Making Night Moves

6 August 2014 | 9:14 am | Cyclone Wehner

US DJ/producer AC Slater is spearheading his own night bass genre for the cool kids, he tells Cyclone

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AC Slater, aka Aaron Clevenger, might be an inherently underground bass house DJ/producer, but he rediscovered his groove transplanting from Brooklyn to that EDM epicentre of Los Angeles. “I moved maybe three years ago out here,” Clevenger says, ahead of his return to Australia. “I think it was really starting to take off here, but I just needed a change – you know when you kinda get into a rut or whatever… I wanted a little inspiration, just switching up a little bit.” He resides downtown, “which is real different than you picture LA – like [a] less palm trees kinda vibe” – in a community of creatives and industry types. “I thought I would be here for a year or something – and next thing I know it’s three years later!”

“It’s somewhere between EDM and that purist house scene – we’re right in the middle"

Clevenger (AC Slater’ is the name of the high school jock in the sitcom Saved By The Bell) grew up skateboarding in West Virginia, digging hip hop and rock. The aspiring turntablist caught The Chemical Brothers at a “rave”, and, gripped, entered the world of electronica. Settling in New York, Clevenger, by then into fidget, joined Drop The Lime’s Trouble & Bass crew. Today he has his own label, Party Like Us.

Clevenger recently introduced the underground Night Bass party brand in LA, putting a US twist to UK bass house and garage; Night Bass isn’t contra but post-EDM. “It’s somewhere between EDM and that purist house scene – we’re right in the middle, ‘cause it’s got more of a groove to it, housier, more like UK garage kinda groove, but it’s also got high energy and it’s just hype,” Clevenger enthuses. “I don’t think it’s crazy enough for EDM [crowds] and I think it’s a little too crazy for real house heads. In America there’s not really a scene for that – so that’s what I’m trying to do with Night Bass.”

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Somehow Clevenger, who first blew up with 2008’s Jack Got Jacked, has made time to produce, his Back To The Floor EP launching Skrillex’s Nest. “I’ve been working on a lot of music – I’m just trying to figure out where to put it,” he says. “I’ve got literally 10 or 12 songs that are 90 per cent done.” Some are collabs. Clevenger has also remixed the South Australian Motez’ Own Up for Sweat It Out! (“I love Motez obviously – he’s killing it right now!”)

Clevenger’s aim is an ‘artist’ album. “An album is a really big personal challenge,” he says. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I think I’d psych myself out – it’s kinda daunting. I really wanna do one and I’ve been thinking about it for about a year. Now that I’ve found a solid direction, I’m really wanting to do one... I don’t know when or where, but it’s definitely in my plans, for sure.”

Clevenger will drop unreleased songs when he kicks off his Oz tour at Villa Nightclub: “Perth is an amazing place to play. I always have a great time there. Everyone there has such a great taste for the same kinda music that I’m into, so it’s perfect. I’ve just got tons of new shit to bring – I can’t wait.”