Tuesday, June 01, 2004

symmetry

interview by todd ~ photos by todd & various friends of Symmetry ~ This girl blew me away in Miami and I didn't even hear her play until I got back. She restored my faith in DnB and I've been telling just about everyone I know since then. Not only that, her CD has been in the same slot of the changer in my car since the middle of March. Needless to say, I was so impressed with what this girl had to say musically, that I thought I mights just as well interview her and find out a little bit of who she was and where she got her start.

Initially, Symmetry and I were going to meet at a party that she recently played at, Queens of the Underground in Omaha, NE. A late start from her home town, as well as a late start from Kansas City, mixed in with weird weather and it never really happened. We did catch up to one another by eMail just last week and had a little verbal volley.

So, you're from Minneapolis and you play some really fine DnB. How is the DnB scene in the twin cities?

It's thriving as much as a lot of sub genres are in this city. I wish it were a little bigger, but that's what we're (bassheadz) here for: to keep this music accessible in Minneapolis and to give people their fix of out of town drum & bass producers as well. We and another group, Sound in Motion, bring in a lot of out-of-town headliners. Bassheadz most recently brought John B, Mason from Philly, and J Majik. Sound In Motion and Plush recently brought Fresh (formerly of Bad Company) and the Planet of the Drums tour. The Advanced Dance crew throws parties on occasion, and most of our weeklies are not genre exclusive, so some drum & bass gets played in the bars and small clubs. Altogether, there's no shortage of people involved in throwing drum & bass events, even though there's sometimes a shortage on the audience's side of things. The attendance fluctuates from event to event: sometimes it's packed and rowdy, and sometimes it's so scattered. That goes for a lot Minneapolis events, though.

When did you start playin? Did you start off with DnB?

I started playing in 1998, but it wasn't with drum & bass records. I decided to buy trance then house and then added breaks too, and I also started buying drum & bass at that time. When I finally decided to invest in a drum & bass collection though, I was already tagged with the label of trance/house/breaks DJ in Boston (where I was going to college) and I liked where things were going so I didn't want to change my style. It wasn't until I got back to Minneapolis in 2002 that I started playing the drum & bass records I'd bought, and promoting myself as a drum & bass DJ. It was nice to start over without anyone expecting to hear a certain style during my sets. I still love breaks, but drum & bass is just so entertaining to mix.

Is there a story behind the DJ name (Symmetry)?

I was playing out for a little while without any name at all, so people would throw names like "DJ-licious" on the flyer for me, which was a cue for some friends to play this DJ name game. They'd think up these really inane DJ names (some are a little vulgar so I won't mention them.) At one point someone called me DJ Symmetry for a shirt I was wearing or something like that, and I thought, "Hey, I could live with that." It's not the most profound Dj name story, although since then I've come to like it because it signifies balance and consistency.

What's a couple of your favorite DnB producers?

Pendulum is my new favorite. Ed Rush and Optical are making a comeback for me. Ram Trilogy. ArQer, Mason, Karl K, Kaos and Robby T are all awesome and all from the US too. Evol Intent is just fun and crazy. lot's more..

Anything in particular that inspired you to start DJing?

I always loved electronic music like Deee-lite, Aphex Twin, Massive Attack and old school compilations. When I was old enough to go out to clubs, it was fun to hear that type of sound live, and I wanted to mix for myself. I was inspired by the live element.

Anything in particular that inspired you to start playing DnB?

The Rinse weekly in Boston exposed me to drum & bass superstars. Their sets were really kind of evil and fun to me. It gave me something to aspire to. I also have to thank this crew, Powersurge Productions, because they always encouraged me in playing drum & bass and taught me a lot.

The CD you gave me down in Miami... is that a pretty recent demo?

That CD was made a few weeks before WMC 2004, so yes :)

Do you have anything that you're working on?

There are some preliminary and tentative plans to throw a Hardstepsistaz showcase in the Midwest. I've been working with the Bassheadz part of the Blueshift campout (Aug 6-8.) Planning for upcoming Bassheadz shows keeps me busy. As for production, I'm going to school for sound engineering and just want to get anchored in production in the next year. I've made a few tracks, but they're for personal listening at this point :)

How did you like Miami? Did you happen to make it by Lounge 16 or "The World of Drum & Bass"?

Miami was pretty fun. I got spoiled talking to and listening to every favorite drum & bass DJ of mine. It was almost too overwhelming. For example, the "World of Drum & Bass" had so many headliners, each DJ only had 45 minute slots. Twisted Individual only played for 45 minutes. Bassline Smith too...what? That show also had terrible sound. But I was amazed at the amount of kids who knew all the tracks and the artists. That was cool to see.

When you are looking for new tracks, what grabs your attention first?

Really clear mastering, complicated, layered and clean drum patterns, sub-bass, mood tracks: the ones that aren't dancefloor destroyers but just make you want to freak out for the way they make you feel. "Wasteground" by Kingdom is an example of this for me.

Are there any particular tracks that say... "Buy me.... NOW!"?

These tracks aren't out yet, but Robby T's and Brandon Ivers' "Loon of Doom," and Mason's "My Sound." Released tracks that said that to me not in particular order: Danny C "Never Mine," Konsta "Free Your Body," Pendulum "Voyager," ArQer "Get a Little Closer," Kryptic Minds "Remember," Karl K and Kaos "Vice" and "Studio 54," Shimon "Mysterons," Klute "Gluesniffer." I could do this for a while...

Do you have any upcoming dates?

Bassheadz is organizing a lineup for one of the tents at the Blueshift campout party, August 6-8 in Wisconsin. Other than that, I play out pretty regularly at clubs and sometimes on radio stations in Minneapolis. We've got a rockin' weekly scene here there are a lot of opportunities for local DJs.


For more information about DJ Symmetry and BassHeadz, you can get in touch with her through BassHeadz at www.bassheadz.com.

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