Clad in Hypercolor costumes and clutching silly inflatable rafts, legions of devoted Bay Area “Bassheads” will flock to San Jose on Saturday for the spring launch of local native DJ Bassnectar’s massive 2012 tour.
Bassnectar, aka Berkeley-based Lorin Ashton, sent his ninth album, “Vava Voom” — featuring Lupe Fiasco and Pennywise — to the top of iTunes’ electronic music charts April 10.
Now, he helms a packed year of sold-out shows that are literally bigger than ever before — part of a rising tidal wave of electronic music appreciation in mainstream America, he says.
“It’s been exciting to see it building and building and building slowly, slowly, slowly, and then one thing popped,” he said, on the phone during a tour stop in the Midwest. “I think it’s the perfect time, and I’m just happy to be alive at this time of culture.”
Born in San Jose in 1978, Ashton initially was attracted to metal and thrash. But the positive vibe of early rave culture spoke to him. By 1996, he was in college in Santa Cruz studying electronic music and producing dance shows.
He became a star at Burning Man and gave his music away online.
Ashton also worked his butt off and stayed away from drugs, playing more than 150 days per year and trying to get at least eight hours of sleep per night. “I think I’m able to do this because I’m not raging, doing after-parties and getting high all the time,” Ashton says.
He also speaks to devotees of low-sonic frequencies, whether dubstep, psy-trance or breakbeat.
He adds, “I focus on the live experience with 5,000 living beings in this room, and a concert-level sound system that’s ridiculously customized to not differ by any more than 3 decibels in any point of the room, and to saturate their bodies in a lake of bass.”
Tracks from “Vava Voom” will fuel new remixes at the San Jose appearance, but Bassnectar is not messing around with the hit live show — only turning the volume up: “I’m trying to, as much as possible, retain the sanctity of a creative atmosphere of abandonment and wild-style hysteria, while also making sure people stay safe.”
Doing so on his home turf only sweetens the experience for the road warrior. “The whole region from Santa Cruz to Sacramento is special,” he says. “I think I’ll live here for the rest of my life.”
Where: Event Center at San Jose State University, 290 S. Seventh St., San Jose
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com, www.bassnectar.net