Ok, you must think i’ve got some kind of obsession about Generation Bass :D
But, it’s just that it’s difficult to find people who inspire you, so when you have the chance to meet some, you are, first, happy. And then u want to share the reason why with others. That’s the theme of this new serie i’m about to launch :)
UMB, and all the Generation Bass family, are one of these persons to me.
I’ve first heard from Generation Bass through my friend SdC from Le-Gouter. He adviced me to get in touch with Vince from Sonido del Principe about « The Test », the first single taken from RAW. And it was definitly a good idea cos through Vince, i found a whole crew of supporters on Generation Bass :)
BUT i have to say i don’t admire them cos they support my music of course! I’m a huge fan of Generation Bass cos they embrace the blog world in the way i like it to be. And that’s what i wanted to chat with UMB about….
Hello Umb! Can u please tell us who you are, where you live and how long you’ve been in music. Can u also tell us few words about your partners on GenerationBass ?
I’m DJ UMB, bullshitter extraordinaire. I’m based in Birmingham, UK. People (usually my dear mum) say I am one of the greatest living dj’s in the world today (lol) but somebody else told me not to believe in this ugly rumour started by somebody who I paid $10,000 to.
I’ve been into music since I was 6/7 years of age and so I guess you could call me a musicophile, I remember buying my first records back then. I’m one of the guys who runs Generation Bass, Vincent Koreman, who is based in Tilburg, Netherlands, is the other.
What’s your musical background ? do you play music yourself ?
I play a few chords on guitar and was in a crap rock band in my teens! I can also play the triangle, tambourine and the spoons too and if I’m feelin’ really frisky, I’ve been known to get the washboard out too (yeah a f***in’ washboard in this day & age lol)
I never had the patience to make music on a serious basis and opted instead to listen and give people ideas too. I love mixing music though as a dj but don’t fancy being a producer. I’m more of an ideas man. I don’t wanna be famous (just respected) and am reluctant to sell myself like a whore..lol.. I just want people to listen!
Is there one artist/label you want to mention who has inspired you (on the musical side)?
Without doubt, too many to mention but my earliest influences would have to be Elvis, Beatles and of course the greatest band ever, Led Zeppelin. Makes me sound old but it was not my generation I was just a young boy into older sounds. I was listening to Jazz in my early teens too and classical music. I then got into lots and lots of different stuff, Tom Waits, Radiohead, John Coltrane etc etc.. and also into Global music like Ofra Haza, Fairuz and Oum Kalthoum in my late teens. I think I had listened to most things by the age of 15!
I have to say I love your blog. I love it not only cos you support my stuff (lol), but also cos you can feel it’s not just a « marketing » tool. You can feel persons behind the screen, who are really passionated by music or artists from other countries. How has this blog started and what was its goal at the first point ? how do you now share the job with the other reviewers ?
Thanks, I love our blog too..lol..
It is all about passion and about people pushing music they love and also occasionally plugging some of their own releases too. However, the latter is secondary as our love and appreciation for all music is the paramount aim.
I’m happy that the passion and love seems to be shining through. We are honest and straightforward and we seem to be getting a lot of appreciation for it. People describe us as being the blog who is upfront and less inclined to bullshit or play the media game. However, with the start of the Generation Bass label, I’m very reluctantly having to play the media game now with a lot of people. As I said above, I’m one of the guys who runs Generation Bass, Vincent Koreman is the other. He founded the blog back in Feb 2009. I did not even know what blogs were until around the start of 2009. I stumbled across Gen Bass in Feb 2009 and joined a few months after he had started it. I’ve been pretty much in the driving seat of it for the past 1+ years whilst he takes care of all the Live Events.
It started as a means to share great music in the Global Bass scene which had just started to emerge to greater prominence during that period. Vince is also a Cumbia artist, Sonido Del Principe, and also one of the founders of a great festival in Holland called Incubate. So it was also his way of promoting his own Cumbia productions and the Incubate Festival. Of course, he also blogged all the stuff he was digging, which just happened to be the sort of stuff I was digging too. I had been doing lots of music related stuff, being involved with some established worldwide music brand names and also doing compilations for a few labels based in the UK. I was feeling really restricted and suffocated by the inflexibility of the sort of stuff I could stick on compilations and also sick to death of this scene being called world music.
I needed an outlet for the more club based stuff I was into and so the newly discovered blog culture seemed to be a great outlet for me to share my musical tastes and mixes.
At first it was a lil’ embarrassing because in all honesty, I was completely unsure about myself, thinking people might think I’m a right tosser..lol (I probably am but I don’t care about that anymore). So I put on this Ghetto Boy persona, which was hilarious (to me) for a while. Then I get bored of that and just became myself and it just seems some people really respect my musical tastes/opinion. It really surprised me how much it has caught on.
Some others hate me and do think I’m a tosser, including a journalist or 2 in this particular scene. I’m gonna out them one day soon. It all boils down to jealousy, my good looks and my big muscles and the fact that I have a bigger personal (u thought I was going to say something else then,. didn’t you) following than them…lol…ahahahahaaa!. Well, what else could it be?
I think we now have over 10 contributors, I’ve lost count! However, Vince and I have been the nucleus from the start and got the blog to the sort of attention levels we’re now used to. I’m still involved in doing a majority of the posts, mostly 1 per day and sometimes more. I have to give a special mention to Caballo too because I brought him on board in late 2009 and he’s been one of the most reliable, consistent and dependable members of the team/family. He is of Colombian origins but is living in Canada. He has helped us to communicate with a lot of the young South American kids who maybe can’t speak English.
Other contributors include high profile artists in the scene such as Munchi, Process Rebel, FLeCK & Fish Finger, Zuzuka & Galliano and others are passionate music lovers/dj’s like me. They are more casual contributors, usually posting perhaps once per week or less. The team is growing all of the time and I like that. It’s like a big family and I like big families.
I think blogs were hugely important in making this Global Bass thing popular. But i can see in my everyday life this is really a niche, my friends know some tunes, but not it as a genre. What would make this music more popular you think?
I don’t know, in all honesty.
As a blog that’s what we have tried to do, to make the music more popular and make it be appreciated on the same level as say house/techno etc. With the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings doing the same and being some of the originators in the scene, it helps. But you’re right, it would be foolish to say it is big or even hugely successful scene. Depends on how you define success. I define success as inspiring people to get into something and so I think we’re very successful.
However, the commercial reality is different. It can be a struggle to get people through the doors in the UK on Tropical Bass nights to listen to the kind of “club” stuff you’re into. I know Man Recordings have had the same problem in Germany and maybe Mad Decent too in the USA, when Diplo is not playing. However I think that will change, it is just a matter of time. There’s just too many young producers gravitating towards it now and abandoning House/Techno etc in favour of say Moombahton and Dubstep and so I think it’s gonna happen, just more time needed.
Your blog is the global bass specialist (it covers other genres, but i think this term is good, do you agree ?), in terms of visits on your site, or sales/gigs for u & your artists, is it global too? Where do most of your followers come from ?
Our blog specialises in Transnational Club music. Most of our followers come from Timbuktu, we’re huge over there with our throat singing ladyboy performances..lol…. No, seriously, you know this is surprising. I never checked our stats for where visitors were coming from until you asked me. As long as they were coming I couldn’t careless where it was from and so never bothered to find out where they came from.
I was a lil’ surprised cause I though it would be made up of a lot of South American territories cause of the strong bias we have towards Latin American music atm but it wasn’t, here’s the top 10:
- USA (A large majority)
With further visitors coming from over 210 different countries!!!!!
This is the lowest number of visitors per territory: BOTTOM 201-210
- SIERRA LEONE – 2
- VANATUA? (Never heard of it..lol) - 2
- TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS – 1
- CHRISTMAS ISLAND -1
- TIMOR LES – 1
- NAURU – 1
- SAINT PIERRE & MIQUELON – 1
- MAYOTTE – 1
- KIRIBATTI – 1
- ERITREA – 1
Surprising ain’t it, I always knew we’d eventually conquer the States..lol….
How did the idea of running a label came ? is there any labels you got inspired by, on the technical side ?
It came naturally from the success of the blog and after continually discovering all these young/unknown producers. We were not inspired by any labels to start it. Of course I respect labels like Mad Decent, Man Recordings Hyperdub and Planet Mu but we did not set out to try to emulate them. They inspired us to get into some music genres/sub-genres but not to set up a label. The label just had to happen, too many talented people out there who might not otherwise get a release!
My job is to forge a unique identity for Generation Bass and whilst our paths might at times collide with some of the exceptional labels above, we want to create our own unique personality and be respected for that.
Generation Bass has in the past year or so started to inspire the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings who have started to emulate some of things we’re doing or sign some of the artists we’re breaking. Now, that’s quite an unexpected turn around and so we must be doing something right.
Of course we still have a long way to go before we can stand side by side with the likes of Mad Decent and Man Recordings. I really respect the fact that they have kept on going and kept their passion alive.
It is Transnational. It will be about artists who we believe in regardless of fashion or what’s hot atm.
Of course, we wanna release stuff that’s HOTT atm too and so it’s a combination of stuff that will hopefully live far into the future and also stuff that depicts current innovations in the Transnational Club scene.
On a less sexy side of it, how are you running it ? how do you articulate the promotion around your label ? of course your followers, but do you work with PR, radios ? have u done like a business plan or at least think about how to make it grow ?
Promotion as a new digital label is very, very tough. It is not easy. In the current climate as there’s been a proliferation of blogs that have now emerged as digital labels and it’s very, very, very competitive.
To be honest, I really think the market is reaching saturation point! There’s just too many!
It is very hard to penetrate some of the established media institutions like radio and established physical and on-line magazines and blogs who are run by established journalists. I think journalists look down at us because we’re accused of writing like shit, not doing any research and not following any of the established journalistic rules.
What they don’t understand though is that we are not journalists and we don’t want to be either. I am just a taste-maker/music lover. I don’t want to write about music in technical terms, I just want to share stuff I’m feeling. I don’t want to write deep about it, I see that as their job. I see my role as being the first in the chain, to find it and present it. It’s then their job to pick up on it and to present it to the wider world in more articulate and descriptive terms.
We can’t afford PR etc. It’s not a business for us but a passion/love. If you start a label for the purposes of making money then I think you ought to reconsider because you won’t make money, unless you’re lucky to break it big time. Labels are just glorified promotional tools now for artists and nothing more.
It’s not about being big or making it grow, that will happen by itself if people dig it, just like the blog. You can’t force things or expect HYPE to win you an audience. It has to happen genuinely and truthfully imho. That way you get a truer audience too who is there because they believe in what you are doing. So it’s an honest exchange and I like that!
Hype is just that, here one day, gone the next! We ain’t no hype and the audience’s appetite for what we do will determine our success or failure as a label, simple as that my friend!
I think that is why it is even more important to play Transnational Club music or Global Roots music. I really dislike that term “World Music”, it’s a demeaning and nonsensical term. The far right are obviously a demented bunch of people but they are also now made up of usually decent, respectable, middle class and intelligent people. That makes it even more frightening as they are no longer so easy to detect.
Obviously, they’re still all pea-brained because they have brought into this idea that Islam is a terrorist religion. Just like the commies were a few decades ago and the Irish were the scurge of the earth in Britain. I think M.I.A. might be right, it might be Ginger people next in the firing line!
If you give in to the far right or to a demented ideology then we have lost but I am a firm believer that humanity will prevail but that there will always be casualties along the way as there is ample proof of that with our history. We have always lived in a dangerous, xenophobic, racist, piss-pot of a world, it hasn’t changed! However, that does not mean we ought to lie back and accept it, we should not! We should continue fighting for peace and tolerance and a hope for global brother/sister/hood. The world belongs to all of us, get that right. I mean, I don’t have to tell you that, you should know it. You (meaning everybody) need to look back into your history and look at what your peoples did to other peoples and cultures and question it!
I’m a product of colonization. My family are from Kashmir and they arrived in the UK in the 60’s. That of course has had huge benefits for me and I appreciate it but I do so at the expense of somebody else in the world who could have had my life but didn’t! Let’s not forget, in most parts of the world we have all benefited somehow/way on the back of theft by an Empire(s). I have enjoyed my life on the spoils of State Crime and so have you!
You need to look at how our countries got rich, it was not merely by the process of Industrialization, FFS! When Europe and the States really start needing China., India and Brazil, which will be soon, you watch how all those neo-facist nazi bastards will disappear!
How do you see the future of music ? would u be happy if your kid’d like to make music as a living ? :)
Not for a living cause he’d probably end up broke if today’s climate is anything to go by.
Music will just continue to evolve, it will continue to take from the past whilst living in the present and trying to create the future. Genres will come and go, will die and then be born again, and so it will continue.
Your good resolutions for 2011 :)
Don’t be a Tosser!