Bass Interview #41 : Niveau Zero (Eng)

At the occasion of the next edition of the Dream Nation Festival, we made contact with Frederic alias Niveau Zero, one of the french pillars and leaders of the Bass Music.

How did you discover Bass Music ? What attracted you in this genre ?

I discovered Bass Music with Jungle and Drum & Bass. In the first place, what really attracted me to this music, is its energy. I came from a metal background, and I took a real slap when I did my first Drum and Bass night. The subs, the production, I found it monstrous.
After that, what seduced me, it the fact that this music brought together passionate people. The techno, the house was omnipresent, you had to dig every kind of night, even if you had to travel miles away every weekend. That was what it was to be JUNGLIST.

How did your story begin? What gave you envy to start a career in producing?

I’ve done my first steps in music as a bass player and singer in different metal groups for the south-east of France. I discovered DNB at the beginning of the years 2000’s and I quickly started to mix vinyl. It became a real obsession. I went to Paris and I surrounded myself with a big team of producers and live artists such as Tambour Battant, Monotype
I then tried to produce, but surprisingly I turned myself towards the Abstract Hip Hop, IDM and the electro DUB. Around 2008, I created my first live. Then, I discovered Dubstep. A revelation! This music gathered everything I like. I immediately started to produce some. In 2009, I was the discovery of the Printemps de Bourges with my first Niveau Zero Live. Then, I concatenated EPs, albums and dates.

2008 affiche

Can you tell us about the story of the Chateau Bruyant as you’re at the head of that label?

Chateau Bruyant Records, it’s firstly the story of friends. With the Tambour Battant, The Unik, Pablito Zago and Wapi, we shared a true passion for Bass Music, speaking about the big picture of it. We listened to Dubstep, Grime, HipHop, DNB and so much more. Our respective projects were more often identified on the French and International scene. We naturally had the envy to create our own label. Chateau Bruyant came to light in 2011.
We gave ourselves the mission to discover and push our new talents. For the story, we released the first EP by Habstrakt. When we see where he’s at now, it’s very cool !
Even if we still push many newcomers, we had the occasion to release artists a bit more settled in the genre such as Grems, Current Value, Balkansky, Son of Kick, Von D etc…
Like every adventure, we had our good and bad times. Some members left the label, but 70 releases, 40 Goodies for Homies and more than 30 Label Nights and we’re still there, motivated like never before. We have a team of young producer soldiers around us. Zblu, Mashok, XtronX, Sqwad, Ennemi, Bobby, Dazsta, Nightbird….( To only cite a few names) They’re all re-injected a new blood and a true energy in the Label.

Last EP on Chateau Bruyant Records

Can you tell us about RAW AUDIO DISTORTION, this new label which you have just created with the Animalz team?

Indeed, at the occasion of the last Animalz in April, we launched RAW AUDIO DISTORTION (RxAxD) where I’m the label manager. The first releases have reunited artists such as Ivory x Ecraze x Graphyt x SampliFire (Four Horsemen), Code: pandorum, BloodThinnerz, Definitive, Sub Artillery, GANON, Qoiet, etc… We have as a goal to produce Dubstep, Heavy Dubstep and Riddim, radical and demanding.
I’m very excited by this project. Many beautiful things to come.

What label will you never forget?

I had the chance to sign on many different labels: Buygore, NSD, Uplink Audio, Doom Music, HENCH, Boka etc… but one that really marked me is Ad Noiseam. I signed two albums on this label my two and some Maxis. Even if the label doesn’t exist anymore, I keep a very good memory of it. Pushed by Nicolas Chevreux, its creator and manager, AD Noiseam gave me the opportunity to play around the world in mythical clubs such as Berghain, Razzmatazz,Subland… A true collaboration and unforgettable memories.

Any artist collaboration that you won’t forget?

Hard to tell, as every collaboration is different. I hesitate in between the one I experienced with FIGURE which was simple like if we were kids or the one with Krimer, where I worked hard for months. I will never forget neither of these two, for different reasons (laughs).

What differences jump out to your eyes between Techno and Bass Music? Whether it is between the organisers, the events, the labels, the other producers etc…

The electronic music doesn’t have a good coverage in the press, because it drains a quantity of cants. Let’s say that Techno is one of the styles that do it best. This scene is huge compared to Bass Music. It came to light about thirty years ago and is, of course, way more recognised compared to Bass Music who is 10 years younger. Being a Bass Music activist is France stays complicated. This style is often reduced to EDM in the vulgar and intense way. For me, I think the energy in a Bass night is unique. The public doesn’t come just to dance and get their heads emptied, but they know the artists they come to watch and they come to see the tracks played.

With Ghost Dance, my Electro/ Techno side project, I was able to play on techno scene and the public and the energy is very different. I obviously take pleasure in those 2 styles, but it doesn’t play on the same emotions and the mixing technics are nearly completely opposed. For me, Bass Music is an explosive music when techno is more progressive and playing with the mental.
Events such as Dream Nation and I Love Techno which proposes mixed programs and lineups giving the chance for some to discover, by themselves, the essence of every style.


How are you apprehending the Dream Nation Festival?

Pretty good. I played many times for Dream Nation. It’s always a pleasure. I have so many mad tracks to play, I’m very looking forward to it ! I might play early, so I count on the bassheads to be there to support me !!


What do you think about the Riddim rise in Bass Music? Are you positiveor negative about it?

I really like Riddim. I find in this style sonorities of Dubstep from the 2010’s ( with labels like HENCH etc…) with a heavy production.
I thought I heard that the debate at the moment is «Is Riddim Dubstep?». To this, I answer «Yes, Riddim is Dubstep. It’s undeniable.» But, the chapels always pissed me off, because they divide more than unite. Within the same musical family, I think it’s a shame.

What’s the place you’d dream to play at?

Outch! If we speak about a country i’ll say Japan or Australia. Many times I’ve had the start of an opportunity but it never shaped or concretized. If we speak about events or festivals… I’d say RAMPAGE, or a big crazy thing like EDC Las Vegas. I went there this year, it wad unreal.


What’s your worse experience as an artist?

There are so many of them !!! My last gig, not the worst, but the most epic. Last spring, I was playing after Borgore at the Space Yacht night in Los Angeles. Big pressure ! For the occasion, I prepared a special set with many ID’s and exclusives but I was running a little bit late and I couldn’t prepare a USB. I told myself it didn’t matter and that I’ll do a second one in backstage. I get there, no backstage ! I find myself to be doing my export in the middle of the VIP space with the scene that jostles in this small space. It’s all going to quickly, and I get the USB out of my laptop without ejecting it.

It’s my turn on the desks. The public is so buzzing and ready, Borgore broke that. His stage manager asks  for my USB to install it in the desks. I give it to him. I turn my head around and two seconds later I see him looking for something on the floor. I ask him naively « What are you looking for? », He replies « I lost your key« . Ok, no reason to panic. I have another USB that I’ve just prepared. I put that one in the CDJ and I realize my set isn’t there… snatching it earlier from my laptop had a fatal consequence. I still start to play, that New York set, the one from last week was on the floor somewhere, the label manager of Buygore, the promoter of Space Yacht, the Dirtyphonics and Olivier from Chwet… all looking for this bloody key !! Unlikely ! It takes me about 15 minutes to get comfortable and to start having fun. We opened the gates of the club two days later and I finally found it… in a bunch of cables, three meters away from the desks, under the scene.

A little word for your fans and those who follow you closely?

Many projects on the spot ! A really heavy collab with Zblu getting out soon, and a 3rd LP preparing for 2019.

We leave you guys on these tasty notes and let you discover (again) the latest release from Niveau Zero. We’ll see you on the 22nd of September in Aubervilliers at the occasion of the Dream Nation Festival. Huge thanks to Frederic for answering our questions.


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