“[Morello]’s working on this really cool project where he’s working with multiple electronic music producers to create electronic songs that he can recreate live on this super, perverted, unexplainable, bastardized guitar mutant instrument thing,” Ashton tells Rolling Stone.
The electronic musician and longtime Rage Against the Machine fan was thrilled to participate in Morello’s as-yet-unnamed project. “It was so special getting a phone call from him in his crazy deep voice and having him start off saying, ‘Oh, I’m such a fan,'” Ashton says. “You could tell he wasn’t faking it because he starts referencing different songs and different bass lines of different songs. You quickly realize, ‘Woah! He is not only a fan, he is really fucking educated [on electronic music].'”
Bassnectar has long been performing as an electronic musician in primarily rock arenas, having been the only DJ at rock festivals for years. For the DJ, Morello’s outlook on electronic music is more progressive than his hard rock peers. “It’s pretty disappointing watching certain classic heroes of rock music miss the boat,” he says. “Like Dave Grohl, who on a personal level [is] a great guy and on a musical level, he’s a legend. But he’s gone out of his way to really publicly dismiss new generations of creativity.”
Morello’s work with some of electronic music’s biggest names hasn’t been a complete secret; there have been photos and tweets referencing studio time with Bassnectar, Skrillex and Knife Party. Bassnectar hoped to do something a little different with Morello while they were working together. “I proposed to him that we basically pretend that we are a band and that we write a song together,” he explains.
“I pretty flagrantly just said, ‘I want to make a Rage Against the Machine song if that’s cool, and I don’t want someone to hear it and think, “Oh, it’s a DJ remix of Rage Against the Machine.”‘ I just want it to sound like some fucking funnel into a hurricane, and we have it, that’s the cool news. We have this fucking killer song.”
While the instrumental is done, the pair are currently searching for the right vocalist, with Outkast’s Big Boi, Deftones’ Chino Moreno, Matt Schultz of Cage the Elephant and Pussy Riot all up for contention. “We haven’t even thought about [how we’ll release the song] because we’ve been on this path for a vocalist,” Ashton says. “I don’t even know if we will have found the right vocalist by the time people are reading this.”
Though he’s found people like Grohl’s stance on his music more conservative, he wouldn’t rule out the Foo Fighter frontman as a vocalist on the track. “Maybe he’ll read [this] and decide he wants to sing over me and Tom’s track.”
Bassnectar’s new album Into the Sun will be released on June 30th via his own label Amorphous Music.