Article by Mitchell Buchanan
There’s something alluring about the unknown. The scariest thing about a horror movie is that thing you can’t explain; jokes are funniest when you don’t know the punchline; the femme fatale in all action movies is mysterious because we know nothing about her. The bass scene has its fair share of “unknowns” as well – producers use names that aren’t their own, hiding their identities behind a name and the music they create. They play shows where the energy is so high that no one knows what to expect from the night, and who can blame them? Not knowing what’s going to happen makes everything so much more exciting – at least, that’s what we believe at Dubstep.net.
Today, however, we’re here to unmask one of the faces of dangerously-heavy bass music. Drop Goblin is a New Hampshire producer and a unique DJ, using two iPads instead of flipping records, and staying away from beat-matching software that takes away from the skill of DJing. He mixes music by ear – the iPads are connected to a mixer independently and there’s no communication between them. Drop Goblin mixes the old-fashioned way, “the way it was back in the turntable days using your ears and sense of touch.” The combination of unique mixing skills and strong support from bass music heavyweights like Play Me Records has allowed Drop Goblin to garner a strong fanbase – one that supports his experimentation and his enthusiasm for all things bass-heavy.
Drop Goblin, known to some as Alexander Azzi, has been making music since the mid-90s. Attracted to the energy of the Punk Rock and Oi! scenes, he joined a local Skinhead Oi! band after teaching himself how to play the guitar. After four years, however, Azzi recognized that his values differed from those around him – and he made the decision to leave a scene that he just couldn’t call home. “…I never felt like I belonged, nor agreed with the views and politics of the Skinhead lifestyle I was involved in. In 1998 I walked away from Skinhead life and discovered EDM at a time where it felt right to give it a shot and see where it would take me.”
Under the name “Perfect Dark,” Azzi started producing Hardcore Techno and Gabber in 2000. For a few years, he worked for ADAM Recordings, and eventually signed to Sony/ATV Publishing – by then using the moniker “Atroa.” But several years later, he began to feel confined to the genres of music he was producing. Taking some time off, Azzi travelled and worked in various facets of the EDM production business. “I did some behind-the-scenes stuff during my “off time,” producing some dance tracks out in Toronto, and I did a Hardstyle remix of a song for the Pirate Metal band “Alestorm.” But I missed being more involved like I used to be, producing original tracks and performing in front of the crowds. So I took my time and researched what would be the best fit for me in this day and age, and the heavy bass genres hit me square in the face… I was hooked.”
Eager to make a comeback and reinvent himself, Azzi dropped the “Atroa” alias and started working under the name “Drop Goblin.” To some, the change in name seemed completely logical – a new beginning, new genres of music, new name. To Azzi, however, there was a different reason. “Honestly, one of the big reasons why I changed my name is because the artist “Adroa” exists, and although I’ve been around longer in EDM, he has been in bass music much longer than me. Out of respect to him, and to avoid any confusion, I decided to change my name.”
Drop Goblin’s breakthrough track was “Dubstep, Believe It,” released in July of 2011 through Play Me 2. Described as “an excellent, cheeky dubstep-themed cover of that popular Journey song,” the combination of dirty, heavy bass and the memorable, sing-along tune of “Don’t Stop Believing” helped Drop Goblin fully establish his place in the bass music scene. He points to Play Me Records as the biggest reason why his transition into heavy bass music has been so rewarding. “… I felt so appreciative. There I was, working hard and wanting to come back into the scene, and they took a chance with me, believed in my vision, and I can’t thank them enough… it opened up the floodgates for my name and my releases up to the present day.”
Drop Goblin’s work with Play Me isn’t over. On March 26, his “Feelin’ Like A Rock Star” EP was released through Play Me 2. This four-track EP features three originals and a remix from Dirt Monkey. Although less than a week old, its success has Drop Goblin looking forward to producing new tracks.
Drop Goblin’s roots bring him through Punk Rock and Oi! music, various genres of EDM, and now he’s taking the bass world by storm. When I asked about what he finds most rewarding, he made no mention of money or fame? Instead, Drop Goblin – Alex – finds happiness in knowing that people support his love of music just as much as they support the music itself, and that he can pass on the importance of experimentation and variety in the bass culture that he holds dear. “Even though I don’t personally know them all, they motivate me to continue to produce and perform with the energy I have. You have to understand that without the fans, there would be no need for us to do what we do. No need. I want reach out to all the producers out there who are just starting out, and tell you that you don’t need to be a follower. Your brain is the most sophisticated production tool you will ever have. Use it without fear.”
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