Fresh off of his opening set on the Hounds of Hell Tour which stopped by the District of Columbia this past Saturday, Aussie-born Stuart Tyson, aka Bass Kleph, gave us a history lesson on how a drummer fell in love with dance music and decided to drop the bass in our faces. He put us in a time machine; back to his:
I’m from Australia and I got into music really young; at about 8 years old I started playing drums and loved it. It actually got to the point where I played in a few bands…by the time I was about 16 I got into a band that was going really well for me; we actually got picked up by a major label. I was a rock drummer and that was my full time job and interesting to do while I was trying to finish my high school diploma and everything. But, half way through that I discovered dance music and I heard some stuff and was like “wow”; there was something about it. We had just recorded our album as the band and when you go in there the first time, you record just the drums first. Then afterwards it’s the bass and then a few days later, everything else. So the first couple of days are all about me, it’s awesome, you know the drums sound amazing and everyone’s attention is on you, making sure your instrument sounds the best. So I got really psyched for the record. Each day they put more and more on there and the drums get quieter and quieter and pushed further into the background; so I was like “aww man”. And I hear dance music where the drums are really loud and right at the front, so straight away I’m like “this is my shit, I love this. I want to know more about it and I want to learn how to write it and I want to share it with my friends”. So I started trying to learn how to write it. There was no YouTube back then; you couldn’t look up a tutorial; this was around ’99. I’d DJ at friends’ house parties, just to go “Oh my God you’ve got to hear this music, it’s amazing”. The band broke up about a year or two later and I was like “do I find another band or maybe I should keep following this dance music stuff. And I kind of decided to do it and I love it. I sold my drums, singles, cases; all my equipment, bought my studio equipment and wrapped up some demos and just went hard. Getting my music out there and DJing everywhere and now this shit’s taken me all over the world. Now I get to live in Hollywood and DJ in random places like Russia and Kazakhstan; all over Asia and yeah. It’s awesome!
While you were transitioning into the dance music scene did you have any specific artists who sort of inspired your sound?
Totally, yeah! The first couple of ones that grabbed me were ones that had interesting drums. Because I was a drummer, I was a bit of a beat snob; I thought house music was boring because I thought it was just boom boom boom but now I love it. At the time I loved drum and bass and breaks. I loved things like Squarepusher, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads, yeah anything with broken beat. I started out playing break beat stuff.
What was the moment or experience that really opened doors for you and put you on the map?
That would be probably be the time when I got two # 1's on Beatport. When that happened, that’s when people started really paying attention. I mean I had a bit of a following before that but when that happened, that’s when I really started touring internationally a lot more. I was almost playing outside of Australia more than I was in Australia, which led to the point where I decided I loved touring in the states so I’m going to move to the states.
In this ever-growing genre of dance music, one of the biggest criticisms of artists is that many of them have a tendency to “push play” and sort of go through the motions of DJ-ing during live sets. You have broken that barrier and really set high standards by jammin’ out with the Native Instruments Maschine sampler during live sets. Although we know you’ve already mastered the technique, did you ever have any mishaps or issues in the past, like pressing the wrong button/key?
Yeah for sure!
How do you work around that during live performances?
Just try and make up for it; same way you would with any instrument when you hit a wrong note. It definitely happens, especially when I’m really getting into it. Sometimes shit just happens and you just go on with it. You can’t let it get to you and just play anyway. I don’t know I mean I don’t think I’ve perfected it; I got a lot more that I want to do with that stuff. It’s still new to me; I really like it though because it joins my drumming past with my dance music side of me and it sort of glues them together, so I really like that. And as you said, there aren’t too many people out there doing it. There’s a couple other guys out there who are incredible like Jeremy Ellis and Araabmuzik; those guys blow my mind, they’re way better at it then I am.
Well we think you’re pretty darn awesome. We looked up a bunch of your videos and literally sat there completely dumb founded and speechless.
Thanks! I’m hoping I can bring it out at the end and give you all a demonstration in my closing set.
Switching gears, you are on tour with Wolfie while getting Trashed with Tommy and Charlie. What would you say was the most ridiculous moment on this tour so far, or in other words, do you have any embarrassingly hilarious experiences to share with us?
Well, Tommy’s not getting trashed at all, he’s actually on detox right now; he’s not livin’ up to the name. So we’ve actually knick-named our tour as “Hounds of Health”. He’s been eating well, hardly ever drinking; actually he’s not drinking at all. There’s no Tommy Trash right now; except on stage, he’ll go hard on stage. But as far as funny or embarrassing moments go, we haven’t really had any. We’re all very good boys.
On a more personal note (don’t be scared), what’s your love life looking like? Is there a special someone out there or can we officially let the ladies know that we have a fine young Aussie lad here ready for the picking?
Right now (laughs)? I’m kind of just touring and doing my music thing and everything else so, I’m not seeing anybody if that’s what you’re asking. So, are we going out later on then? Are you going to take me out somewhere later tonight in DC?
Well, only if Tommy gets trashed; that’s your challenge right there.
Aww, that doesn’t sound good; I don’t know if he’s going to do that (laughs).
Well, we’ll wait and see.
Now that we’ve hopefully made you blush a little bit (maybe on the inside), do you have any last remarks for your fans?
Yeah! Thanks to everyone in DC, that was an incredibly fun show and it’s great to be able to test out my new single "Tommy’s Dream" which is out right now. Fuck that went off tonight and it was so much fun to see them go crazy. I have another one coming out in 2-3 weeks on Ministry called "Gargantuan" with DJ Bam Bam from Chicago, it’s a collab. we did. And yeah, that was an awesome reaction; pretty stoked. Hopefully I’ll get to play on the Maschine at the end.
We’ll be rootin’ for you!