Born in America raised in Mexico, Victor Hugo Ramos was born with rhythm in his veins. At the tender age of 16, he would sneak into clubs in Tijuana to soak in the waves of early inspiration. Driven by the sexy grooves of dance music, Victor decided to buy his first setup and began mixing songs that were making an irresistible impression on him. This forward-thinking mentality would soon become crucial in the development of the Harvard Bass sound.
Harvard Bass combines smooth, minimal beats and deep ghetto house grooves with corrosively addicting drum patterns. ‘Lazer Beams’, an unforgettable collaboration with the legendary Green Velvet, harkens back to the glory days of techno while more recent releases such as, ‘Plex’ Dubfire’s Sci-Tec Digital Label, incorporate this influence with other elements that come off as retro yet modern simultaneously.
With the release of his debut album ‘Stay True’ on Green Velvets very own Relief Records in 2013, Harvard Bass has extended his sound to others and ensuring that the scene stays fresh with his creative sound. Constant praise pouring in from respected DJs such as Green Velvet, Seth Troxler, Nic Fanciulli, Pete Tong, and Loco Dice salutes the burgeoning musical niche that is taking form, with Harvard Bass at the forefront. Harvard Bass has been cemented as a force to be reckoned within House, Techno music and beyond. We just had a chat with Victor – here’s what he had to say…
Who / where were you introduced to electronic music?
I was introduced to electronic music in Tijuana by my older brother, who at the time was a big fan of Mark Farina.
When did you start DJ’ing?
2004. I was working a full time job at 17 and saved a few dollars and bought turntables. Every day after work I would spend hours practicing. I loved it so much. Sometimes I would cancel dinner dates with cute girls because all I wanted to do was DJ. Come to think of it, I still do that.
What did you family think when you decided that you wanted to become a professional DJ?
Oh man, I was never really trying to become a professional DJ. Never like that. It kind of just happened and when that happened my parents hated it. I come from a working class family and they wanted me to go to school and get a “normal” job. They never believed that playing records for a living could ever mean anything. Shit, I didn’t think so either! But just now, they now understand what I do. They support it now though. It took them a while to cope with it though. They actually just went to one of my shows a few months ago for the first time. They were freaking out. It was awesome that they finally came out.
You have spoken of your love for M-nus in the past. What is it about that minimal sound that appeals to you and how much do you think it has influenced the music you make?
Minus influenced me heavily. I really love music that is simple and straight forward. Less is more to me.
Your music always seems to be built on great grooves. Is that just something that naturally comes out in your productions or do you always aim for that?
When I work on music, I don’t force myself to work because then it will come out forced and you will hear it on the tracks. I just gotta let it flow and come out naturally and I think that’s what makes them groove. It gives it a sexy feel when you are just having fun.
How has house music changed since you first started out?
It has changed thanks to technology which I think is great. The great thing about it though is that it can change but you still get the same feeling. I can hear a track that’s 10 years old or a track that just came out a week ago and it still gives me that feeling that house music has always given me.
Do you feel crowds are more educated about music than ever right now?
Most definitely! The internet allows for infinite education. It’s really just up to the person to want to educate themselves.
How did your ‘Relocation’ EP with Saved Records come about?
I met Nic in Ibiza last summer and he invited me to play his birthday party in Maidstone last year. We got along really well and had asked me to send him some records so I did. He really liked them and asked to sign them which I thought was great! Really happy about it.
What is your studio setup like? How do you create your perfect creative environment for making music?
Man, my shit is Simple. I mean really now and days you don’t need much. I got an iMac, Apogee Duet, KRK rokits 5, midi controller, logic 9, Casio RZ-1 and a bunch of plug ins. Making music just comes to me at random times. I don’t really force myself to make music. I just have to feel it. Once I feel it ill make it. Sometimes I will sit down and just play with sounds and sometimes those sounds will inspire me to make something that I think is sexy for the clubs.
Do you have plans to work on a second album?
It’s in the air. I would love to. The process of working on my first album was an amazing one especially being able to work with Green Velvet during the process. It was so surreal.
What gigs are you most looking forward to this summer? You UK and Ibiza shows all look they will be amazing!
I can’t wait for all the shows really but I’m really looking forward to going back to back with Robert Dietz at Pacha for Nic Fanciulli and Friends during sonar. That’s going to be crazy!
Which other DJ’s are you really loving right now and why?
Matias Aguayo, Brett Johnson. They are great. Their sound is always so fresh and unique.
What new music can we expect to hear from you soon?
Finishing up an EP for Tuskegee at the moment, a remix for Tiga & Boys Noize on Turbo, and a Remix for Loco Dice on his forthcoming album.
Harvard Bass – ‘Relocation’ EP
Next up on Saved, rising star Harvard Bass drops two bass-driven cuts on his ‘Relocation’ EP. Channeling both the charismatic flavor of his home country’s underground electronic scene with the traditions of US house, the San Diego based producer charts an amalgamation of both cultures over two upfront tracks.
The funky, tribal-like drums that ignite ‘That’s Me’ set the rhythmical structures that underpin the track into motion straight away. Before long, a deep, tumbling bassline joins the fun, injecting an intoxicating groove that rides out for the duration. The way the percussion rebounds off the groove creates an infectious swing, which oscillates beneath the FX-strewn vocals, repeating with mechanical stamina.
‘Get Got!’ is less intense, settling into a slower, more laidback groove courtesy of a simple but addictive bassline. Chopped up, metallic sounding percussion adds an unusual and distinctive sense of rhythm that continues to build throughout, pulling you ever closer into the grips of the percolating, fluid bottom end.https://readymag.com/57226