With NorCal and the Bay continuing to earn a reputation as a hotspot for bass music evolution, the San Francisco-based duo known as SMKSGNLS prepare to flex with their own psychedelic signature sound on the next release on the Bassrush Records imprint.
The tune itself is a thick, 808-heavy, glitch-tinged skull-twister. Taking their penchant for street level vibes and merging them with their love of the psychedelic side of the bass universe, “MOB” is a proper ride into that gap between synapses where darkness dwells. Creeping in right from the get-go, SMKSGNLS sound the alarm before reality itself spirals into a dizzying dreamscape where dark and foreboding clouds come rolling in. Even before they arrive you can feel a rumble in your bones as the percussive elements come roaring alive and completely smash their way through a twisting midrange and dirty tech-stab-hook that’ll make you want to jump out your skin and crack some bones.
Once again Bassrush Records is hitting you with the goods for free so pop your own copy below followed by an exclusive Q&A with SMKSGNLS on everything from dropping moombahton at Burning Man on through to a recommended list of other artists you should check if you’re digging that SMKSGNLS sound.
For those who don’t know, who is SMKSGNLS and where are you all coming from?
Carrier: We’ve known each other for something like eight years. Back in the early days of dubstep, I used to be a resident DJ at a bunch of clubs in SF, and Jeremiah would be live painting most nights. A few years ago, we started working on a new project together, and have been collaborating ever since.
Jeremiah Allen Welch: The idea to collaborate came to me at my first Burning Man. Carrier was playing moombahton at Camp ? when everyone else was playing dubstep. I thought it would be dope if we started an audio-visual project and we started meeting up shortly after that.
Your tunes definitely have a West Coast and even thugged-out feel at times. Talk to us about your influences both in and outside of the bass scene, and how you see those working their way through in your current output.
Carrier: I’ve always been influenced by a wide variety of music. We’re both majorly influenced by West Coast hip-hop, growing up in the Bay area. I listen to a lot of metal, hardcore and punk in my free time. I used to play in bands when I was a kid. The goal, for me, has always been to blend a little of everything I find inspiring into one song and if people like it, that’s cool.
Jeremiah Allen Welch: I grew up listening to West Coast hip-hop and started rapping when I was 11. I played a bunch of different instruments in school but once I got into high school and got Reason I dove into producing beats and never looked back.
How much of that is related to not only being from the West Coast but from SF, specifically? There’s lots of energy coming out of NorCal these days; are there other Bay Area heads we should be keeping our eyes out for?
Carrier: It’s kind of insane how much musical talent comes out of the Bay Area. We’ve had the privilege of watching so many of our friends be successful writing unique, weird, genre-bending electronic music over the past decade. G Jones, Bleep Bloop, NastyNasty, Proko and Sayer, to name a few. If you haven’t heard of any those guys, you need to drop what you’re doing and look them up.
Jeremiah Allen Welch: Yes to all that and I would definitely keep on eye on Shlump as well.
Last but not least, tell us about linking up with Bassrush Records and this release in particular.
Carrier: We technically started working on this tune a year-and-a-half ago, and it’s just sort of slowly evolved into its final form. We went back and forth for months about whether we wanted to use an 808 for the sub or if we wanted to leave in the sub from the lead. Choosing to do both I think ended up being the right choice. This is definitely one of the heavier, more distorted tunes we’ve produced together. Bassrush brought us down to Los Angeles last June to play the Regent with Joker, Eprom and Tsuruda. We had a blast and we’re stoked to be releasing music through the label now. Their release catalog so far has been 100% on point.
Jeremiah Allen Welch: I remember the tune coming together quickly and it instantly felt like something you would want to headbang to. After that I thought it would be cool to have the second half drop into some sexy 808 heavy bass which pleasantly surprises almost everyone who listens to it. I think it really embodies what SMKSGNLS is all about; we’ve always been super diverse and experimental and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. We have some really cutting edge ideas in the works and can’t wait to share them with you.