Cameron Reel is best known for his face melting bass playing for Indy’s number one jam band the ‘Twin Cats’. On February 10th, he will step away from his bass guitar and debut his solo electronic project ‘Bad Dagger’ at the Vogue for IndyMojo’s BoomBox show. Cameron has been quietly producing electronic music since late 90’s early 2000’s, and has decided to finally unleash his brand of flavor onto the masses.
Q: Where did your obsession for music come from, or what is some of the background that got you to this point today?
Cam: “What really started my passion for music was electronic. My first big influence was ‘Boards of Canada’ out of Warp Records. To me, the stuff they played was way ahead of its time. I also liked ‘Aphex Twin’ and like artists, this was around 1995 when electronic music really blew up. The thing about it was by and large, no one really knew how they were doing it. Turntables, OK but how? It really sparked my curiosity, I started digging around, reading trade papers and magazines doing research trying to figure out what was going on and how it was produced.”
“It wasn’t just about electronic music. At the same time I had a guitar, which I was horrible with in the beginning but would still play. Couple of years later, I was at a buddy’s house that had gotten a bass (guitar) for Christmas. We would play around with our guitars and I fell in love with the bass guitar immediately. The tones were so low and thick; I started to make the correlation to the bass lines that I was drawn to in electronic music. So I started to play bass and that was pretty much all I did while in high school, play the bass.”
“After about a year and a half when I was comfortable playing, I was in a Grateful Dead cover band with some friends that did some gigs at the Emerson Theatre for little while until we broke up. Which was ok because I got tired of playing covers. I had then found an instructor by the name of Josh Brunner who is quite possibly the best bass player on earth, but he taught me how to slap bass and just about everything else I know about playing the bass. Around this time I was attending IUPUI where I majored in new media, a program that I am still involved with today. This teacher was talking about electronic music production, and it kind of clicked with me and kicked me back into where I was when I had first found electronic music. At the time some new production programs had come out like ‘Fruity Loops’ and ‘Reason’. Because of that teacher, I absolutely fell in love with the Reason production program.”
“Ironically, I was playing in a band called ‘MadCap’ at the time and one night I invited the lead singer, Brandon Wright over to hang out and play around with ‘Reason’ and we decided to do this side project called ‘San Zion’. This was the very first time I was actually involved in producing electronic tracks. We went through several different incarnations with that and did an EP for a label called ‘Reap and Sow’ out of San Francisco. Brandon eventually moved out to California, and I went out there for a little while and was in a band called ‘The Fuse’ but ended up coming back to Indy and kind of got back into playing the bass, and then obviously ‘The Twin Cats’. Playing bass is a lot of fun. Holding an instrument and the interaction with the crowd is great, but there is something to be said about the virtual instruments like ‘Reason’ and ‘Ableton’.”
Q: Why do solo projects now?
Cam: “Part of it is because I really wanted to exercise those electronic muscles more. Technically, I have been producing electronic music longer than I have been playing live. I really needed a kind of outlet and I think now is a good time because there is an explosion of electronic artists and lots of new listeners out there. I’ve been producing electronic long enough for what, so my tracks can sit on a shelf. I want to put myself out there, and try and get my piece of the electronic pie.”
Q: What’s behind the name ‘Bad Dagger’?
Cam: “Was a half joke name that Brandon and I use to play under back in California. We had a gig at this coffee/art bar out there. My manager Lade was putting the pressure on me to shit or get off the pot for the ‘BoomBox’ show and we were throwing out names and ‘Bad Dagger’ just seemed right.”
Q: What kind of sound can we expect from ‘Bad Dagger’?
Cam: “I would rather talk about what influences the sound, I don’t really subscribe to naming what I play. So, there is definitely a house element to it, little big beat and crunk element as well. There will be kind of an ethereal sound-scape type wash in the background that came from my influences from ‘Boards of Canada’. You will hear some driving grinding bass and I do use some ‘Dubstep’ wobble every once in a while cause I really love that sound. Some of my big influences are ‘Deadmau5’, ‘Pretty Lights’, ‘Daft Punk’, and ‘Archnemesis’.”
Q: What are your thoughts on the comparison between live jam scene and electronic scene here in Indy?
Cam: “They are starting to bleed together quick. It’s because of the festival scenes that have been happening. People are looking for something new and the jam scene wasn’t really involving as it use to be. At these festivals the electronic scene started to creep in and you had all these jam fans that would wander over to the electronic tent and be blown away. Then you started seeing live bands using ‘Ableton’ in their acts, like ‘Papadosio’ and ‘The Coop’. Live musicians started to realize that there is room for everything, the two should just marry and get the best of both worlds. Dancing is dancing and feeling good, is feeling good and that’s why I feel that they are bleeding together.”
Q: Where do you think the Indy scene is right now, not just electronic or jam but in general?
Cam: “I think it has come a long, long way in the last decade. I remember when the only music that was getting any press, was punk music. There was a huge punk scene here, not that I was ever a big punk fan but I do take elements from it time to time when getting creative. I think that now the population has grown, the culture has grown up a lot and so all of the scenes are mixing and people’s tastes are changing. I remember (Twin Cats) doing Q95’s battle of the bands. We’re like a progressive jam funk band with electronic tendencies, and the band that was right before us was serious hard rock and both crowds liked eachother. We got compliments from both crowds saying we came here for this band but now were fans of yours. Everyone is starting to realize you don’t necessarily have to lock down your identity depending on what you listen to, you are who you are. It takes fore runners to give you the opportunity to listen to different types of music in the same venue to push the envelope for this scene or culture. People like Jason King and Matt Ramsey have been those fore runners lately. I personally want to thank them for pushing me and giving such a great opportunity to showcase my electronic project.”
If you are unfamiliar with Cameron’s work on the bass guitar, check out the website for the
Twin Cats for a taste of some face melting funk. Cameron is posed to become a double threat artist, and is ready to finally introduce his production talents in the electronic ring. Only a few have heard his brand of electronic, and I have an exclusive tidbit for you to listen and prepare your ears for a new taste of Bad Dagger. Check out the BoomBox page and get ready to shake what your mama gave ya. See you at the Vogue February 10th for a chance to hear something a little different.
For more info on the show, or to get pre-sales, click here…