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Datsik + Bais Haus = Ephwurd (Q&A)

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Ephwurd, the bass house duo of Datsik (Troy Beetles) and Bais Haus (Basie Hauser), is headed down to San Diego at Bassmnt this Saturday. We caught up with the producers to chat about making a different style of music and what they’re up to these days.

Stoked to have you guys back in SD, I know you guys have definitely been here before. How do you guys like it? Are you both living up in LA now?

Beetles: Yea, I’ve got some family down in SD and been there tons of times, Bassmnt is epic, stoked to come back now with Basie to throw down some of our new stuff. We live pretty close to each other in LA actually, like 5 minutes away, Basie’s at my house all the time. I’m from British Colombia and moved down here to get a house and build my dream studio…it’s pretty sick! It’s also cool touring where there’s blizzards and stuff and it’s like, I come back here and the weather’s the same every day.

Basie – how cool is it to have a name like “Basie Hauser” – I totally didn’t think that was your real name and kept trying to look for your real one. Also, your dad founded and was part of The Manhattan Transfer, what was that like growing up?

Hauser: It’s fate, man, haha that’s definitely the biggest sign of fate. I gotta thank my mom for that. With my dad, I definitely felt like I’ve been touring my whole life, I remember going to Europe and other places as a kid, and by the time I was 13 I had been around the world, pretty sweet! Also I remember going to lots of studios and meeting these legendary jazz musicians, but at the time I didn’t know who they were and today I’m like “holy shit, I met that person!”

What kinds of music are you guys into right now?

Beetles: I’m a huge hip hop guy, throwback kinda stuff that we just blast on every single on every bus tour. All those throwback hits and stuff like Billy Joel, haha, stuff that gets everyone laughing on the tour bus.

Hauser: Me, I’m into a lot of chill stuff at the moment, the future bass stuff. Stuff like Flume and all those guys on Future Classic.

What’s it like producing bass house and how is it different from what you guys made before? Any different directions in the future you think you’ll be heading?

Beetles: The thing about bass house, and house music in general is that it’s way more groove oriented. Whereas in dubstep you can take it a million different ways, with house it’s all about the feel and if you wanna bob your head to it or not. In every single project we make now, that’s definitely the number one concern – does it groove right, is it funky enough. That makes it fun, to make stuff that makes people nod their heads. Obviously there’s lots of crossover of sounds from my Datsik stuff but it’s really fun having a new alias to experiment with.

Hauser: Right now, this shit’s kinda blowing up but who knows maybe in a year we might be doing different stuff with Ephwurd. It’s more about keeping it versatile and keeping it forever changing with the times, but also doing our own thing. When we play live we really just want to play what’s hype in general, what gets everyone going crazy. Who knows where that could end up.

Beetles: Also, it’s fun because with my stuff as Datsik versus this new stuff, I really don’t play any of the same songs in my sets. Definitely for the kids that come out to the Ephwurd shows because they liked my old stuff as Datsik, I’ll drop a couple to please ‘em but it’s really different stuff. Now it’s all in the 128-135 range of these bangers and breaks. We were just in Australia actually and played 14 shows in 12 days both as Datsik and Ephwurd at these festivals, clubs and after parties and it was super fun to get the best of both worlds and sometimes play 2 completely different styles in one night. I think a lot of the reason we started the new alias was to shake off the past and not weird out those kids who are real into the dubstep and come out to see me and then be like “what’s all this funky house stuff?”

How’s DJing and producing music together?

Beetles: It’s just fun – Basie and I have been traveling together for a couple years now, but now it’s like, Basie gets to DJ too now and play his shit. Performing as Datsik I play on my Ableton setup where I have 2 controllers and a mixer and everything’s custom mapped with my effects. I’ve been using that for a while and I can get pretty crazy with it. With Ephwurd we got 3 or 4 CDJs going and it keeps me sharp because I’m bouncing back and forth between these different setups. At these parties it’s kinda like, we’re trying to one up each other, you know, who can play the sickest track, and it definitely keeps you on your toes because you’re like “shoot! I gotta loop this and mix this in real quick!”

Hauser: We use Ableton right now for producing, and there’s this online music sharing platform called Splice, so when we’re not together we can just upload our ideas and get together later and flesh it out. I think it’s the ultimate game changer because we’re constantly spinning out ideas, there’s all these tracks and things we’re working on, and we can just open the latest version and work on it wherever we want.

You guys got any tips for a new producer? Stuff you wished you knew when you started making music?

Ephwurd: Mixdowns, mixdowns, mixdowns. I’d rather have a track that’s simple with a really good mixdown that’s gonna hit hard in the clubs versus something overproduced. Making sure your tracks hit really hard and everything sounds proper while the groove is right. Kids send these demos to Firepower and there’s a lot of stuff where I’m like “ehh” but if I hear something simple and the mixdown’s right, I’ll be 10 times as likely to wanna sign that. Mixing is definitely key, stuff gets complicated so quickly so keeping it simple and sounding amazing is really important these days.

Catch Ephwurd this Saturday, March 5 at Bassmnt down in the Gaslamp. Tickets sold here!

Photo/ @ephwurd / Interview / Nathan Mih

03/02/2016