Begun a lengthy career for himself with his “Night Bass” sound by fusing elements of house music with the dirty basslines of UK garage and sprinkles of old-school rave synths and breaks. AC Slater’s career kicked off with a bang in 2008, with his seminal remix of “Turn the Music Up” on Trouble & Bass becoming an instant anthem. Moby listed it as one of the best 10 tracks of the decade, declaring it a “perfect song.” AC has collaborated with influential underground artists such as Nina Sky all the way to chart toppers like Far East Movement, and has done official remixes for the likes of Big Sean, Moby, Robin S. and many more. A quick look at Slater’s Beatport page reveals well over 100 tracks and remixes over the last five years, including his best-selling Jack Got Jacked EP, a blatant declaration of the invasion of house music by all things bass (and the start of a lengthy friendship with Jack Beats). Fast forward to the present, AC has toured the globe several times and his tunes have been played at every major festival and club in the world by DJs including Skrillex, Diplo and so many more. Slater’s tunes and guest mixes can regularly be heard on major radio stations across the world, including the UK’s BBC Radio 1 and Rinse FM and Australia’s Triple J. His own record label Night Bass continues to release some of the most groundbreaking and forward-thinking bass-heavy dance music in the underground.
Your debut album! How long has it been in the making?
I guess the idea started year and a half ago. I had some tunes sitting around half finished. I went through them and it all started to feel right. Everything did; the timing felt right, the vibe felt right. So I started reaching out for features and it just came together. So much more smoothly than I imagined.
I like how the features flex through your whole career
Yeah to have guys like Sinden and Herve on there and to call them as friends is cool – they were a huge inspiration to me back in the day with tracks like Beeper. And yeah, to also have new friends and very talented newer generation artists like Shift K3Y and Chris Lorenzo is really cool. There’s also this balance of friends from the US and the UK, which I really like. Having that balance of my influences too is really important.
So The Outsiders as a concept… That’s you and Night Bass, right?
That’s the main core of it. I’ve always been into music that was on the outside of where I’m at. I was always into UK music and I’m from America so I was on the outside of that. And when I started Night Bass it was the peak of the EDM rush and we weren’t doing anything like anyone else over here. I wanted to make my own lane.
It was such a critical thing to do during the EDM explosion. You provided a vital contrast
For a while there was no place for me to fit in as a DJ. I’d get booked for a festival and there was no stage for me to fit in. I wasn’t dubstep, I wasn’t trap, I wasn’t EDM, the house stage was too deep. There was no place for me so I carved out our own space. And when I started the Night Bass events I realised just how many people were interested in something different. There was an energy about it and more artists and fans were joining us. I still feel we’re on the outside to this day; we’re doing our own thing with our own little movement and I love it. We can do what we want. That’s important to me – to bring in people to influence me and how I DJ past and present. I brought out Taiki, Lorenzo, Shift k3Y, even EZ. Guys who a lot of people over here hadn’t heard of. I wanted to expose these guys to American fans.
What has been your career highlight to date? Anything you’re looking to accomplish when it’s all said and done?
Creating Night Bass and watching it grow continues to be a massive highlight of my career. Obviously, the release of Outsiders because it is my first full-length album. I can’t believe how well received it’s been so far. I’m feeling very blessed. As far as the future, the sky is the limit. I’m just going to keep building as much as I can.
How did the original idea to start your own label come up and did you ever think at the beginning it would be where it is now?
This is my 3rd label. I’ve always wanted to share my musical tastes with whoever will listen, but I’ve never had as strong of a vision as I do with Night Bass. The people around me were making quality music and I was doing the Night Bass events, so it just made sense. I’m happy people have rallied around it, the music speaks for itself.
How is Night Bass different from any other label around right now, and how do you try to keep that image as specific as possible?
Our fans trust Night Bass to put out good music that fits their taste. They also trust it to introduce them to new and exciting artists and sounds. As far as the image and sound of the label, it’s basically all music that I would play in a set, but with it’s own originality and personality. It’s that simple.
Has the label played a role in fostering relationships between yourself and several other artists, such as Jack Beats, Chris Lorenzo, Sinden, Bijou and more?
For a lot of the artists we’ve all known each other and worked together for many years, we’re truly friends. For the newer artists it’s been an introduction into that side of the scene, where relationships and integrity are more important than play counts, likes, retweets and blog coverage. All I want to do is work with cool people and work on great projects.
Tell me a little bit about how your relationship with Destructo started and how you got that rolling?
We had were acquaintances for years, didn’t really cross paths much, but we really clicked when we had a gig in Hawaii together and hung out the whole time. Once we realized we have a very similar musical vision it was just a good mix. He’s been a big supporter of myself and Night Bass over the past couple years and I’m very grateful for that. We’ve put out a couple of his records on Night Bass as well.
So how do you juggle your roles at Night Bass as a label boss, a DJ and an artist. You wear a lot of hats!
I definitely wear a lot of hats! When I started Night Bass I wanted it to be something people really wanted to be proud of, get paid and be treated right. I’ve been on the other side when labels haven’t been able to do that. Not always in a bad way – they just don’t know what they’re doing and can’t pay if they want to. So I used what I’ve learnt through my experiences in the past and I wanted people to feel welcome, a proper crew for people to feel part of. My goal is to make everyone happy. It’s hard work and a constant juggle but it’s working; we’re almost at release 50 now.