It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few short years since the Los Angeles-based producer Connor Schatzel (aka LUMBERJVCK) sent in his winning submission for the EDC Chicago Discovery Project. Since then, the young producer has been taking the world by storm, earning releases on some of the largest imprints in the industry including Rottun, Buygore, Kannibalen, SMOG, and now Bassrush Records.
With the support of his loyal fanbase, dubbed the “JVCKSQUAD,” the ever-impressive producer shows no signs of slowing down as he prepares to not only embark on the epic 10 Years of SMOG Anniversary Tour with 12th Planet, but prepares to launch the first release on the new minted Bassrush Records imprint with his diverse and heavy Dendrology EP.
To celebrate what has no doubt been a massive year for the young producer, we put LUMBERJVCK in the hot seat to gain a little insight on everything from Bassrush Records to life on the road, with a little preview of what’s still to come in 2017.
If you told me five years ago that I’d be a part of something like this, I'd say you were crazy.
How’s tour life treating you?
It’s been awesome! This is actually my first time on a consecutive date tour. I usually just do something like two shows on the weekend, but for this tour [with 12th Planet] it’s been about four consecutive dates at a time. It’s definitely been an adjustment in terms of getting clothes clean so my whole bag doesn’t smell like sweat! It’s been really fun though and we’ve been having a really good time meeting cool people in every city. Every show so far has had super high energy and we’ve only done six stops out of 40 so it’s just the beginning, but I’m loving it!
You just played EDC Orlando with 12th Planet and Datsik—so epic!
Yeah, it was crazy how it all happened! 12th Planet usually plays our collabs towards the end of his set so before he played he gave me the heads up that he wanted me to come up to hype up the crowd a bit and dance. But when I got up there, he asked me if I wanted to mix so I was kind of put on the spot so I popped my USB in and next thing I know Datsik is coming up to play with us, too. He totally surprised us! It was super spontaneous but was so dope!
Any other favorite shows you’ve played so far?
I just played one with Midnight Tyrannosaurus and Boombox Cartel at City Hall in Denver and it was an awesome crowd with really good vibes! I went back to back with Midnight T, which we’d done before for Project Z, so it was nice to relive that moment in Denver. We also just did Minneapolis on Halloween which was nuts; we played the side room of the Skyway Theatre, which is very small, but we packed the room and sold out the show so that was a really good feeling.
Any shows still coming up that you’re looking forward to?
It’s hard to pick out any particular dates as I’m really just looking forward to the rest of the tour as a whole!
I’m definitely looking forward to our L.A. stop on Thanksgiving eve at Sound nightclub and the following Saturday at the Yost. It’s always fun to play shows in L.A., because all the homies show up and there’s always a chance for some surprise back-to-back action. On December 2nd, I’m playing Webster Hall [in New York] with Trollphace so that’ll be fun! I’ve also got some special dates I’ll be playing with 12th Planet that I’m keeping a secret for now, so keep your eyes peeled!
Let’s talk about your Dendrology EP you just wrapped up for Bassrush Records. How did it come about and what’s the inspiration and meaning behind the titles?
Since my artist name is LUMBERJVCK and dendrology is the study of trees, I decided to name every track after a tree and use each tree as inspiration to write the music. The first song on the EP is named after an Indian tree called “Arjuna,” so I used that as inspiration since I was going for a Bollywood style. For the second track, “Monkey Puzzle,” I used a lot of laughter in the song, which made me think of monkeys for some reason, which then led to me adding a little jungle ambience to the track. The third song is titled “Dragon Blood,” which is a really exotic tree, so I went for a medieval vibe that you experience when playing a dragon video game and it just came together. I used the same kind of approach with “Chapel Oak,” which has a choir in it and really feels like you’re in a church when you listen to it. The final track is “Rosewood” and it’s definitely the prettiest song on the EP. When I listen to the melody it reminds me of the smell of roses.
What’s your favorite track off the EP?
Definitely “Rosewood.” It just really spoke to me from the beginning. My dog actually passed away today and I originally wrote this song when we found out that she really wasn’t going to make it. It was the last song I put on the EP and decided to use my sadness as inspiration. It’s actually more of a sad song but really beautiful at the same time and that’s why I called it “Rosewood.”
You seem to really be pushing your own personal boundaries on this EP and evolving as a producer.
I really think this EP is dope because it showcases what else I can do. I feel like I’ve pigeonholed myself into dubstep and I want people to know I can venture off into other genres like drum & bass, trap, riddim, dubstep, house music, etc. Obviously, there isn’t any house music on this EP, but there will be future releases. I just really want to show people and that I can produce anything and that it’s not only bass music. I’m really proud of this EP just because of the variation on it.
How do you feel about the EP being the first release on Bassrush Records?
It’s pretty cool and a little bit surreal, to be honest. If you told me five years ago that I’d be a part of something like this, I’d say you were crazy. Same goes with me going back to back with Datsik and 12th Planet at EDC Orlando. Five years ago I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I’d be playing alongside some of the heaviest hitters in the industry.
I want to spend a lot of time on the [album] project, perfecting everything and just really coming out with something huge that'll really surprise people.
What’s 2017 looking like?
I’m releasing a really big track on January 13 that I’m super excited to share with everyone, followed by an awesome remix pack with some amazing artists on January 27 so definitely be on the lookout for those projects! Other than that I have some really big shows, one of which is a super special one, and I also have a forthcoming EP with Firepower Records that should be out early next year.
When do we get a LUMBERJVCK album?
I really want to sit down and produce a 12-track album. It might not come out soon but I’ll definitely be starting on it next year. I want to spend a lot of time on the project, perfecting everything and just really coming out with something huge that’ll really surprise people. Kind of like what Skrillex did with Recess, but LUMBERJVCK style.
Any special shout-outs before we go?
Shout out 12th Planet, honestly! He’s been bringing me on, talking about me constantly, and just really making my career happen right now in every single way he possibly can. He’s like my best friend so special shot out to him for sure!