ESP Woody McBride reveals Bassgasm 2 lineup (exclusive)

Categories: DJ Q&A
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DJ ESP by Denis Jeong Plaster
Being a dance music lover in Minneapolis has been a bit of a tough endeavor -- we're like that misunderstood animal at the zoo they keep moving around because it roars too loudly too often. For a decade plus, our native habitats included warehouses, community centers and other unconventional venues until law enforcement axed that option and the herd merged into clubs, leaving fans feeling displaced and disgruntled. The day of the arena rager seemed over and we were all left with one huge hangover. 

But last February, leader-of-the-pack techno renegade DJ ESP Woody McBride truly tested and pushed the boundaries of the club environment at First Avenue with his dance music experiment "Bassgasm." It utilized every foot of space to contort the club to five rooms featuring many electronic genres, erecting huge platforms for wild dancers and packing the place with an energy -- and bass -- not felt since the early 90's Soundburnt parties. Now, McBride's back for another go.

Gimme Noise is proud to announce the lineup of CityPages.com-sponsored Bassgasm 2 and interview its techno-famous curator about what's in store with this show packing a lineup of 60+ artists. Welcome to the jungle.

Gimme Noise: Woody, you're back for round two! Why?

ESP: BG1 was so much fun and so massive that there is really only one response to something like that - more fun and more massivity!! I have been fortunate to have traveled the world and experienced a multi-room "super-club" environment where you can eat different styles of music a la carte. And, I love all styles and I love what the independent EDM promoters at First Avenue are doing so I want to create that kind of European opportunity for people - just more intense and in that Midwest style we are crazy about!

What's Bassgasm really about?

BG is about Old Skool, New Skool and Future Skool. Many events now days are often 5 local performers of a select genre for $5 or one big commercial DJ for $25. BG works to feature many genres of EDM in 5 rooms all for $15/$20. And collectively we, the many patrons and the promoters, can afford to bring in several national headlining DJs across many genres in a multi-room facility like First Avenue. This is one of my arts - organizing. It is important work to give DJs, visual artists, decorators, dancers, sound, light and lazer engineers a relaxed anything-goes environment to do their thing. That is how magic and sparkle happen.

Was the loud thump of Bassgasm 1 not enough?

I think it was... it was a new Arena Concert rig that we had not used in the mainroom before and it was ripping chunks of the ceiling out at sound check. That said, the BG1 system was only turned up to about 30% of its potential... whew. This time, we are reconfiguring it for event more thump, more clarity and more coverage of the room. And we are fortifying all the other 4 areas. We have a new stage this time - The Techno Mosh Pit - and we have to say goodbye to the basement of the Entry for safety reasons. It is a mystery to me as much as it is to everyone else why we all love bass so much. I think it might be that we crave to feel a mirror image of our own life-force - lean up against big power and not get zapped - dance with the devil known also as our root chakra where our base impulses live. Have a BASSGASM! Or just have an awesomely fun time!

Who are the standout headliners to you this time?

All 63 of them, really. I suppose if we have to name names, there is at least one exciting national headliner for most of the EDM genres - Hulk (NYC/CHI) aka Claw, trillbass, Ritchie August for dubstep, Tommie Sunshine (NY) for elektro & rock, DJ Terry Mullan (Pitt) arguably one of USA's most legendary underground house DJs, Christian Bruna (NYC #1 club DJ) for drum n' bass, HeavyGrinder (LA) for elektro house, Mike G & Dakota Veer (MPLS, Madison) for techno and Keith McKenzie (Chi) one of USA's top breaks DJs.

But I also wanted to pay respects to other aspects of the underground EDM culture in America by bringing in Tom Foolery and his buddy Tekfro from Miami/St Louis. They are amazing DJs but also possibly USA's top underground EDM festival promoters. They do Underground Sound Festival in the Ozarks in a beautiful wooded area - pure magic and a real trick to pull off events like these.

We also feature two styles of music that you may not be super familiar with: drum n bass & hardcore. Sure, techno and house are household names nowadays, but nothing lights up a party like fast tempo music - and heck, harder music is what helped build the underground scene - and don't you forget it. I went and saw KORN play last night and it reassured me that in order to stay sane and stick it to the man WE MUST ALWAYS TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO RAAAWWWWWK!

 I know booking this show was challenging. Talk about that.

It was really challenging - hours and days and months of planning. Weeks of wrestling with booking agents who are holding out for the highest bidder - or sending the bigger names over to Europe for big money festival season. Our message that "this is an important showcase event for a lower ticket price" held little sway with the agents with which we placed competitive offers for some really eccentric talent that we did not get this time around. That formula burns out artists fast and eats good promoters alive. I pledged to the other co-promoters that I would try to book some of the artists they wanted to see and in the end most of those artists were not available, were too expensive or will join us in the future.

Why should followers of the bass care about this show?

 I am happy to say that my good reputation proceeds me and I have not delivered anything less than a kick ass show yet. If you have not been to a Wall of Bass party, you must. If you missed the raves of the formative Midwest years this party will give you a little taste. If you are sick of the same old - this party is for you. If you want to run around and scream your head off and get totally sweaty and crazy - this party is for you.

Why not just do a rave?

Well, I am not up to taking the risk, I don't like breathing warehouse dust and muck and we always got in trouble for having too loud a sound system. It is the best of both worlds the way we set this up - it is a day out of time. You forget you are in a club, you forget you are stuck in other people's reality, you forget that there is a division between DJ and crowd.

Tell us a special secret about Bassgasm 2 before you go.


 I came up with a slogan: "I am here to dance, not to be scene". If anything that is what I am trying to do - create a space to chill out your mind and dance off your ass at the same time. Basically, I wanna keep the sound underground and I want you to Kerrrrrrannkkk it up!!!

 Also: It is nice that you want to ask me these questions, but there are many people that work to make this event fly. The club and its staff, the other First Avenue promoters, my friends who brainstormed on the line-up, my street team and all the performers and technicians involved.

See you at BG2!

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