Drive By interview with PAUL BASIC at The Twilight Frequency Tour! @paulbasic @prettylights
Here’s one I did on the fly with DJ Paul Basic when he hit Syracuse, NY on the Twilight Frequency Tour a little while back. Colorado folks are always so friendly and pleasant in my experience, and his set was DOPE! Check him out if you’re digging the EDM scene… You’ll be glad you did!
G- What’s going on, everybody? This is Greg Allis once again with Live High Five and we’re in Syracuse, NY. It’s November or December something, I don’t know, and it’s cold outside, but we’ve got the Twilight Frequency Tour going on right now with Break Science, Michael Menart, Keys N Krates, and the man I’m going to speak to right now, Paul Basic. He’ll be playing second tonight, I believe, but let’s just get this started… Where are you from, and what do you do?
P- I’m from Ft. Collins, Colorado and I produce my own tracks, and I’m on the Pretty Lights label putting out music for free for the people.
G- Sounds good. How long have you been on Pretty Lights?
P- It’s been… My record came out last September, so it’s been over a year pretty much. But I’ve been long time homies with pretty Lights and Michael Menart… We go way back in the day, so, you know, pre-label I guess we’ve been around.
G- I dig it. How long have you been on this tour, and how long are you going to be on the remainder of the tour?
P- I just came on yesterday, and there’s a couple of weeks left of the tour. I’m doing the last of it… 11 shows or something, so yea… Stoked! Mostly East Coast, Midwest, Pennsylvania, and we go all around.
G- Warmer weather hopefully as you leave the Syracuse area?
P- I don’t know, man. I mean, I’m just anticipating cold everywhere.
G- So last night was your first night of the tour… Where was it and how was it?
P- It was in Northampton, Ma. and it was dope! It was a good vibe and a good start to the tour. I had fun, and look forward to more.
G- Dig it. Very good! So, how is the scene in Ft. Collins, Colorado? What music did you come up with, and what influences your particular sound?
P- Again, I grew up with Michael Menart and Pretty Lights. Those were like the first dudes I ever linked up with in high school and started making music with, and they’ve definitely been a big part of my musical upbringing, and we’ve kind of influenced each other. But it all comes from… It has a huge hip-hop influence. We all grew up listening to hip-hop, and it was the first beats we ever made were hip-hop beats. Then, the more we got into production, the more we got into electronic music just because there’s production lines to be learned and discovered there.
So, over the years just listening to a lot of stuff and bridging that gap, we kind of mixed electronic with hip-hop feel. There’s been lots of influences along the way, but in terms of close to home, it’s mike and Derrick for sure.
G- Dig it. So, when did you get started and is this your first foray into touring as a professional musician, or…
P- Yea. I mean, I started playing the drums as a kid, and then me, Mike, and Derrick had a band through high school and college a little bit, and then I started… We all got into production. We were still playing live instruments and stuff, but production kinda became more and more of a focus because of the creativity it allows you to have.
I mostly have just been producing on my own. I have had a few different random bands and moved around the country doing that a little bit, but it was never… It’s was not as serious as it is now. I’ve always worked on it all the time, but only since last year has it become a full-time job where I can sustain myself and do it all the time.
G- It’s hard on the road, right?
P- Yea, it is hard to produce on the road. Home studios are a better environment for that, but just being able to do it full-time is like a lot better than before, you know? Work hard to get to that point and now you have way more time and that’s kinda your main focus. Everything’s really accelerated in the last year and it’s been nice to not only have the time, but have a lot of shows to ply shit at and keep that motivation level up.
G- That’s great! So, you said you have an album out… Why don’t you give us the title, give us some information on the album, and tell us where it was mixed and who was behind the boards.
P- Umm, it was all just me. It came out about a year ago, so it’s kind of old material in my mind. I’m about to put a new album out…
P- In the next couple of months. But the one that is out is the Mirror EP. You can get it at www.prettylightsmusic.com for free, just like with everybody else, and that was my first release on the label, and my first kind of impression of my sound and the first collection of tracks I put out, and I’m close to the next one, and that’s what I’m kinda focusing on. There’s no date or title or anything yet, but all the tracks are there, and it’s close to being done. In the next couple of months, it should be hitting the light of day.
G- Alright. Now, for the readers around here who may not have heard of you before, let me ask you… Do you have a particular favorite track that you’ve written, or if you were to offer 1 song to someone who had never heard you before to try to make a fan, what song would you give them and why?
P- The most popular on the EP I think has been the track “Daydream.” It has a popular sample that was used by a few different artists over the years that I came across, and happened to flip and decided to put it out. And even though people call it a remix or whatever, it really wasn’t its intention. But it’s always gotten really good feedback and kinda has a lot of the different elements that I try to have in my sound all on one track. So if I were to pick one, “Daydream” is probably the one, aside from the brand new shit. But it’s not out yet, so I can’t say that.
G- Right on. You’re gonna play that tonight, right?
P- Yea. Definitely playing some new material. I’m really close to wrapping up like 6 new tracks, so those will start working their way into the set soon enough.
G- I dig it. I dig it. Now, I’m not exactly sure how many tours you’ve been on, or if you’ve traveled internationally or anything like that, but let me ask you really quick… as Paul Basic, if you could put together a dream lineup with like 3 artists that you’d like to tour with or perform a show with, who would you select and why?
P- Dead or alive? Or both?
G- Let’s do feasible, because everybody wants The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
P- That’s not who’d I’d pick, but I would pick old school dudes! Umm, I guess I’ll take the label out of the equation because they’re all homies, but I play shows with them all the time, so I’ll have to take them out.
G- Dig it.
P- Shit… Out of anybody?
G- Yea man… Dream lineup style!
P- Hmm that’s a tough call. Well, I would say my man Odd Nosdam because that is someone I was into back in the day. Very obscure, lo-fi, underground hip-hip. He’s not that known, but he is someone who I listened to a lot back in the day, and he really doesn’t p[lay a lot of show, but I’d definitely put him on a bill if it was at my discretion, you know?
P- I don’t know exactly what he would do live, but it’d be fuckin’ dope just because he was someone I was really into when I was getting into producing a lot and was a big influence.
Maybe Boards Of Canada would be another one, and since they never ever play shows or tour or anything… They are alive and out there and everything, so I can say that’s feasible in an ideal world. They’re like more ambient, chill-out electronic shit. I don’t know how to explain that.
Damn… Can we make it 4?
G- 4 is fine, man. Definitely!
P- Cuz I’ll go big here with these last 2. I’ll say Aphex Twin and Radiohead or something.
G- That’s cool. Are those your choices, because those are both good!
P- I don’t know. I’ll just throw those on there. Let’s just say the unreachable, huge, fuckin’ seminal…
G- Definitely attainable!
P- I don’t know, man. Not for me… yet. But you’re saying dream world, so if I was having a dream, it would be with those dudes.
G- Well, you’re a touring musician… It’s all dreaming, man!
P- Yea exactly.
G- The Rolling Stones and Metallica still dream!
P- That’s right!
G- Now, can you tell us a little bit about your favorite, most memorable, or craziest show that you’ve been a part of to date? Tell us where it was and what it was like.
P- It was definitely Red Rocks…
P- Which was probably 3 months ago at this point. And that was a Pretty Lights show. He did 2 nights at Red Rocks in August, and the second night was the all-label show. Everyone on the bill was on the Pretty Lights Music label.
And I grew up in Colorado; Some of my first big concerts were at Red Rocks, so over the years, that’s been a big influence on me and it was just, you know, beyond a dream come true to play there. So when it happened, and it was my first time playing there, that was a big deal just in itself. But to be doing it with all your friends, and it’s a sold out crowd… It was everything! The venue, the artists, the crowd… It was everything you could want!
G- That sounds pretty sick! I’ve never been to Red Rocks, but it’s the perfect, nature made amphitheater I’m told. I can’t wait to go there myself
P- Yea I mean, I’d be surprised if another venue trumps that one in my mind. It’s my favorite venue. Red Rocks. I don’t know, you could see the same set somewhere else and seeing it there would be a whole different thing.
G- I’m ready! I’ve seen all types of footage from bands that I love there, and I’m like ‘Why haven’t I been there yet?’ I grew up in NY, and I love NY and everything, but Colorado is a pretty nice state, and they recently legalized some vegetation which makes it that much more interesting to move out there, so…
G- I guess to finish up today, as a producer and musician that’s on the road, and someone who is working and building in this industry… There are a lot of kids out here that have the same dream that you have. You’re currently living it, and even though you’re still building, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of where many of these kids are.
From your experience, can you offer any advice on how to make it in the music business, on the road, and as a professional musician like yourself?
P- I mean, it’s tough. I think there’s lots of people out there who deserve more credit and recognition, and vice versa, too. There are a lot of people out there who have a lot of recognition that maybe aren’t the best at what they do. So, all in all it is kind of a… I don’t want to say it’s based on luck or say it’s a crapshoot, but it’s a difficult industry to be a part of or break into or anything like that… To maintain a career in or anything like that.
But I’d say if you’re gonna do it, do it! Take it seriously, put in the work and time, learn everything you can, be as creative as you can. But at the same time, if you want to do it as a career, full-time kinda takes up your life kinda thing you’ve gotta stay open minded, too. It’s always a balance between what you want and what the audience is feeling, and it changes all the time. You don’t want to just make music for the crowd, but you don’t want to make music just for yourself. So it’s kind of understanding that balance and staying open minded and flexible with what’s going on, and stay inspired and creative. It’s kind of a vague, open answer, but that’s what I’m dealing with on a daily basis, and trying to keep a head on about it, and I feel like everybody’s gotta do that.
G- It kinda sounds like the truth, man. There are a lot of different facets to the business, and dreamers really need to study up!
P- Yea take it seriously and being willing to put your ass out there.
G- So where can we get in touch with you for more material?
P- Luckily, Paul Basic is easy to find:
Instagram: Paul Basic
The music is on www.prettylightsmusic.com if you go to the record label section, find me and all the homies. It’s all free, it’s all love. But yea, find me on there, keep up with what’s going on… It’s different on each one!
G- Nice! Well dude, pumped to see you play tonight, safe trip and travels on the rest of the tour…
P- Thank you very much!
G- And tear it up and keep building!
P- Hell yea!