It’s hard to believe that Bassrush Records is still a fresh face in the ever-evolving world of the music industry. Launched a little over two years ago, the imprint has become a hotbed of world-class talent and an ever-present force in the realm of bass music. While the releases have been heavy on the dubstep and trap side, the drum and bass has been few and far between until recently as a string of chart-topping releases from TC and The Prototypes, Shimon and Benny L, and today’s Beatport exclusive from Crissy Criss, Malux, and Erb N Dub have been crushing the charts and continue to sit as the top two sellers on the Bassrush Records Beatport page.
While residents like Nightstalker, SoothSlayer, Fury, and MC Dino continue to push the vibe to the masses on festival and club nights across the globe, Bassrush resident Fallen has channeled his love of the genre into an explosive output of drum and bass that is taking the scene by storm.
As with most creatives, Fallen (aka Derek Finner) is a hard one to pin down as his role in the sprawling world of Insomniac/Bassrush shifts on any given day between his duties as production manager, talent buyer, and “all things DnB at Bassrush Records.”
“People at Insomniac wear many different hats,” Derek tells us. “It’s rare you meet someone there that does just one specific job. It makes it more fun that way and is always something new.”
Bassrush has a long-standing reputation in the electronic music world. We've been working with major drum and bass acts over the course of so many years that it just made too much sense to do DnB on the label.
Alongside Executive Producer Forrest Hunt, a stalwart of the Bassrush brand for over a decade and well-known champion of the drum and bass sound, Derek has been curating the drum and bass side of the Bassrush sound since he began working for the company in 2008.
No stranger to the world of managing a label, Fallen’s own experience running his Icarus Audio imprint that he co-founded in college laid the groundwork for what he predicts is an explosion of drum and bass on the horizon: “Bassrush has a long-standing reputation in the electronic music world, particularly in bass music, and has a very recognizable name. We’ve been working with major drum and bass acts over the course of so many years that it just made too much sense to do DnB on the label.”
Still, Derek is quick to point out that making Bassrush Records a top-tier destination for drum and bass is not as easy as it sounds: “This isn’t something you just do. It takes a lot of planning and preparation to do it correctly on the level that we want to do it. As far as my role in the label goes, Joe (Wiseman, Label Manager) and Greg (Mateo, General Manager) at Insomniac Records are the big bosses. There is also a team of people within the company that handle the promo and such. I handle the DnB aspect as a whole and get their blessing in the end.”
Even so, there’s no denying that the drum and bass-focused releases in 2018 have been massive successes as both TC and The Prototypes’ “Species” and the recently released “Yeti” from Shimon and Benny L have hit the top of the Beatport charts. With the filthy “Shockwave” from Crissy Criss, Malux, and Erb N Dub dropping today, there’s no denying that Derek’s undivided attention to elevating the status of the label on the drum and bass side of things is paying off.
“When you go to an Insomniac event there are so many different genres of music,” Derek responds when asked about his vision for dnb on the imprint. “At something like EDC Las Vegas especially, when you go watch Andy C you see so many people from so many different genres of music including the artists and staff themselves converging on the bassPOD in order to watch that man do what he does best. At the same time, we’re very aware that DnB isn’t received the same way here as it is in the UK and other places internationally.”
Name-checking all the heads behind the scenes who “have been huge advocates of DnB,” including Bassrush Brand Manager Tony Merino, Derek is quick to agree that while we won’t necessarily see underground drum and bass artists competing with well-known dubstep and bass music acts at festivals, the label is a great equalizer in that it’s “another platform to raise awareness that this genre exists and is just overall awesome. The production level that a lot of these guys are operating at is beyond ridiculous. We just hope to bring that to the table and let the fans make that decision for themselves. And the great part about it is…it’s actually working.”
From chart-topping tunes to a renewed sense of inspiration and attention from the overseas market, Derek’s vision is to have Bassrush Records considered one of the top tier imprints in the world. “I look up to labels like Ram, Hospital, Viper, Shogun, and a slew of others big and small. When we started the label, I asked myself why couldn’t Bassrush be in that list of names? As we move into 2019, my goal is to help get Bassrush to that level. People may think I’m dreaming big, yes, but it will get there if the hard work and support that’s been shown continues.”
Speaking of 2019, as we move into the New Year, Derek is tight-lipped about the artists and releases he and the team have locked in. “What I can say is that Bassrush has always been known for continuing relationships with a lot of the artists we book. If you’ve payed attention to the dnb on our lineups over the past few years you’ll see we have quite a few repeat acts. These are some of the people we have forthcoming in the new year along with some extremely new and borderline UNKNOWN acts (think about that one). The idea is to have a consistent release schedule versus having a release randomly here and there so there is going to be a good amount of material to be excited about. Even though you don’t know what it is yet, I’m telling you—if you’re a drum and bass fan, you should be excited.”
Looking ahead to his next major festival, EDC Mexico alongside Nightstalker and MC XYZ, Derek is already preparing to road-test forthcoming tunes. “EDC Mexico is as close as it gets to EDC in Vegas. The vibe is unreal and the fans are wild! It’ll be nice to take a break from reality and go rip it out of the country.”
As for final shout outs? “Shouts to Forrest, Damian, Shim, Benny, Crissy, Malux, Pete Erb N Dub, TC, Nick and Chris from The Prototypes, Rene, Joe and Greg from Insomniac Records for letting me run with this crazy idea, Tony our head honcho at Bassrush, Shai, the entire Insomniac and Bassrush team with honorable mention to the Site Ops team, without you guys the festivals wouldn’t happen, Rob at Respect, Jeremy and Sebastian, Kevin at UTA, Scott at Cybergroove and everyone that continues to push the sound we call drum and bass. 2019 is our year. Lets get at it!”