Bass Sekolah Lighthouse

Okayfuture is excited to premiere this incredible new track from electronic duo Bass Sekolah, a team-up of Malaysian instrumentalist/vocalist Darren Ashley and German DJ/producer Cee.  Based somewhere in the hills of Negeri Sembilan (just south of Kuala Lumpur) and roused by their wild, yet paradisiacal surroundings, Bass Sekolah creates warm and colorful electronic sounds like their debut single “Lighthouse,” out November 28 on Swiss indie label Mouthwatering Records.

Ahead of their upcoming release, Bass Sekolah gave us the inside story on recording in the rainforest, their new single and working together on it.  Read our interview with Bass Sekolah below and listen to “Lighthouse” here. You can also watch this trailer to get a glimpse at the pair’s jungle haven.

Is it true that you guys are based in a jungle?

Cee: Yes we are lucky bastards. My mother in law owns a little resort called The Dusun, outside of KL, right at the fringe of the rainforest, and that’s where I live. Darren comes over as often as he can to write music with me. We cook up some good dishes together and get inspired by crickets, birds and frogs. It’s quite an orchestra.

How does the fact that you are working in such a beautiful, unique place affect how you work and write, and the overall sound of you music?

Cee: Sounds are everywhere. Especially here. Nature never shuts up. Organized sound becomes music. Quite often we like to start with a little field recording to have a bit of dirt and life in the song, but even if we don’t do that on purpose, the jungle ends up on the recorded tracks anyways, because we don’t use a proper vocal booth and the ambient sound always bleeds in. The environment itself and the stunning view effects us as well. It helps us stay in our own little bubble.

Darren: Being a city boy, pure forms of music are hard to come by when you’re bombarded by what everyone else is doing at the moment. We all need that get-away to some safe haven to help us reset and de-clutter so we can find our flow again. The jungle does exactly that for me.

Bass Sekolah 1

Tell us about “Lighthouse.” What’s the story behind it? What is it about? How did you guys write it?

Darren: There was a faint glimmer that we were on to something fresh from the start (at least for me). On that note, the lyrics center around a decision made to embark on that journey fueled by passion regardless of the usual storms with a path less traveled.

I didn’t fully see the song as a whole as it all flashed by so fast (another perk of working with no restrictions), but after Cee put his final touches on it, something kinda clicked in my head. Personally, I have searched for a balance between my electronic and organic compositions and I found it in this song. So I wrote from that aspect.

Cee: “Lighthouse” felt like a very positive song from the beginning. The beat is groovy and doesn’t need to be uptempo, but still gets you moving. Darren put down the chords for the verse and chorus, and the structure fell into place. Once the chords were there we had a clear vision of a soulful catchy song, and the vocal melody came naturally to Darren. He is sometimes worries that things almost become too catchy, but I just love it, and so does my three year old son, who can literally sing along with the whole piece. When that happens you know you have a strong single hahaha…

What’s the scene like in Malaysia and Southeast Asia? Are soul and electronica big there?

Cee: We are at a “break of dawn stage” and things are starting to happen – a “pre-scene” stage I would say. We have some very talented musicians in Malaysia who just started to experiment more in order to find their very own sound. That’s super exciting to me. If you look at the whole region we do have a connected scene and when international artists come to our region we share them.

Bass Sekolah 2

…and speaking of genres, what’s the best designation for your sound?

Cee: It’s never easy to put music into words as we all know, but we do have a lot of soul in our music even though we are not big soul heads. It comes naturally. We like to be seen as genre benders, and we want to continue getting our inspirations out of all kinds of sounds, bleeps and patterns.

Darren: Genre benders. I like that. I think it’s still something magical when two musicians of different genre strengths collide and find a common ground. Cee has been very open to everything I throw at him and has a knack for forming them into full pieces. This has challenged my labelistic views on genres so if you ask me, I’d categorize some tracks as “electric rainforest” and some others as “unknown territory.” I love them all the same.

What’s coming next? What could we expect from you guys in the (okay)future?

Cee: Together with the German Goethe Institut we are are about to drop a compilation of songs we wrote with artists like Daedelus, Phon.o, Skinnerbox, Perera Elsewhere and Housemeister. It’s basically a collection of works which we wrote with our homies while they visited us here.

Bass Sekolah 3


  • Haarp Media

    These guys are great and their work environment is the best.

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