Play Me Records‘ J. Rabbit just recently made the move back from NYC to sunny SoCal – but he isn’t quite able to settle into his new desert abode just yet. In the midst of his tour with Into The AM (touching down in SD this Thursday) and revved up to embark on an undoubtedly wild cross-North America bass excursion in cahoots with DILLON FRANCIS as part of the Mothership After Party Tour, J. Rabbit doesn’t have a spare moment to catch a breath. But why would he want to?
J Rabbit‘s brand of sound integrates a vast variety of pupil-dilating wobble, searing trill-erating bass, and even a hint of melody for the ladies. His vicious peril-impending DnB side is heavily doused with lip licking oscillated growls and sweaty head 808 kick drum overdrive. While the majority of the elements of his audio arsenal are about as nurturing as a steak knife, his careful integration of bouncy synth pitch shifts, and quirky vocal samples keep things fun across the floor.
We were able to catch up to J Rabbit earlier this week and have a quick chat to him about some of his particularly exciting forthcoming releases, gather some of his well-attuned insight about a handful of next-up break out dubstep artists we should already be listening to, and we even learned some new slang that will help save us a few coins around the swear jar.
TheMixster.com: You have a track, a remix for Le Castle Vania that just dropped on Beatport this week so congrats on that… But you’ve also got a newish track titled “Hello Stan” that’s going to be featured on Dim Mak’s upcoming compilation set to drop this early October. Is releasing a track with Dim Mak an accomplishment for you or is it just another days work?
J Rabbit: Releasing for Dim Mak is definitely an accomplishment! For as long as I can remember I never saw aggressive underground electronic music have any type of mainstream pull at all. Dim Mak, even though they’re not exactly “mainstream, mainstream” Steve Aoki is still, you know, one of the biggest icons for electronic music. I guess for me it’s kind of like the merge between underground electronic music and what you could call ‘mainstream electronic music.’ So yeah, definitely being featured on a label of that caliber is an accomplishment.
TheMIX: The forthcoming Dim Mak compilation is called “New Noise Volume 1” –to those who have not heard more than a mere sample of “Hello Stan” yet, in your opinion, why would “Hello Stan” be considered ‘New Noise?’ What elements of the track differentiate it from say what is considered the “current noise”?
J Rabbit: Well you know I mean I haven’t thought of how “Stan” I guess would be considered part of the new noise… I just wrote it the way that I would write everything else; just tried to blend popular noises of dubstep right now. And opposed to, you know, making this what I want to make and then hopefully having people like it. “Hello Stan” is also like a slang term for “haters” or for “elitists” or people who make other people feel not welcomed. “Hello Stan” is a reference to the songs where nobody likes you throughout the entire song. So I suppose that little friendly jab would definitely be a new element in the new noise.
TheMIX: So the track name isn’t a South Park reference?
J Rabbit: No, no definitely not. When I first posted a mix on Mad Decent, anyone that had anything negative to say, all the moderators were just referring back to them as ‘Stan’ “Be quiet Stan,” or “calm down Stan.” It’s actually funny because then later the ‘dubstep episode’ of South Park, the one kid who hates everything is incidentally Stan, the one character that by anyone’s definition, is a hater. It was coincidental that it worked out that he was a character, but no, it’s just a slang term.
TheMIX: Do you have any more releases coming out before the end of the year that you’d like to tell us about?
J Rabbit: I have a couple on Digital Terror coming up that I really can’t talk about yet…. But I do have some remixes coming out for Terravita’s ‘Up in the Clouds,’ I think there are a couple other ones for Le Castle Vania, but definitely working on some more blending with ‘mainstream’ artists I guess you could say, or you know, more underground mainstream electronic artists.
TheMIX: You’ve recently made the move back to California from NYC. Generally how does Cali’s bass music scene differ from NYC’s?
J Rabbit: In California, the production value is… I mean there’s a lot of money to be thrown into a party, and lots of people that can do it, so it’s not just one or two [parties]… On the East Coast it’s more up to a big production team that can do everything. Obviously there are big ones out here like Insomniac and what have you, but even the small parties out here will still have 2,000 people at it, which is an extremely large party for the East Coast. As far as people, people are the same wherever you go, some people are nice, some people are not, you know what I mean? Some clubs are good, some are not, some have good sound, some don’t. The general consensus is that more people come out to [to parties] in LA. I don’t know if it’s the space or the fact that we have buildings out here that can house 3,000 people and New York really doesn’t, but it’s definitely more viable out here than it is on the East Coast. Still just as loved and people are still just as passionate, but there’s just so many more people out here that come out.
TheMix: So there isn’t exactly greater support for Bass music in CA, we just have the best venues to support it?
J Rabbit: Yeah the difference in venue, difference in size. I mean I’m sure if they had a really good show lined up at Yankee Stadium people would come. But there’s no way that would ever happen. You have to go upstate or out of state for bigger shows like that.
TheMIX: You’ve been touring around a bit lately, and you’re set to go out for the Mothership After Party Tour soon along with Dillon Francis! What is your absolute favorite thing about being on tour?
J Rabbit: When I can DJ and not think about [anything else]. When you just go from city to city, it becomes a lot more fun and a lot less like work. If I haven’t done a show in a week and then I gotta get all my shit together and get on a plane and fly across the country, just to play one or two shows. It’s hard to get back in the groove and by the time you’re back in it, the weekend’s over. So to go on an extended tour from big state to big state, you get in the groove, and then not to mention it’s just a constant party everywhere you go. I guess my favorite part would just be being with all my friends and playing shows, doing what I’ve always wanted to do.
TheMIX: Do you have any weird pre-show/tour rituals?
J Rabbit: None that I can think of, except just like smoke cigarettes up until the very last second before I go on. Typically I like to make sure that I have a ‘bubble’ when I play. As long as nothing is interfering or encroaching in my little two-foot space I’m good. Shoes on, shoes off, it doesn’t make a difference.
TheMIX: What’s in your arsenal right now that’s been getting a great reaction on the dance floor?
J Rabbit: There are a couple mash-up’s that I have from Trevor and Ludachrist that do really well. But there’s definitely a Terravita remix of Datsik and Bare’s ‘King Kong‘ that I don’t think people know about – that there even is a drumstep remix of it out – so when they hear it they’re extra surprised. [That Terravita remix] is just a very very well done remix that has lots of bridges and builds, and then it also transitions back into dubstep too. And also ‘Mistadobilina’ remix, for the people out there who remember the original.
TheMIX: Who’s on your top 3 wish list of people you’d like to collaborate with in the future and why?
J Rabbit: Top 3, let’s see… Number one would be SchoolBoy. He did a remix for Porter Robinson like a couple months ago. He also had a tune last year called “Checkmate” that got a lot of play. Yeah, not a lot of people know Schoolboy, but he’s very good. He’s very good at song-writing, he’s very good at designing sounds and it would be awesome to work with him. I’m trying to think of people that aren’t just highly recognizable, you know what I mean, cause obviously working with people of high caliber would be great. Working with Trevor of Terravita, they’re kind of like ‘how to make electronic music to begin with,’ so in a way they’re indirectly responsible for all this for me. Any collaboration that I could do with them, I would love to do. And then, Dillon Francis or Dave Nada, people with different genres, like this 109 BPM thing (Moombahton) they’re definitely pushing.. It’s fun to work with dubstep artists but [it's important] to go further and try your luck with other genres. I think people first search things anywhere from Diplo or Swedish House Mafia,but then they hear something else and they still like it, so I think it’s just all kind of helping the electronic music period right now.
TheMIX: A question that we ask all of our bass music artists: We hate the term “Bro-step”, is there another word or phrase that you would use to describe the music that falls into that realm?
J Rabbit: Sometimes me and Matt (from Terravita) will call it “Bearded”. You know like a guy can have a beard so instead of bass music it’s ‘beard music.’ Guys with beards fucking love it, not too much females, but ‘beards’ just flock to it. Then also when they stare at the DJ and don’t dance or do anything, they just watch and usually stroke their beard, you know? So yeah, ‘beard music.’
TheMIX: Are there any new break-out/under-the-radar artists that you are particularly excited about these days?
J Rabbit: Yeah actually, two of my really good friends Nerd Rage and Obsidian. Their tunes are getting better and better, and they’re getting more and more steam. I’m watching them trying to work with agents and different shows, and they’re traveling now and people are becoming more and more interested in their tunes. And SchoolBoy, those would be the three. SchoolBoy, Nerd Rage, and Obsidian, I mean, SchoolBoy kind of has a name for himself, but still they’re all very, very talented artists.
TheMIX: What’s one track (aside from one of your own) that you will definitely play at the Into the AM show in San Diego this Thursday?
J Rabbit: Aside from my own? Let’s see, the “Crush on You” remix by Knife Party. Yeah that’ll definitely be played. [It's] probably one of the best-written dubstep songs I’ve ever heard. It’s really, really good. Knife Party is gonna be huge I think.
Catch J Rabbit at On Broadway in San Diego TONIGHT at SD’s only 18+ bass music monthly with Tryxx and Gum-B on support bringing you a forward selection of DnB and dubstep selection as well. Party is 18+ (!!!!!) and you can get your tickets/RSVP here.
And be sure to look out for upcoming drop of “Hello Stan” off Dim Mak Records on their “New Noise Volume 1” compilation on October 4th!