[Interview] Making a Mess in the Denver Underground: Elliot Mess
One of the things impacting the Denver underground scene the most is how the city attracts people from all over the world. Whether it's the relaxing of attitudes toward recreational activities or the burgeoning music industry- peeps are flockin'! Besides that, the city boasts two of the most popular venues in the world. That kind of notoriety definitely creates the kind of buzz that even makes some industry legends come back for more. In any event, the influx of out-of-towners no doubt has a huge influence on the local scene.
Certainly, this isn't anything new. We have transplants galore that make their way to the bass capital and contribute considerably to the Denver bass music scene. To illustrate this, BOD checks in with the likes of Shua and Xeela on a consistent basis. Beyond that, Denver has the type of music scene which welcomes newcomers with open arms. Enter Elliot Mess and his bass-heavy juke sound.
His sound and style are in his own words, "...taking its own shape." In other words, Elliot Mess' unique style has taken on a mind of its own. Additionally, it's evolving along with the blending of influences he's gaining through collaborations with Denver's underground artists. Artists like DJ Chap, GHoST, and Evasive are helping to guide the young beat-makers creativity. As a result, even he recognizes that he's come a long way from his early influences, rooted in 160 BPMs. On top of that, he's built on his enthusiasm for a Chicago movement and is a driving force behind what's now a growing movement in Denver- Juke.
Indeed, Elliot is another name in a long line of transplant artists who have migrated to Denver. Specifically, one from Florida who is slowly making a name for himself in the bass capital. Surely, his recent gigs at popular Denver bass music hub, the Black Box can account for that. However, he's not just here to drop nasty sets and collect a check. More importantly, the nastiness coming off of his fresh album 'Gun Man' shows he isn't fucking around. He wants to leave his mark on a scene that has clearly left its mark on him. For that, and for the love of bass, we're full of excitement that he's taking the time to check-in with Bass'D Out DNVR!
Bass'D Out DNVR: Describe the vibe you had when you fell in love with bass music. What are your favorite genres to spin/listen to?
Elliot Mess: I first heard jungle, d&b, and breaks back in 2001, in Florida. My vibe was LIT from the start.
I love to spin footwork, d&b, jungle, dubstep, and anything at160 BPMs.
BOD: How long have you been part of the Denver EDM scene? When did you decide to pick up some headphones and start DJing? Do you produce? If so, what made you get into that?
EM: I moved to Denver from Tallahassee Florida in November of 2013. I was in touch with my good friend DJ Chap who is from here and quickly got in with some like-minded 160 BPM homies. My first show in Denver wasn’t until Cinco de Mayo 2014 at Sub.Mission E-Tuesdays at the Cervantes Other Side DJ battle. I first started DJing in 2008. I started off DJing liquid drum & bass and used to do monthly shows in Tallahassee with the likes of Binsky, Wrexx, Pope John, and Alex M. In 2009 I met Caleb Selman and we started SUB.CULTURE, a monthly bass night with multiple genres. We ran that for a few years and that eventually turned into Denver Juke. I started producing in 2013. I really just wanted to have some fun and cut up some samples. You can see what I'm talking about in some of my tracks. Lately, I've been trying to get more serious with my production and it's kinda been taking its own shape. It’s a mess, but it's my mess.
BOD: I caught one of your sets at the Emerald at a Distinguished show. How did you get involved with Evasive and his crew? Describe how it feels to perform live.
EM: So this is a pretty cool story. Back in the day, I used to use a peer-to-peer server called SoulSeek to download hot tracks. GHoST hits me on the messenger praising my Calyx & Teebee folder. Five or six years go by and I'm living in Denver now, I link up with Evasive through GHoST at a Recon show at Norad. Evasive and I have been tight ever since! I love playing live. You get to really showcase your style and it's really fun going b2b with someone on your level.
BOD: That night you spun a Juke set. How would you describe the Juke genre for those that don’t know?
EM: Juke evolved into Footwork and it comes from Chicago. It is a street dance like breakdancing in New York. It is designed for dancers to battle. It is very underground, we like it that way.
BOD: Who are some of the artists that inspire you. What artists do you feel are being slept on right now?
EM: DJ Rashad RIP, Deejay Earl, DJ Paypal, Orange Julius, DJ Mastercard, Kode9, Taso, Tom & Jerry, Eprom
BOD: What do you do with your time while not working on music?
EM: Work, hikes with dog, PlayStation, Praise Jah!
BOD: In 6 words or less, describe what life is like being a DJ/Producer.
EM: It Is A Fun Hobby!
BOD: What tips would you give someone looking to start DJing? What tips do you have for people to get booked?
EM: Learn how to match a beat, everything else will fall in place-
BOD: What can fans expect from you in the future? Are there any artists/crews you want to work with? What events/venues would you like to play?
EM: Expect Denver Juke to be out here. We have a crew of DJs and dancers and we get the party LIT! We love working with RECON and The Black Box a ton! We would love to branch out to other venues like Cervantes or Your Moms House to see about getting a monthly started up. We are open to working with all crews and would love to get some things happening.
BOD: Comments? Shout-outs?
EM: Bout That Life!!!
"Shout Out to TEKLIFE, Banzulu, Wayzout, K.Locke, Xeela, Rob C, ROYAL, Rabbit, Despise, Shoebox, Evasive, GHoST, Domina, Solid, RECON, SUB.MISSION"
Major props go out to Elliot Mess for checking in with Bass'D Out DNVR. It's all love for anyone doing their part to contribute to Denver's growing bass music industry! Be sure to check out the mix of his unreleased cuts off his forthcoming album 'Gun Man' and follow him at the links below.