Digging Below the Surface with Virtual Riot
Digging Below the Surface with Virtual Riot

Whether you’ve been following bass music over the years or you’re new to the game, chances are you’ve heard a few Virtual Riot tunes circulating around. From his humble beginnings in his hometown in Germany, he’s taken the scene by storm at a young age and become a staple in the progression of bass music with his impeccable sound design. Now an LA native, Virtual Riot continues to dominate the genre with each release all while travelling around the world to share his craft.

As the hype for Bassrush Massive continues to build, we sat down with Virtual Riot to chat about what he’s been up to lately and what to expect from his set this weekend. There are a few tickets left for Bassrush Massive, so make sure you grab them here!

You’ve been touring extensively with Barely Alive for months now. How’s that been?
We’ve been having a great time! I enjoy playing back to back with Willie a lot since we know each other’s playing style very well by now and which songs we love to play out. Also, touring with him means I get to hear all the new insane music he and Matt have been working on, so that’s cool!

You’ve been part of the game for a long time now. Can you talk about how you initially got involved?
My first release ever was on Phantom Hertz Recordings. I literally just googled “Dubstep Record Labels,” went through a list on Wikipedia, and eventually picked the one that sounded the coolest to me. That must have been in 2010. Since then, it’s been a wild ride from Section Z to Audiophile Liveover to Monstercat to finally ending up at Disciple Recordings and even branching out to OWSLA.

Was there a pivotal moment when you realized you wanted to pursue this as a career?
When I came out to LA for the first time! I was already playing shows in Europe but only once or twice a month. The first time I came to LA and met other producers who were just as nerdy as me, I was absolutely amazed and couldn’t wait to move here. Up until I finally moved out to LA three years ago, I never thought I could actually turn this hobby into something you could call a “career,” so I am incredibly thankful to be able to live off of something that barely ever feels like work.

You quickly gained massive recognition from such a young age. How does it feel to be such an influential name in the game?
I’m still amazed how many people come up to me and thank me for my tutorials and every time I feel guilty for not having made more. I just really enjoy getting excited about music production and sound design, so when I see that spark in other people when they thank me for it, it’s just incredible.

Over the years you’ve really come to define your sound, even through different genres. How do you feel like you’ve been able to come to that place?
To be honest, every time I would try a new sound or genre it would always originate from having heard someone else’s song and thinking “I want to do that, too! But if I did it, I’d do it like this.” Eventually you develop your own taste in how to mix things down, what chords to pick, and what arrangements to prefer, it all adds to your own “sound” no matter the genre.

How did your relationship with Disciple begin?
If I remember correctly, I got in contact with Rossy from Disciple over a remix that Barely Alive did for my song “Sugar Rush” which came out on Audiophile Live. At the time, Rossy had just started managing Barely Alive, so we started talking over the internet about working together more and doing a remix for Astronaut, and that eventually led to me being signed to Disciple Recordings. Seeing where the label is at right now, I know this was definitely the right decision for me.

You recently asked fans what music means to them via Twitter; what does music mean to you?
I like to express myself while leaving a lot of room for interpretation. Sometimes I wish I could draw instead of making music, but then again I feel like an image always expresses a very clear idea with a rather predictable response within the viewer. Most people who see a colorful picture of a cute animal will feel happy when they look at it. A happy melody on the other hand, can trigger positive feelings just as easily as melancholy and sadness. With music there’s a lot more subconscious personal interpretation happening on the listeners side that I have no control over and I find that fascinating.

Looks like your birthday falls on Bassrush Massive. Got anything exciting in store for fans?
That’s right, I will be turning 24! I’m working on edits and new stuff to play out for the first time at Bassrush Massive right now and I can’t wait to show them.