Basement Jaxx and Dash Berlin
Basement Jaxx and Dash Berlin
By: Eric Cabahug
What does a pioneering electronic dance music act from the ‘90s do twenty years into its career? If you’re Basement Jaxx, you make an orchestral album and do concerts with a 120-piece orchestra and a full choir. You also do an experimental show to raise awareness for blindness with only a capella singing where the audience is blindfolded and a bunch of people walk around introducing themselves.
“It’s the stuff that’s keeping me alive these days,” Basement Jaxx frontman Felix Buxton told the Southeast Asian media journalits covering the recent It’s The Ship music festival aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas luxury liner.
That’s not to say that the British duo has turned it back on the dance floor. Far from it. Basement Jaxx continues to make records and to perform as DJs in gigs around the world. “Well, this keeps me alive as well because I get paid for this,” Buxton added quickly with a smile.
As paying gigs go, It’s The Ship was his first musical festival aboard a luxury liner and gave him that rare opportunity to have a vacation while at work, or work while on vacation.
“I can see this is something that will happen a lot more in the future,” he said about the innovative event. “It’s a good experience. I’m having a good time. The activities are fun. I’ve gone rock climbing, I did the Flo Rider, I’m gonna do the mini-golf in a bit. I just wish we could swim in the sea and go diving. That would be perfect.”
The 5-day festival was touted as the largest of its kind on a cruise ship in Asia. Aside from Basement Jaxx, it featured a host of international acts in electronic dance music including rapper-turned-DJ Lil Jon, porn star-turned-knobtwirler Sasha Grey, and rising British electronica band Chvrches. It was sponsored by William Grant & Sons (WGS), the leading spirits brand behind some of the finest scotch whiskies in the world including Grant’s 12 Year Old, Grant’s 8 Year Old, and Monkey Shoulder, as part of its #IOU campaign that’s built around celebrating good times, as well as bad times, with friends.
Basement Jaxx released their latest album, Junto, just last August. Musically it’s a return to the duo’s ‘90s roots but thematically it’s rooted in their current socially conscious mindset.
“Junto means together, which is what we want to do with this album,” Buxton noted. “Basement Jaxx has always been about bringing people together and trying to get a truth, trying to make people dance, trying to make you physically feel alive and be life affirming.”
The album opens with “Power To The People,” a song that encapsulates Basement Jaxx’s mindset and main message these days.
“Its basically saying all of us have a voice and each of our voices is important,” Buxton explained. “It’s about breaking down boundaries between language and genres. People use the boundaries as a form of snobbery. I think this whole kind of tribal idea is old. We’ve gotta change our mindsets.”
For his part, Dutch DJ Jeffrey Sutorious’ current mindset in making music is to try to translate what he experiences when he plays as a DJ.
“I make music for both the people and for myself,” he said in a separate media interview. “I see myself as the biggest party animal but just on a different side of the dance floor.”
This is probably why his set on It’s The Ship was such a hit. He knows exactly what will get the partygoers in a frenzy because he is one himself.
Sutorious is more popularly known as Dash Berlin, the 10th most popular DJ in the world in 2013 according to DJ Mag. Like Basement Jaxx, the artist released a new album this year. Entitled We Are, it’s a quintessential Dash Berlin record.
“But version 2.0,” Sutorious noted. “We didn’t want to create old music. We want to look into the future and be progressive in a way to keep it interesting for ourselves.”
Whether that future includes forays into orchestral music and social awareness shows involving a capella singing remains to be seen about 14 years from now.
To read more about “It’s The Ship” check out Vernon Go’s story
in the February Issue of PULP Magazine!