It’s not electronic music. Although there are elements that pull from the EDM genre, the band and musical project of Nu Bass Theory is not your typical DJ outfit where there’s a dude behind a laptop slamming rhythms where the beats per minute clock in at triple digits. They’re a band, mostly a duo but sometimes more, featuring real instruments played by real people, those people being Jesse Ogle on bass, vocals and keyboards and Guillaume Metz on guitar and vocals. They remain musical multitaskers, playing their instruments while also programming various samples and other pre-recorded instrumentation and vocals.
“Originally the project was called DJ Calvin, and it was me doing electronic music stuff, but people kept thinking we were a DJ, and it was a spin on that. It wasn’t great for booking because venues said, ‘we don’t really do DJ’s’ and I’d say ‘this isn’t a DJ,’” Ogle said. “So, we came up with the name, because my main instrument is bass, Guillaume has written two books on theory, so it was basically going down this avenue of theory within music.”
A downbeat lounge hybrid of analog and digital, it’s funk and old-school R&B taking a spin with neo-soul, all with a 21st century drive.
“I would say it’s 50% electronic. I do a lot of production, and I cut all those pieces up and resample them back, so mostly what I use are samples,” Ogle said. “I’m not using a laptop on stage; I use keyboards and samplers. It’s kind of a little bit old-school in a sense, but its pretty organic. I can move around to any part I want, so there’s a lot of improvisation that happens in the way I produce music.”
Nu Bass Theory will perform Saturday along with Loki Moon and DJ Panacea. Billed as a “Masqued Mystere & Evening of Dance,” this New Year’s Eve bill is taking place in a secret location, only to be revealed once your tickets have been purchased through the event’s website. In addition to the music, the event will feature performance art and stage theatrics, classic New Year’s Eve event fare for Ogle, who has hosted similar New Year’s Eve shows locally for the last decade.
The bulk of Ogle’s music career, which includes co-founding and leading local music school iAM MUSIC, has been that of a bass player, a musician who while driving a bands rhythms, also supports the players around him. In Nu Bass Theory, Ogle is able to play bass and be the frontman, and with the band’s mission being exploratory in nature, they can search the pop-side of funk, R&B, soul and electronic music, looking to stretch out the music, while also attempting to craft that perfect, 3-minute cut.
“I like being the singer,” Ogle said. “I think my true passion is to play bass, but I really like writing melodies and hooks, too.”
Earlier this year, Nu Bass Theory released “Write Me a Letter,” a record that was written and recorded for Ogle’s Masters Studies in music production. There’s another album on the horizon that will feature both EDM bangers and pop exploration, and they’re also eyeballing playing more shows in Europe, as its easier to play shows overseas as a duo than a sextet. Their sound is also one that flourishes in cities like London and Paris.
Ogle will also continue to do things himself, while keeping an independent-artist mindset.
“It’s totally DIY, no one is footing this bill besides myself. I’m OK with being the independent artist, I’m OK with playing cool, organic shows,” he said. “That’s fine.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at email@example.com.