Baax: Against the wall

I recently caught up with Brisbane DJ, Baax for a quick chat to see what he had install for the infamous Smirnoff Ice InTheMix Members Party happening this upcoming Saturday.

Tell the people at ITM a brief history about how Baax became a DJ:

I’ve always loved music, of all types, but didn’t really know anything about dance music. It wasn’t until I met a couple of people who were into House and showed me what it was all about that I started to taking dance music seriously.

My friends had decks at their place so after a night out we would all end up there and they would all be mixing, I would be watching thinking “I’ve got to have a crack at this!” It didn’t take long before they showed me the basics and let me use their records. After many hours of bad beat mixing, my mate kindly pointed out that I would have more fun with my own set up (hint, hint), so I went out and bought a pair of 1200s and a crappy mixer and just got into it.   

If you hadn’t become a DJ, what else do you think you would be doing right now to fill the time?

I didn’t really set out to become ‘a DJ’ as such, it’s just the result of collecting tunes and getting better at mixing that made me want to play out somewhere. I started mixing just for my own enjoyment, but you end up with all these tracks and you think “I’d love to play this music to other people, but to do that I’ll have to get better”, and you do, so before you know it you’re a DJ.

For those who don’t already know, how would you best describe your style as a DJ?

I’m a bit of a genre slut! I like House (minimal to batty), the tougher, ‘Techy’ end of Breaks, and Techno of all styles. I’m no purist that’s for sure. I like hearing DJs who cover some ground, mix up the styles a bit, so I try to as well, depending on the party and the night I am playing at. It also depends on the length of the set you’re playing, if you have some time to really move through some different sounds, then why not?

I think the lines between genres are blurred nicely these days; this makes it easier to play a varied sound.

What things do you feel makes Baax unique from other DJs?

I buy tracks that get me moving and try to mix them in a style that compliments them. I don’t buy tracks that are considered big at the time. I look for stuff that not a lot of people would be buying; this gives the tunes a longer shelf life in my opinion. I have tracks I got years ago that I still play today, because I’ve never heard anyone else play them, and they still sound fresh.

I like experimentation as well, putting a pitched down Tech track over a more Housey number for example.

Is there any strategy behind the way you lay out your sets?

Depends on what time I am playing, the length of my set and the vibe of the crowd. I may have an idea in my head about what I want to do and then my set starts and I clear the floor, so that idea goes completely out the window. 

So what are your thoughts on the state of electronic music industry & events being held in Brisbane at the moment?

Since moving here from Sydney 3 years ago, I think the Brisbane scene has grown enormously. Brisbane and the Gold Coast get a lot more of the internationals that come to Australia these days, and the quality of the underground parties that are put on by the local crews are awesome.

The big events like Summerfieldayz are also getting bigger, but whether that translates into more people attending, willing to try something new and attend the smaller underground nights and parties remains to be seen.

The lack of viable venues in Brisbane to put on these parties is a big problem too. It seems hard to get people to try somewhere new, especially if it isn’t in the (Fortitude) Valley. It is tough finding trying to find a venue that understands the nature of putting on underground parties and is willing to give it a try.

In my time up here it seems like a lot more people are producing/playing live -this is great and can only strengthen the scene as these acts/producers gain more recognition in Australia and overseas. 

When not playing behind the decks, what does a usual Friday or Saturday night for you entail?

Depends what’s on. If there is a party/band I’m keen on playing, I’ll be there. If not a couple at the local after work, a good dinner and a DVD will do me just fine.

Can you name a few artists and records that you have really been digging recently?

John Tejada is killing it at the moment. His track ‘Sucre’ featuring Qzen is great – I just love the vocal. A track he has done with Arian Leviste called ‘Psycho happiness’ is great too, it’s deep, bent and glitchy!

Ritchie Hawtin’s track ‘Twin cities’ is also amazing. Another two tunes by Raudive that are worth mentioning are ‘Turn it off’ and ‘Anyone here?’  I just can’t stop listening to them at the moment. 

Johnny Fiasco is putting out some great acidy gear also. 

So what does the future hold for Baax?

I would like to get a monthly (party) going actually, maybe on the Gold Coast. A mate of mine down there and I are looking for a venue who are up for giving it a crack. So with any luck we’ll be able to get something going later on in the year. Other than that I’ll just keep buying tracks that make me wiggle. 

What should the crowd expect to hear from you next Saturday night?

Well I’m kicking the night off, so expect to hear some ‘glichy, bent’ house/techno. I can’t wait!

What is the biggest number of Smirnoff’s you have ever drunk in one night? 😉

I can’t remember!

Baax will be playing at the Shamrock for the Smirnoff Ice InTheMix Members party. To RSVP for your name on the guest list click here.