Dream with me if you will… you’re out on a hike with some friends venturing into a giant and mysterious forest on a nice, warm summer day. The path you’re walking upon is stunning and you find yourself stopping to stare in wonder at its depths. On one of those stops of yours, you catch yourself looking at a monstrous, beautiful Sugar Maple tree at length. You look behind you to see if your friends are there and they’ve disappeared. Hastily, you start wandering through all the Maple trees to see where they’d gone. Things aren’t looking good and you start to panic, when suddenly… you feel a rumble. That rumble gets thicker as you walk further and further into the forest and the trees around you start to shake. You walk towards what seems to be a clearing when suddenly you come upon an enormous man donned in all plaid with a beanie upon his head wielding a mighty, sharp axe. He strikes a long branch down and when it hits the floor, it sends waves of bass throughout the whole forest. Your ever vivid and curious dream has led you to the legendary, powerful creature, the lumberjack.
And it is from that fabled individual which 23 year-old bass/trap music producing, Southern California native, Connor Schatzel, derives his alias, LUMBERJVCK. After mastering multiple instruments such as guitar, piano and drums at an early age, Schatzel chose to take things to the next level and attend the widely renowned music production school, Icon Collective. After posting his first track on SoundCloud in 2012, he started to gain traction by producing not only dubstep and bass music, but trap as well – both of which he has championed. In 2014 he produced the song, “Click Clvck”, which was rinsed heavily on Skrillex’s ‘Mothership Tour’ and it was clear then to all that Schatzel was onto something special with his LUMBERJVCK project.
Just like the famed creature from which he procured his name, he can clear the trees with his heavy trap and demolish forest floors with his sharp dubstep sounds. He also launched Insomniac’s new record label, Bassrush Records, to much success and acclaim from some of the biggest names in the scene such as Datsik, Excision, Pegboard Nerds, Bassnectar, and even the Mad Decent man himself, Diplo. LUMBERJVCK has continued to decimate the bass world with his releases and frequent touring with 12th Planet. 2017 has been huge for Schatzel, playing on the Excision Paradox Tour, the SMOG Tour and a collection of headlining shows and a few of his own tours all over the world. And this is just the beginning for him, not only does he have the ability to be extremely versatile in the bass music scene with his tracks, but his thunderous axe of a sound will continue to chop your mind to pieces until you’re donning all plaid and breaking your neck to his mad filth for the rest of your days to come.
I was able to catch up with LUMBERJVCK while he made his way through Philadelphia for a b2b with Ponicz.
So why the name “LUMBERJVCK”? And what ignited your love of plaid?
Honestly I picked the name LUMBERJVCK because it basically came with its own platform. I had something to truly build off of. Yes, its already and existing idea, but I was definitely able to make it my own and give my fans something to be a part of by wearing plaid to my shows and relating anything forest-like to me and my brand.
You grew up in Arcadia, CA playing guitar, piano and drums. Do you feel like knowing these instruments helped you become the producer you are today? What was your favorite to play and why?
I definitely think it helped with my production skills that I have now. I learned how these instruments worked down to the core and that was just transferred to a computer screen. Guitar was for sure my favorite to play. I like that I can just pick it up and play whenever I want. With that being said, the drums were the biggest help in understanding how to make bass music rhythmic and have groove.
You attended the illustrious Icon Collective music production school in Burbank, CA – what was that like for you? What was the one big thing you took away from that experience?
Attending Icon was very different when I went. There were 15 or so kids in my class at that time. I had a lot of one-on-one attention with my instructors and really had the opportunity to grow as an artist. There was a lot of freedom. I also picked up so many tips and tricks from my classmates that I think really helped me to learn more than what was being taught in the classroom.
When/what was the moment you said to yourself “this is it… I’ve really hit it big”? (song played out, track release, label, etc.)
Honestly, I haven’t really said these words to myself yet. I think I have a lot of growing to do and that makes me really excited for the future. But if I had to pick one of the moments in my career so far to be most proud of, it would have to be standing in the BassPod booth playing my track “Old Gregg” and seeing the pyrotechnics go off at the drop. That was the moment I knew I chose the right career for myself.
12th Planet is someone you work with a lot and b2b’d many times, how did you two come together? What’s the best advice he’s given you about this crazy lifestyle?
We came to be friends through another mutual friend. When I met him, he already knew of me which was really awesome. Then after that, my manager got me into a few shows of his to hang out and we’ve been friends ever since. He has taught me a lot through our tour together. Since it was my first one, I wasn’t prepared for the constant back to back shows, only being in my own bed for two nights a week, and staying up all night just to sleep on the plane. Some of the best advice given to me from 12th Planet himself was to put my sweaty show clothes in the plastic bag from the ice containers in hotel rooms. That way, my wet clothes stay separate from my dry the rest of the trip.
“Click Clvck” was a huge success for you back in 2014, which was heavily rinsed on Skrillex’s Mothership tour. It has very heavy synths but its got those thick underlying dubstep sounds too. What was the process like for making this song?
All of the sounds in that song are gun samples from the Halo video game series. I processed them all the same way I would have processed a dubstep sound. The vocal hook came to me one day while I was just sitting at my computer. Nothing more to it, I just came up with the lyrics, recorded them into my laptop microphone and a legend was born.
You’ve got some dedicated followers, the “JVCKSQUAD” – what’s your best fan encounter story?
The best fan encounter was when I was in Montana and a glassblower gave me a personally hand made blown glass chainsaw. I have it in my studio and I think its so unique.
Who are some of your favorite dubstep artists to listen to?
To be honest, I don’t listen to that much when I’m not working or at a show. But I really enjoy HeRobust, even though he’s not a straight up dubstep producer. I take a lot of inspiration from the unique-ness of his sound design.
Last year at EDC, you went b2b with Protohype and 12th Planet, which was one of the most talked about sets at the Basspod – how did you prepare for this 3-way b2b? What was your favorite moment?
We prepared the week before at the Smog Compound (aka 12th planets loft). We’ve been friends for a while so there wasn’t a lot of practice necessary, just a lot of having fun and throwing down. My favorite moment had to be when I hit my dougie during one of my songs on the booth.
On July 28th at Bassrush LA, you’re premiering a new LUMBERJVCK live show; can you tell us a little more about this?
I can’t, but you should come to the show and find out! It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and I’m very proud of it. (See https://www.facebook.com/LUMBERJVCK/ for further reference)