Turning Japanese with MUST DIE!
Turning Japanese with MUST DIE!

While MUST DIE!’s fearless approach to contorting bassbins has landed him on prominent imprints like OWSLA and Mad Decent, the bass music rebel levels up with his latest release, Neo Tokyo, on Never Say Die.

Where the EP initiates an array of themes built on J-Pop foundations, wonky melodies and high frequency screech-bass, it seems only fitting that we finally caught up with the producer in Japan. Specifically sounding off from the island metropolis of Tokyo, Lee Austin Bates known to his army of affectionate fans as MUST DIE! found a few moments to tell Bassrush all about his colorful new Neo Tokyo EP and remix work on Slow Roast Records.

The best weapons are secret weapons...or just Valentino Khan tunes.

You’ve been on the road for quite some time now; what’s the strangest and most interesting venue you’ve played this summer?
Paradiso Festival at The Gorge Amphitheater was pretty insane! I played with Eptic back to back during sunset. It was gorgeous.

Sounds like an epic night! Are you typically the type of guy to join the afterparty or go back to your hotel to catch a few Zs?
I’m a big sleeper.

Tell us about your new EP and the meaning behind the name.
Neo Tokyo is an ode to the music that inspired MUST DIE! as a project in the first place. J-POP is a huge influence.

Do you have a favorite off the EP?
“Ebi (Shrimp)” is definitely my favorite.

On your Twitter you’ve mentioned that you’re brushing up on your songwriting and engineering. What was your latest discovery?
I’ve learned a lot about stereo width and how/when to use it to your advantage in a mix. I’ve also been learning more complex and emotive chord voices.

Tell us about your “Far Away” remix for Feed Me & Kill The Noise. What was your approach leading into the remix?
That remix was anything goes, so I tried a few variations and ended up with the released version. There are live guitars in there somewhere.

How did KTN and Feed Me react when you sent them your version? It’s a pretty sick remix of the original.
It’s always nerve-racking sending back a remix for feedback, but being asked was enough for me and the online reaction has been great.

Speaking of heaters, what’s the deadliest weapon on your USB stick at the moment?
The best weapons are secret weapons…or just Valentino Khan tunes.

When was the last time you had a fan boy moment?
A week ago I met Perfume, my favorite Japanese musical artists. I couldn’t even speak, regardless of the language barrier.

What’s been the highlight of your summer so far?
Being here in Tokyo has been the best experience I could have hoped for. Food, fun and friends; nothing is better.