There’s something uniquely special about a good music playlist. It has the power to introduce a person to an entirely new world of music, one they may never have explored or even knew existed before. They can bring people together, spark inspiration and provide the soundtrack to countless memories.
I worked at an upmarket boutique clothing store shortly after graduating high school. Everything about the store was meticulously planned and thought-out, nothing was there by chance. They had a distinct look, message and overall vibe. The music that played had to reflect that too. I spent a lot of my time there looking for that perfect go-to playlist, the type of playlist that you can you just hit play and walk away – free from worry of what song might play next. Sure, there was the odd compilation that came close, but none without the occasional track that just clashed too much with the overall vibe we had tried so hard to create. I came to realize that no such playlist existed, so I decided to make my own.
Around that same time, I came across Katana’s Trap&B mix series. They changed the way I looked at music and exposed me to the potential journey an arrangement of songs can take a listener, all guided by the DJ/curator. It inspired me. I decided to make a mix of my own, in spite of having no real mixing or DJ experience. I spent weeks arranging and mixing a 60-minute set on Garageband (I know…) as an undeclared tribute. I titled it ‘Her’ - a cheeky nod to Katana’s ‘Girl’ mix.
Fast forward five years, and almost 100 playlists and mixes later… That very person who inspired me to make playlists in the first place, approached me to work on one together, for Bassment.
Collaborating with Katana has been a truly special experience. What began as a single 20-30 track compilation, quickly transformed into two mammoth 5-hour playlists, each curated around a distinct mood and setting. These are ‘Wavy’ and ‘Bass’.
Wavy - our answer to that perfect playlist I never found when working in retail. We hope for this playlist to become the new staple for any boutique store or cafe, for studying, unwinding and relaxing; the kind of playlist that can be thrown on in any social setting without ever feeling out of place. Katana and I are both extremely proud of this one.
Bass - a step up, made to be played before a night out, on a roadie with mates, at the gym etc. Anytime you’re after something a little more up-tempo than its mellow counterpart.
We approached these playlists with a strong emphasis on accessibility. We are firm believers that bass music has something for almost everyone, and hope that through these playlists, we can introduce a whole new group of people to the ever-growing scene of electronic music.
There’s nothing quite like a good collaboration; working together on a project with like-minded people, all of whom share the same core beliefs and values. Things flowed so freely; when one of us got stuck, the other would always come through with a perfect idea or suggestion, reigniting the fire, even stronger and brighter than before. There were many nights spent, ‘til the early hours of the morning, digging through old playlists and mixes, in constant search for that perfect addition. Each new edit and iteration only added to the thrill of it. It became a personal challenge to try and surprise each other with each and every new song we’d add to the playlist, always one that we felt to be a natural fit.
Katana and I had the unique position of being both listeners and curators. Each contributing our most beloved tracks to the playlists, while simultaneously uncovering each other’s hidden gems for the first time. The kind of tracks that feel so in line with what you know and love, that they make you wonder how you’ve gone this long having never heard them before! That’s the beauty of music, it’s made to be shared. No one person can ever hope to have or to know everything. You can find and learn something from almost everybody. It’s universal, unbound by language, location, gender or worldly views.
I have learned so much from working with Katana, the man behind Bassment. His meticulous attention to detail, unwaveringly high standard and overall vision is humbling. He’s taught me discipline and restraint; that each song must serve to complement the overall theme of the playlist first and foremost. That if it doesn’t fit, don’t include it; irrespective of how good that track may or may not be. It’s been an absolute privilege to work alongside him.
So here we are. After many months and iterations, we couldn’t be more excited to finally share these playlists with you all.
We’ve put our heart and soul into these and loved every moment of it. We hope that you’ll enjoy playing them half as much as we did making them.
From Katana and myself.
Written by Oli Lyons of I Hate Mondays