Over the Halloween weekend we had a chance to sit down with Doctor Jeep (Andre Lira) who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He played an amazing set on Saturday the 28th at The Shredder in downtown Boise.
The up-and-coming bass artist has played at Bass Coast Festival in British Columbia and Outlook Festival in Croatia along with other shows throughout the United States. Even though he’s primarily a drum and bass DJ, he enjoys playing eclectic sets that feature all genres of music. His first two EP’s Dissociate and Jawbreaker exemplify how diverse his music really is. This alone draws people into his sets that truly take you on a musical journey.
Earthlings Entertainment: What (or who) inspired you to start making music?
Doctor Jeep: I started playing guitar when I was eight years old and I was in various hardcore metal bands throughout middle and high school. As far as inspiration to start making electronic music goes, one of my friends bought the Justice album “Cross” and started playing it in the car, which led me to explore mainstream artists like Daft Punk. After that I dove further into the underground bass music scene. So as far as a technical answer goes, it would be Justice and Daft Punk for getting into electronic music.
Q: Why did you choose to start making bass music? Is there something specific that drew you into that genre? How has your music evolved over time?
A: It’s changed a bunch. I used to play and listen to a lot of house and techno nine or ten years ago. A little later on I got a CD when I was a freshman in college (Rusko and Caspa’s FabricLive mix) which was my first exposure to dubstep. That really opened up my eyes to other types of electronic music. From there I discovered a lot of different groups from the UK and got more into dubstep and drum and bass. The music I make now, I would’ve never made 5-6 years ago because I wasn’t necessarily into the “heaviness”. I was more into happy tunes at that time in my life (even though I listened to some pretty extreme music as a teenager). I’m a very happy guy in my day-to-day, but I really enjoy making dark music. It’s a way of getting out the inner demons per-se. It’s a release; a way to escape the day-to-day stuff.
Q: What would be your dream festival (or venue) to play at? Why?
A: I haven’t been to a ton of festivals. I played twice at Bass Coast Festival in BC in Canada. That was one of my most favorite experiences. There’s another festival in Croatia called Outlook, and I’ve played that three times. I’ve always played on these boat parties that go out into the middle of the sea during the day. They’re fun, but they’re smaller environments. I’d say the peak of my career would be to play on one of the main stages at Outlook. I haven’t seen a ton of Americans play there, as the acts and the crowd are primarily from England, so if I could ever have the opportunity to perform at The Moat or The Void (two stages there with big soundsystems), that would be awesome!
Q: Many music festivals put a huge focus on being eco-friendly and “pack in, pack out”, but more often than not we see piles and piles of trash left both during and after the festival. Do you think there’s a way for event organizers to get better control of this? Can they truly achieve what they preach?
A: I think it depends on the size of the festival. If you have a huge 50,000+ person festival, it would be impossible. The only way I could realistically see this happening is if they have a crew that checks your campsite before you leave. I just don’t think it’s feasible with an event larger than 2,000 people. Even with something the size of Bass Coast, I can’t imagine having a crew of people checking campsites one-by-one on the last day. I don’t really know the right answer here, but I do hope that they can find a solution because it’s really annoying to see trash all over the place … I’ve never really thought of the answer to this, but maybe someone smarter than me can figure it out!
Q: I saw on Facebook that you recently dropped ten original Doctor Jeep tracks/edits in a row at a show in Seattle. In that post you also showed some excitement about the possibility of a full live set in the future. Would you say that this is a big goal of yours for 2018?
A: It wasn’t an explicit goal, but having done it now…you know when I first started making music it was one of those things where I would be making it in my bedroom and I’d be constantly thinking “ok, I’m the only person who is going to like this, nobody else is going to ‘get it’..it’s too weird, it doesn’t appeal to the mainstream”. Over time I kinda stayed with that mentality until I started playing my own songs at shows and people really started responding to them. I released a track last year called “Dissociate”, which, I guess according to some people was a big festival tune in the U.S.and Canada. Getting videos of my track being played and people responding well really encouraged me to take a bit more of a risk and play my own stuff.
I think the issue is that when you first start DJing and producing you don’t want to ruin the vibe of the party by playing a song that doesn’t sound good. Also when you first start producing, you won’t have the most technically savvy mix-downs. It just won’t sound as good as professionally mixed songs. When I started experimenting a little bit and realizing that “ok, it could actually stand next to these other tracks”, that pushed me to do more. There are so many people out there now that DJ and produce music, that you have to come out with something different. Aside from adopting a unique style of DJing, I feel like something that will set me apart is me playing my own music that nobody else has, or playing music from my friends that nobody else has. To answer your question I’d really like to do live sets in the future, just not sure when and how it would look like.
Q: If you’re the resolution type, what would you say your resolution is for 2018?
A: Kinda. One of my resolutions from last year was to get more vocalists on my songs, and that has happened! I had a 12” come out with an MC from the UK that I linked up with on Soundcloud, shout out Magugu. I hit him up with a bunch of beats and he ended up putting vocals on three of the tracks…So yeah that was my resolution last year. As far as this year goes, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I’d like to travel more and go on moretours.. In February and March I’m actually going on a tour with Fixate around North America. I booked him for a party in New York and we really hit it off so we decided to do a series of shows where we play back to back each night and hit every genre we’re into. I think it’ll be really fun, since in our experience when playing shows some markets focus on specific genres or really want / expect one thing, so it’ll be fun to play off each other at any tempo. Plus, he’s a badboy DJ!
Q: What do you believe your purpose in life is?
A: I’ve asked myself many times. I’d say to make people happy with art in some capacity. If I can make music that makes someone smile, then I’ve achieved my goal.
Q: What does “creativity” mean to you?
A: Making something out of nothing. By that I mean it could be taking influences from several different fields then making something that didn’t exist before. When I think of people who are creative, that’s usually what they’re doing. Pioneering a new genre or a new style of art. I think it’s funny because whenever I go to museums and I see the artist’s story on the wall to give some context to an exhibit, the ones that are the most creative are the ones that broke the mold of what was happening at the time.
Q: If you’re down, I’d like to have you finish a few easy sentences for me. Just say whatever comes to your mind first.
Q: Love is …
A: uh, great!
Q: Happiness is…
A: the little things.
Doctor Jeep is releasing his next EP in the spring on digital and vinyl formats and going on tour in the U.S. and Canada in February/March with Fixate, so keep an eye out for those dates.