After witnessing Minnesota’s tremendously fun bass earthquake of a set at Abstract Festival this past September there was no way I was going to turn down an opportunity to sit face-to-face with one of the freshest American bass music producers to date and the only dubstep DJ I’ve ever seen smile from the beginning to the end of his set. Stone cold bros no more!
Thus being the very professional Mixstress that I am, I came prepared to do our interview on Halloween night: donned in a VERY homemade MAJOR LAZER costume (with makeshift foam lazer gun no doubt) and brought with me my homie along for the adventure, ULTRAKNOCK who naturally decided to dress in the most unapproachable, shifty-looking reaper frock and extra lurky cheap gold sunglasses. After a long spiral of crowded hallways and mazes, we met up with very-normally dressed Minnesota in his hotel room at The Keating Hotel in San Diego before his headlining set at the Halloweird party (presented by Night Access) happening just below us.
Against all odds Minnesota was able to take me seriously enough, right after I swapped out the lazer gun for my microphone of course, to chat with us about his feelings about the current state of bass music, some of his favorite artists around the EDM realm, and why ostriches, are the future.
TheMixster.com: This is the second time you’ve been back to SD in last 2 months. How do you like San Diego’s bass music scene?
Minnesota: I’m not super familiar with it. Actually I have a twin sister that lives down here, so she’s at the show tonight. I’m pretty new to the scene down here, but I’m always glad to be down here because I can see her and party with her ‘cause she’s just getting really into this kind of music. I remember like two years ago I was going to raves and stuff and she was like, “what the fuck is this music?” and then six months ago she got super into it and at this point she’s even more into it than I am. She goes to like every fucking show there is, so straight up, she’s on it.
TheMixster.com: Outside of San Diego, what’s the most exciting show you’ve played this year?
Minnesota: I’ve played a lot in the last two weeks, I’ve been on a tour with a group called Big Gigantic, they’re really dope. Kind of a electronic/jam band, they have a drummer and a saxophonist. I just played with them in South Carolina, it was a sold out show for like 1200 kids, in Charleston. That was definitely one of my best shows, at least in the last month. It’s hard to remember my other ones. Charleston fuckin’ threw down, it was fun. It was dope.
TheMixster.com: What do you have coming up on the horizon, you’ve had a pretty exciting year, and I’m sure you have a couple new EP’s coming out?
Minnesota: I have some stuff I’m not supposed to talk about, but I’m basically just touring the next two or three weeks, and after that I’m taking December and January completely off, doing a few random shows, and then hopefully… that’s the shit I can’t really talk about.
TheMixster.com: Okay well in that case, what sound are you trying to achieve in your secret upcoming stuff?
Minnesota: I’m really just trying to push melodic heavy dubstep. That’s basically my goal for the next few months is just to bust out some really melodic bangers, and we’ll see if I can get those out.
TheMixster.com: What’s the difference between what you’re going to do and brostep?
Minnesota: I do appreciate the heaviness of brostep, and like going to the club and just fucking slamming it, but I really want to infuse a lot more melody into it than there already is. My goal is to make really melodic, “stadium”, stadium just means like really BIG dubstep tracks. That’s my goal. I don’t really know how to describe it.
TheMixster.com: So what’s another word you’d use to describe brostep? I hate that term so much.
Minnesota: I don’t know if there’s another term, I mean I don’t like the term either, because I do play like a few “brostep” tracks in a lot of my sets, and I do make a few tracks that could be classified as that, but at this point that’s what it’s called. At first I was kinda pissed, I’m like, “this name fucking sucks”, but if that’s what people are going to call it… I don’t know what else you’d call it haha.
TheMixster.com: I thought as an insider you might have heard some funny ones…
Minnesota: Like what?
TheMixster.com: I’ve heard beardstep from J. Rabbit, that’s probably my favorite one.
Minnesota: Hahaha, that’s better! Brostep I feel like just has a negative connotation, but like really if you’re gonna go out, I mean I hate sets that are just like 100% brostep, but it’s fine to slam a few fuckin’ bangers.
TheMixster.com: Okay so, all encompassing of your sound, if your sound were a type of animal, what would it be and why?
Minnesota: Well… I’m gonna have to say a bear. A bear is aggressive, like brostep, but at the same time a bear can be like, peaceful perhaps? And mellow? So that melodic side… mel…?
TheMixster.com: Like floating away on an icecap?
Minnesota: Exactly! That’s pretty sad, but kind of! ‘Cause I make some songs that are definitely a little be sadder. It’d be like a polar bear floating away on an icecap, to die. God, that’s horrible.
TheMixster.com: Like sad polar bear step?
Minnesota: Save the fucking bears. Hahaha, I’d say a bear though, definitely a bear.
TheMixster.com: So what can we expect from you in 2012? Other than the stuff you can’t talk about. Unless you want to talk about it.
Minnesota: Haha I can’t unfortunately. Other than the stuff I can’t talk about? Um… after January…
[Either as part of a brilliant "change the subject" strategy or a mere bizarre coincidence of the moment, a strange documentary on Ostrich riding appears on Fuel TV, with equally LOLable attempts of FuelTV bros trying to bareback ride ostriches, with little, VERY little success. So obviously, we took a break from the interview to bask in the delightful clusterfuck that appeared before our eyes.]
Minnesota: Actually I take the bear back, my music is like an ostrich! [Laughs] Basically after January, I’m just hopefully touring heavily, playing a lot of shows, and other than the stuff I can’t talk about, that’s pretty much it; playing a ton of shows around the country, hopefully.
TheMixster.com: Aside from what you can’t talk about, if you could pick three people to collaborate with, who would it be?
Minnesota: Big Gigantic is one of them, the group that I was touring with the last two or three weeks. They’re closer to a live band than they are to a DJ cause they have a drummer and a saxophonist, but the good part is they infuse that with a DJ set because they play their original songs, and then they throw slamming dubstep into it. Touring with them, I did seven dates with them, and every single show was fucking super consistent, and the crowd went crazy for all of them. They just killed it. So yeah, Big Gigantic is definitely one of them. So I need two more… ah fuck… I really dig the new stuff that MiM0SA came out with, so MiM0SA would be dope, and I really want to get back in the studio with Marty Party. Before, I did some collabs with him, and still he was like one of my favorite producers. So those would be the three I think.
TheMixster.com: Why is Marty Party so fun to work with?
Minnesota: I feel like we’re pretty similar on what we want to put out. We both like very melodic stuff. When he first hit me up and we did our first collab, I was just like way beyond stoked just because he had been one of the key producers that got me into dubstep and stuff. It was a lot different than a lot of the other dubstep that was out there and I just feel like he’s a very innovative producer.
[Side Bar: Are the ostriches gone? I don’t know what’s going on now, but the ostriches are gone. I’ve only done a few interviews, but all of them have been like, no script, I had to write everything down. I don’t know how you guys do it.]
TheMixster.com: HA! Very carefully… So why the name Minnesota? I feel like you’ve been asked this a lot, but answer in a different way than ever before?
Minnesota: Well I don’t know if that’s possible, because there’s one truthful and direct answer. It’s good to get the record clear to as many people as I can, ‘cause I’ve been asked this many times….
TheMixster.com: Probably because it’s really hard to Google…
Minnesota: That’s something I need to work on, unfortunately. I grew up in Minnesota and I moved to Santa Cruz, California about four or five years ago. When I moved there, the people I met, the people I started working with, just started calling me Minnesota. When I started producing/DJing I couldn’t think of anything really cool, like Bassnectar or something, that’s a fucking bomb ass name, like how do you come up with that? So I came up with Minnesota, I was just putting music up on Soundcloud, not expecting too much of it, and that’s just kind of what stuck and I haven’t thought of anything cooler since. And it sucks, because when you Google it, you’re not going to get anything. So everyone, just Google “Minnesota dubstep” and you will get something, hopefully. I need to plug that, minnesotadubstep.com, go to it, I just launched it, it’s awesome!
TheMixster.com: Direction of sound…2012, where do you think it’s going?
Minnesota: I have no fucking idea haha.
TheMixster.com: What about bass music in general?
Minnesota: I’m just hoping that bass music will not die out. Like electro/electro house has kind of died out, when I first got into electronic music, that’s what I was into, and it hasn’t “died out” but it definitely hasn’t grown really? I’m hoping dubstep and bass music won’t do that, and I don’t think it will, because I think it has the capability to evolve in a lot more directions than electro does. So I’m hoping it will just keep going in a ton of different directions and it will keep getting bigger and bigger so that I still have a job and I can still pay my bills.
TheMixster.com: Well we hope you’ll be part of the evolution.
Minnesota: I hope that too, but you never know! We’ll see, we’ll see. Fingers crossed. Fucking ostriches, people riding them, that’s great, that’s what the future is.
We couldn’t have said it any better. Fucking ostriches.