We had the good fortune of connecting with Bas Janssen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bas, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want my legacy to be that I was one of the most loving members of the industry. I love bringing people together and sharing. I don’t like making music about money and getting a deal off someone or ripping them off etc. Of course I need to be able to pay my bills, but I don’t like having to decide on taking a project based on money. Therefore I’d work for my legacy to inspire others to take care of each other and remember that music is a collaborative industry and it relies on there being many individuals to form the team. I want to see more integrity in the industry! Work for people that care as much about you as you do their project/vision; work for people you know well enough to know that they’re being genuine with you and be willing to compromise with them/them with you to grow together so that you’re working based off of passion and joy rather than resentment and feeling under-appreciated. Above that, I work to make my parents proud, that they’re investments felt worth it; I work to make my future wife and children proud, that I’ve led by example and motivated them to reach for their dreams. I want to leave behind a body of work that if a project has my name on it, the listener feels the reason I put all into the music. The joy is there; the passion is there and the emotion transcends the one dimensional speakers the music comes out of.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
All I know from my career is that spontaneity is the spice of life! When I have expected the least, probably the most has come. This isn’t mind blowing information, but the music industry, or any freelance business for that matter, is a relationship based industry. My greatest successes are due to being there for my best friends and looking out for each other. I can relate any of my my exciting projects or jobs I’ve worked on, like working at the MTV Awards for Chloe x Halle or working as mega producer, Charlie Heat’s, personal engineer has all just come down to having great friends that care about you the way you care about them. And then the flower blossoms. But of course, this doesn’t come without challenges and determination/perseverance. My biggest challenge stems back to the fact that I am Dutch born and an immigrant in the US. We moved around a lot when I was young, but we always kept our Dutch passports, so Coming to America (great movie btw!) brought the challenges of immigration itself. similarly the culture shock of understanding the traditions and lifestyle I walked into to work on the music I was so passionate about to deliver a compellingly authentic contribution to a project. Back the immigration side of things, for any that don’t know, it comes with a complications and hoops to jump through that make it easy to get taken advantage of or struggle to build momentum in your career. But being backed in a corner sometimes can really show you what you’re made of. Do you really love this? Is this worth it for you? For me, of course it was! The friends I made in music and continue to make; the power that music holds in this world and to be able to have a hand in that is priceless and something I could never give up. As a result, it forced me to be creative and dive into the depths of my skill set and make the most of the wonderful opportunities I’ve had and the experience I’ve built. I wouldn’t have had an article published in German magazine, Drums & Percussion, without the forced creativity; as well as, creating a product of my own, Bas’ Live Drum Samples. In the time of COVID-19, it is a struggle to rent out a studio and record drums, so I decided to take the drums I’ve recorded over the years in amazing studios and create a sample library out of them so that people can still make their project a reality with A grade drum sounds. So, to quote the cheesiest line possible, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I said this all to say, if you’re really passionate about what you do, you’ll be hungry to keep learning every day and growing yourself and your skill set every day. Therefore, when times get tough, you feel stuck in a rut and things are slowing down, you will be able to rack your brain and pull from that experience to find the next path of least resistance. That and make friends and be good to your friends!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My first instincts are always to show people the live music in town. I was extremely surprised to learn how many of your favorite musicians still play in town on a regular basis, whether it be in Hollywood or in the Valley etc. Obviously these jams were in a time pre-COVID, but my favorite live music spots were at the Seventy7 Lounge with Loud as Funk band on Sundays; Supersoul Mondays at Dirty Laundry or Tha Juice Joint at The Study on Mondays; and the Federal Bar has an amazing instrumental jam every Tuesday. Above that, assuming the guest is not Latin American of sorts, but the Mexican food is of course above the national average in the US and Pepper’s Mexican Grill in Sherman Oaks was my go to when I was working at KIDinaKORNER. Get the California Burrito! Other than that, I don’t think I know of many unique gems other than the treasure pieces of the entertainment industry’s history. Whether it be the large commercial studios where all your favorite albums were recorded or film sets, fancy malls etc. Lastly, I’ve found the hikes in LA surprisingly nice when I would’ve thought the city is a bit more of a concrete jungle. They’re an amazing getaway from the city while barely even leaving the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m very lucky to have made a lot of great friends throughout my life and career where I am always learning from many different great people, but if I had to pin down a chapter of my life, it would be my time at Berklee College of Music. There are obviously many great professors and mentors there as well. It was a never ending fountain of knowledge and experience, so if I had to pin in down to one individual, I would say I owe it most to my mentor Marcus Santos. Founder and leader of the world drumming community, Grooversity. Above teaching me about Brazilian drumming and musical history, he’s taught me everything I know about being a professional. His level of commitment, selflessness and leadership is something I admire and aspire to every day. He is a hidden gem in Somerville, MA and anyone who gets infected by his warm heart is left with it for life. Please check him out if you like smiling!
Adam Antenor-Cruz Gaby Alegro Boston Schulz