As his debut album Copter Boy continues to whirl, chop and shred our speakers, and the dust still settles from his turbo-charged UKF podcast, Kannibalen high flyer Apashe takes the time to celebrate his five favourite bass designers in the game.
With a previous career in sound design before he went pro as a genre-melting alchemist, Apashe (real name John De Buck) is forever in search of freshness in both his own productions and the tunes he plays as a DJ.
“There are a lot of crazy sounds around thanks to Serum and notorious presets,” he grins. “But from a production perspective, once you get how it’s made and everyone starts making it then the value is lost.”
While Apashe is known more for the 120-140 style thumpers he reckons the best genre to find the true pros at making genuinely fresh and exciting bass designs are in drum & bass. But only when it’s balanced with musicality.
“Let’s face it, sound design is nerds masturbating about sounds,” he smirks. “But without the musical level it doesn’t have that emotional attachment that’s crucial for music to stand the test of time and really grab you. Not everyone has that musical skill as well the technical skill.”
But these guys, in Apashe’s eyes, definitely do…
“This guy has such a unique way of creating sounds. With a lot of artists I can hear something and figure out how they got there, but with Joe it blows my mind. I get lost in his sound and I have no idea how he does it. There are many options to twist your sounds but Joe never follows those paths. And just when I think I’ve worked out a theory about his production he blows my theory out of the water. It’s so frustrating and exciting!”
“Everyone knows they’re crazy. The definition in every sound they create and put together is incredible. What I really love about Noisia is how they approach their reese bass. There’s such a cult behind that sound, how to make it and how to apply it, but with Noisia they totally make it theirs and push it in a way that is unlike anyone else. It’s a whole other level, they twist it beyond belief. You can guess how they made it but it’s so clean and so controlled. Everyone tries to emulate them, no one comes close. I’ve been following them for years and still can’t get over how they push their sound. I never will.”
“Phace and Misanthrop are both incredible artists in their own solo rights. And I also have to say that working with Phace on my album was a dream. I believe he’s one of the craziest producers ever – his sound design and the way he captures energy is remarkable. But for this article I want to big up him up together with Misanthrop. They’re so strong as a partnership! And the Neosignal material, when they go outside of the D&B box and slow things down is the most exciting for me. In my opinion the slower you go, the more you can show off your sound design because you’re not battling with fast drums. And Neosignal have a lot to show off; their bass designs are out of this world. They blew my mind with the first releases – it’s like ‘woah where the fuck have you come from?’”
“These guys have made a lot of different genres from neuro to dubstep. But it’s what they’ve done with the glitch stuff that scores them their place on this list. They’ve slowed things right down and have really locked things down; you’ve got the melody, you’ve got the groove but you’ve also got this outrageous sound design in there too. How much more can you do? So funky and weird and complicated and brilliant. I love what they do! I don’t mind waiting for their music because I know how good it’s going to be.”
“This may be a little obvious, but he’s the top for a reason. I wasn’t really that into him for years – the melodies are a little over the top for me – but he has a complex and unique design approach that also includes a lot of melodies. For me he keeps getting better. In that song he made with Zhu – Working For It – you can hear so much cool design. The synth sounds like a horn but the melody is so full of groove. It’s not dubstep, it’s not house, it’s nothing we know but it’s super-danceable and accessible. That’s the holy grail for any producer really; totally fucked up sound design but groovy as hell so people don’t even realise how mad the production is.”