Every year, CU-Boulder throws a free concert the weekend before school starts and Program Council knows what they’re doing- past years have seen names like Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Paper Diamond, and Savoy play on Farrand Field for thousands of CU Students. This year, those lucky enough to have a BuffOne card can see Ghostland Observatory and Minnesota play together on August 25th and we’re as excited about it as you are. We had the chance to speak with dubstep producer Minnesota about Welcomefest, upcoming projects, and influences.
TD: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Let’s start out with some basics: name, age, hometown?
Minnesota: My real name is Christian Bauhofer and I’m 23 years old. I call Santa Cruz my hometown now because I’m going to be here for a while, but originally born in Berkely, California and grew up in Minnesota.
TD: How has living in Santa Cruz influenced your music and style?
Minnesota: Well I’ve been here for the past five years, and started getting into electronic music three or four years ago. Originally I was just going to some random raves up in the city, and then in 2009 I started to discover the underground bass culture by going to festivals like Symbiosis and Rain Dance here in NorCal which showed me a different kind of electronic music.
TD: We’re all super stoked to see you play on our campus alongside Ghostland Observatory for our back to school show, what are your thoughts on it?
Minnesota: I’m stoked, Ghostland was one of the first heavily electronic-influenced groups when I saw them a few years ago and like everyone says, their light show just blew me away. I was watching videos of the past few years of Big G and Pretty Lights and it looks like a really fun time. Playing in Colorado is always awesome and I can’t wait to get back to Boulder.
TD: Neither can we! And you’re also getting ready to go on tour with hip-hop group Zion I. How did you first get linked up with them?
Minnesota: My manager and I knew their manager from a while back, when we used to put on shows two or three years ago. Then in the fall, our management contacted them to see about working on a tour which I was really stoked on because they’re one of my favorite hip-hop acts. I was a little bit concerned about it because I played a showcase at SXSW where it was almost all hip-hop on the line-up except for me and Paper Diamond, and there was some weird vibes and it didn’t really mix well. But Zion I is a good crossover act because they do some electronic stuff mixed in with their hip-hop. I’m super stoked on the tour and it should be a lot of fun.
TD: Do you have any plans to release any more collaborative tracks with Zion I after you two worked together on “Float”?
Minnesota: Yeah hopefully, I’m working on a new EP/possibly a full-length album but I’m trying to work on something that I can get them in on if they’re down. Hopefully we can have some more time to work on it because I fuckin’ love the track we did, but I needed it pretty fast so I made it in like a day.
TD: What details an you give us on that new project?
Minnesota: The last three EP’s I’ve done have all been three songs which is kinda lame and I’m not sure why that was. So for this one I’m aiming for six or seven songs, and two of them are collaborations (hopefully). I’m working on one with Seven Lions which will hopefully make the album, and the other five will be original tracks. What I’m trying to do with each song is make it really different from the other tracks on the album. The album as a whole doesn’t really have an overall theme, but each individual track is really different and I think people will like them when it comes out this fall.
TD: You’ve been playing festivals all over the country and opening for big names such as Paper Diamond and Big Gigantic on their nationwide tours. What has been your favorite place to play so far?
Minnesota: I always have a ton of fun playing out in Colorado, and playing Snowball Music Fesitval last March was probably my favorite show. That was the first time I had played in front of a crowd that big and definitely the most fun I’ve had at a show this year.
TD: We’re glad we were able to be there for that, you threw down an awesome set. What equipment do you bring with you for your live shows?
Minnesota: Right now my setup is very simple- I’m using Traktor and a Traktor S2, it’s not very complicated. For the fall tour though I’m needing a little more than just Traktor. I just bought some CDJ’s a few weeks ago and I’ve been having tons of fun messing around with them, so that’s what I’ll be bringing out because it’s nice to go on stage without a computer. It’s a different feeling.
TD: I can imagine. What’s the one thing you can’t leave behind when you on tour?
Minnesota: I’d probably have to say my iPad because I can’t really work on music on the road- I’ve tried it but it doesn’t really end up working out. I just love having a bunch of movies and TV shows that I can watch whenever I want.
TD: You’re only 23 years old and you have people like Bassnectar giving you props on your tracks. How do you stay grounded and not let it get to your head?
Minnesota: Well about a year ago when I started getting some recognition I began to get a little cocky, but I realized that wasn’t good and just went “okay, I need to stop.” Naturally I just like to be nice to people and respect others and I don’t like anyone thinking they’re any better than anyone else, so I just try to treat them the same as they treat me.
TD: What artist would you say is your biggest influence?
Minnesota: Electronic music-wise there a lot: definitely Bassnectar, MiMOSA, and MartyParty. Those were the first three alternative bass music artists that I was listening to. On top of that I’d definitely say Modeselektor.
TD: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Minnesota: I’d love to work with more girl singers and hip-hop artists. It’d be awesome to work with Slug or some of the guys from Living Legends like The Grouch. In terms of singers, I’d love to work with Ellie Goulding.
TD: One last question… when can we expect to hear new tunes from DeathStar?!
Minnesota: Not anytime soon- my focus for the past few months and the next five weeks is finishing my new project coming out in the fall. But once this album is done I’ll definitely hit up MartyParty and see if he’s available because I’d really like to start working with him again. Probably not until 2013, but we definitely want to have some more tracks done so we can do live shows because the only reason we haven’t yet is we only have like five songs together.
TD: We’ll definitely be looking out for that. Any last words before you go?
Minnesota: Go check out/download my music! Most of them are up there for free and if they’re not I’m sure you can find ‘em somewhere else online, I don’t really care if you buy it or illegally download it I just want to spread my music. I’ll see you guys in Boulder!