Project Mayhem has been making noise in the Bay Area for about three months now. In that short amount of time, they had put on two shows – one featuring New Zealand heavyweight Truth, and another featuring two Nor-Cal big names, Bassex & Getter. Both of these shows had at least 4 other local up & coming DJ’s opening for the big names, and from what I had been hearing were well worth going too. So when I came down to the Bay area for the third Project Mayhem last Friday, I was expecting a good show. What I got was even better.
As soon as I walked into the DNA Lounge, the ambiance put a wicked smile on my face. The DNA Lounge comes off as a kind of post apocalyptic Mad Max nightclub. Past the flickering green lights outside, dark metal fixtures stretch to the ceiling and all the black walls, furniture, and chainlink blend excellently with the retro dark red booths that line the sides of the club. The stage was front and center, with a very impressive lighting system that accompanied the sound of the artists perfectly. There were no dancers this time around, but as the night wore on, some women took it upon themselves to hop on a table.
Rudebrat & Sam F – On My Own (Original Mix) | Direct Download
The first artist to take the stage was Sam F. I had never heard any of his music before, but my colleague had assured me I was in for a good show, and he was definitely right. Sam F’s set was heavy, loud, and very melodic. He touched on some of the old school favorite tunes that started the whole Dubstep craze such as Doctor P’s “Big Boss”, and kept things interesting with a lot of brand new hip hop infused dubstep and super bassy mashups. Sam also played some of his own original music that really got my attention. He likes to use high synths, deep wobbles, & heavy pumping kicks alongside chopped vocals to give his music a bouncy, almost thuggish electro feel, with hip hop inspired drops that take you completely by surprise. The crowd responded very well to these tracks, by making people start dancing before they even got in the club. Sam’s set really got things started off right and I was glad I had come out early to see this rising star. We were lucky enough to catch up with Sam after the show and ask him a few questions. This is what he had to say.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been producing for about 5 years. I played the piano from age 8-12 and played the bass from 11-14. I then started making hip-hop beats when I was 16.
What inspires you, and what got you into the EDM scene?
Around two years ago, I became inspired to make EDM after a friend of mine from high school, Lucky Date, came to Santa Cruz and I watched him perform at the Catalyst. It was inspiring to see him up on such a big stage, especially since we had been classmates and friends in High School, and had started producing around the same time.
It was also around that time that electro was taking on a new direction, becoming much more exciting and complex. I immediately fell in love with the genre and began attempting to to emulate and recreate the sounds of my favorite producers.
Do you have any releases coming out soon?
I will be releasing several new tracks in the next month or so. One of these tracks is a collab with my good friend Rudebrat, who has also served as an inspiration to help me grow as a producer.
What is your program of choice to produce with?
Currently, I use Apple Logic Pro 9.
What is your favorite part about being an artist in the EDM scene?
The thing that I love so much about the EDM scene is how it brings people together in such a positive way. The energy that is generated during a big show is unlike anything else and it’s an amazing feeling.
After Sam finished his set, Harris Pillton took the stage. I had to say that I was not expecting great things from this guy, but Harris proceeded to lay down some super heavy trap & hip-hop that had me bouncing on the dance floor with everyone else. Trap music has been getting mixed reviews recently in the EDM world. Personally, I was starting to get a bit tired of hearing it everywhere, but it was surprisingly refreshing to see it spun so well. Harris Pillton did a really nice job of adding some diversity to the night and getting me back into trap music for at least little while longer.
By the middle of Harris’s set, the club had begun to fill up and the energy was steadily rising. Once he was finished, Atom O.N.E took things to the next level. Atom O.N.E is an incredible DJ, and his skill radiated throughout his set. This Sacramento native started out with some heavy glitch hop that took everyone by surprise in the best kind of way, and then settled into some heavy robotic bass that had the crowd going wild. He even flowed into some unique DnB that really got my attention and all seamlessly transitioned so well into each other. If you like robotic bass music with a twist, Atom O.N.E will not disappoint you.
After the cheers died down it was time for the headliner, LA heavyweight, Flinch. For those of you who don’t know, Flinch has been on the Dubstep scene for about two or three years now. Working alongside 12th Planet, Kelly Dean, Noah D, and SPL of the SMOG record label, this LA native has been crushing shows & music charts alike with a uniquely sculpted sound that leaves crowds staggering in his wake. So needless to say, I was excited to see what he had in store for us.
Flinch hit the ground running, starting off his set with one hell of a banger that let everyone know who was on the decks. His bright synths and disgustingly dirty basslines got the crowd flipping out pretty early on. Keep in mind, this set wasn’t all about the absurd drops that crashed into the club that night. Flinch had some beautiful lulls in which the audience was left happily floating among haunting vocals and slow pulsing basslines before plunging back into the party they had been so masterfully suspended from.
Every genre of EDM made an appearance in Flinch’s set as well. From moombhaton, to DnB, electro and dubstep, Flinch knew exactly what he was doing and it showed. His transitions were so pure by having the crowd jumping to some moombhaton one second and then completely stunning them by a wall of unbelievable bass the next. Among his set, Flinch wasn’t only staying behind the decks like most DJs. He was completely engaged with all of the people who had come out to see him, stepping out from behind the mixer many times to slap hands and pass out free stickers and CD’s to his excited fans. This was truly a set of epic proportions. People were losing it all around me and I soon found myself joining in, dancing until I couldn’t feel my legs.
After Flinch finished to an overwhelming applause, he was kind enough to hang outside for photos & autographs with everyone. It was very nice to see an artist this big still be so in touch with his fan base If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Flinch yet, put it on the top of your to do list. We were lucky enough to grab an interview with Flinch after the show as well, check it out below.
What have you been working on lately?
I’m working on a new EP/LP that’s multi-genre and features some really great collaborations.
Did you play any exclusives Friday night?
Yes I played ALOT of exclusives Friday. Including my new VIP mix of “World On Fire”, my new song called “All Night”, a few new remixes I just finished including a remix for Junkie XL and a remix for Ellie Goulding. As well as new some Flux Pavilion , Doctor P, Dillon Francis, and some new Antiserum. Basically half of my set was unreleased material.
Do you have any upcoming tours or collaborations coming up?
Yes, I’ll be going on tour in November with my friends AC Slater and Harvard Bass. And I have a really cool collaboration with Ellie Goudling that should be out in the near future.
Is there any artist in particular you would like to collab with?
There are so many artists I’d like to work with. To name one, I would chose Zedd.
What is the craziest thing you have ever seen at one of your shows?
At a show in Maryland a girl got really excited and jumped on top of our tour bus. And then proceeded to jump into the freezing cold ocean!
Who are your favorite up and coming producers at the moment?
Brillz, Infuze, & Kelly Dean.
Any words of advice for aspiring producers?
Try something new and weird!
What is you favorite part of being an artist in the EDM scene?
My favorite part about being an EDM artist is my fans! I love meeting new people and hearing how my music has coincided with their lives and experiences. And I also love to travel.
Are there any big plans for SMOG in the near future?
We are about to put out a huge compilation of SMOG artists called SMOG CITY! Really excited for this record!
What is your favorite thing to drink while mixing?
Willy Joy – Woman Like Me (Flinch Remix) | Direct Download
When Flinch stepped off the decks, he left the club super charged with an energy that you could almost touch as everyone awaited the next performer, Bassex. Bassex has only been in the game for a short amount of time and he has already become one of my favorites. His sound is a mx between monstrously large, abrasive dubstep and hard hitting electro house, which has quickly become one of my favorite things to party to in the past few months. Already signed to Play Me Records, Bassex has been hard at work putting forth a whole slew of face melting solo tracks, alongside some equally deadly collabs that have to be heard to truly believe. When he took the stage, the already ecstatic crowd erupted with the screaming applause that only a local superstar can garner from an audience.
It was plain to see that Bassex had fans in this crowd, and they went absolutely bonkers for his sound. This was definitely the most relentless set of the night. Even though his set definitely had some electro influences, dubstep was the name of the game for this set. Every track was packed with ferocious, screaming bass, heavy kicks, and arpeggiated synths that made my head spin. The club was getting crazier by the second, as I found myself dripping with sweat again. Some fans were so overwhelmed that they couldn’t dance anymore. They just stood there at the drop, arms open, letting the bass fully absorb them. This was pure bass madness at its finest and I loved it. Bassex was the only one I can imagine that could have followed Flinch that night, and he did it perfectly. The new tracks he debuted were incredible and I have no doubt that it was just the tip of the iceberg. Bassex rocked the DNA Lounge to pieces and left us all wanting more. Keep a lookout for Bassex in your area because this is not a performance you want to miss if you love hardcore dubstep.
Once Bassex was done and his applause died down, Liam Shy took the stage. I have never been a fan of trance, but this was a perfect way to end the night. The pulsing rhythms really helped bring everyone back down to earth and wrap things up with a flourish.
All in all, Project Mayhem was a blast. As always, Vital put on not just a great a show, but a great experience. The lighting and sound was on point, the venue staff was friendly and helpful, and the artists were incredible. On the last Friday of every month, if you happen to be in the Bay, definitely make it a point to get down to the DNA Lounge for a whole lot of fun and a hell of a lot of Mayhem.
Photos and Write-up by: Theo Newhall