hats, the synth, the vocals. You feel your insides shift and bounce. Everything you ever knew about sound is (almost literally) tossed out the window and you just exist in the moment, and the moments that follow after that.
Your body is tense for the first few seconds but then it all settles in and you don’t know what you did before this. The bass moves the air all around you and throws your hair wildly in every conceivable direction. How did you listen to music before? Three minutes feels like an eternity, but an eternity that you never knew could be so close to the surface of the life you’ve been living. Who makes this? Who figured this out? Why does it feel so good to be scared and taunted by the bass? We turned and looked at each other, as if we just went through massive turbulence on an airplane and the pilot finally figured it out and levelled the wings again. What just happened?
“You think that’s good? Check this one out.”
Pandora’s box opens and the metaphorical clouds form around the airplane once more (the seatbelt sign flashes and dings) and the sounds inside draw me in. This never-ending cavernous wonder of sound and senses. There’s a junction; a fork in the road, and you can’t go back to where you just came from. Hang on.
Since that day, I always made sure my ride had a proper sound system to try and recreate that feeling and chase the bass.
I moved to BC in 2006 and watched as bass music grew and shaped itself into the finely tuned monster it is today. I remember seeing Excision in 2009 at the Rockwater in Golden, BC with 50 other people and realizing that there was another shift in what could be done with modern technology and inspiration from present and past artists. People wanted dirtier, heavier, yet somehow cleaner bass, and it was coming. Unfortunately for me, I wouldn’t discover Shambhala for another 4 years, but more on that later.
In the beginning, how did you find bass and dance music?
In the future, what made you stay and enjoy its vast array of genres?
Play me another.
|By: Nick Christian (Solid Creative)|
I’m Nick, but everyone calls me Solid. I’m a Writer/Wildland Firefighter. Originally from Mississauga Ontario, I’ve spent the last 11 years traveling and working in the surrounding forests of British Columbia. I have been residing in Nelson, BC for 6 years, and love all things about this mountain town. I like my music loud, my coffee strong, and my pages filled with words.