Mar 15, 2012
Harvard Bass

Former Harvard student Victor Ramos, aka Harvard Bass, has been schooling us with techy bangers for a few years, & now he’s working with Bart B More & Green Velvet. Learn about his desire to collaborate with pop stars & his love of hip hop in our exclusive interview.

Light Year - 5 Girls (Harvard Bass Remix) [Bang Gang]
LessThan3: Were you spinning back in your Harvard days? How did you get from those sounds to where you are today?
Victor: Back then I was spinning a lot of hip-hop, techno and house. On the house side I played more Axwell and stuff like that. Right now I’m influenced by a lot of minimal artists, including the guys from Minus in particular. I love making big sound in as little parts as possible.
LessThan3: You always rock a pretty solid live set, no matter if you’re opening or playing later in the night. What is the trick to your consistency?
Victor: The trick is feeling it. You’ve got it in your head and you go for it. I honestly maybe prepare the first three tracks and from there I just go at it and see whether what I’m playing fits well with the crowd. There are a lot of people there who aren’t there to see you—they just want to have fun and dance, so you’ve really got to get that into your head.
LessThan3: What’s your opinion of where electro is going nowadays? Any predictions on where it might go from here?
Victor: It’s just been evolving so much. Nowadays everyone can make music so a lot of brand new ideas have been opened up. There are all these kids out there who just want to put their new sound out and a few have really taken me by surprise. It’s only going to get better and better from here. I don’t really like complextro though—it’s just not me. It’s big and it’s cool and I have no problem with that, but it’s not my sound.
LessThan3: What city or venue has the best vibe for you to play at?
Victor: I can name three—San Diego (Voyeur), Japan (Womb), and Denver (Beta). It’s also a blast to play in the UK. You really feel a different vibe in each city. The reason I like playing outside of the U.S. is that I can play more of the stuff that I really like to play. It’s really different over there. In the U.S. people like it a lot harder. If they want it more minimal it’s probably going to be a crowd of ten people. In Europe you’ve got Richie Hawtin selling out massive venues, but if you bring him here it’ll be big, but not as big as people might expect. It’s just a fact—there are a lot of people that are huge out in Europe but in the U.S. they don’t even see the light of day.
LessThan3: Do you think that’s just because electronic music is newer in the U.S. and our tastes aren’t that evolved yet?
Victor: Well it’s that and radio stations. They don’t want to play deep techno, you know? They won’t play Popof, Richie Hawtin—anything like that. It just hasn’t picked up with the masses. It’s hard to say whether that stuff will pick up over here. In every interview I like to compare house music to cars: the Americans invented it and the Europeans perfected it. Chicago and Detroit were homebases over here for techno and house music, but all of that sound is blowing up in Europe instead. Ford invented the car in the U.S. but BMW and Mercedes are the nicest cars in the world.
LessThan3: Your recent collaborations with Bart B More, The Dark One The Funky One, were so raw. Tell us about the process of working together.
Victor: I came up with a plugin and showed him the synth and then him and I just went at it, playing back and forth. Nowadays it’s so easy to collaborate–just plug in and go. We were actually working on those tracks two years ago while I was staying at his house; we did four days, four tracks. We actually have a track that we haven’t put out yet—we just have to finish it. It’s called Sanbutka, San for San Diego, and Butka for his hometown in Amsterdam.
LessThan3: What brought about your collaboration with Green Velvet on TECHYES? How was it working with him?
Victor: It was amazing. He is one of my idols! I grew up listening to him and got to know him more and more ever since I got into house music when i was sixteen. As I grew up I checked out more and more genres and artists, but when I discovered him it was a big “wow” moment for me. He’s a super oldschool cat, working completely with analog. I listen to every piece of advice he gives me. I’m still surprised about working with him. He called me and said, “Hey man, you want to come into the studio? I’ll fly you out!” My head is still exploding. We actually released two new tracks together recently.
LessThan3: It doesn’t seem like Green Velvet gets the attention he deserves.
Victor: That’s exactly what I’m talking about—all these guys who started it all are not getting any shine. The way to get past that is to bring the genre out to more people so that these godfathers can then get the exposure they deserve.
LessThan3: Who else would you like to collaborate with today?
Victor: Green Velvet really was the most amazing thing that has happened to me, but for now I want to collaborate with Circuit. He’s actually a good friend of mine, but I’m a shy dude so I kind of wait for them to come to me. The way these things come around is usually we’re just having some drinks together, talking about tracks, and it just comes up. I actually want to collaborate with Rihanna or David Guetta as well. People will hate, but working with a bigger artist would be cool. It would be great to make something different, because those big artists are at the point where they can branch out and try new things.
LessThan3: Tell us about today’s label landscape. What’s the overall thinking for new up-and-coming producers?
Victor: It’s just like hip-hop—raw. Do your own thing. Find a label and release a track, rep the label, and that’s it. A lot of people want to get signed to a major label, but that’s really not what it’s about. It’s important to branch out. It’s just like in the hip hop world. There are tons of guys making good money selling mixtapes on the street.
LessThan3: So you still listen to a lot of hip-hop?
Victor: Oh yeah, tons. It’s pretty much what I listen to on my time off. I’m in the studio pretty much all day, but when I get a chance I get back to hip-hop. I love all genres, but hip hop has a special place in my heart.
LessThan3: What new material can we expect in the coming months?
Victor: I’ve got a brand new EP coming out that I’m shopping around. It’s really fun, minimal, and raw, and it’s got a lot of bass in it. There may also be a new label coming up on the horizon—a new minimal side project of sorts.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes, and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Victor: Feel It All Around by Washed Out. That song is preparing you to go out!
LessThan3: Describe your sound in LessThan3 words.
Victor: Real. Raw. Unpredictable.
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