With releases on lucrative labels like Hysteria, Spinnin’, and Dim Mak records, Sean Rodela has come a long way from the East L.A. tracks he grew up beside. Known by his stage name Bare, Rodela is reveling in the fact that despite his recent switch from dubstep to big-room house music, he’s still playing in front of 60,000+ fans at EDC’s Circuit Grounds and signing their arms so they can get his named tattooed on themselves. We recently caught up with Rodela to chat about his musical shift, old-school raves, and what he’s looking forward to at Nocturnal. Oh, and he put together an exclusive mix for Insomniac.com that highlights his new direction. Enjoy!
The hardest thing for me is to have a day when I’m not doing any work.
Did your love for electronic music originally stem from bass music?
Back in the day, I used to be in rock bands. I played guitar in a band with my dad and bands with my friends—even some crazy black metal bands. I was all rockered out, and one day my buddies were like, “Let’s go to a rave.” If you’ve been raving here in L.A., you probably know what the Masterdome is. So I went to the dome, and I was hooked. I initially got into this scene because of house music. I had raved for a solid year just to house music, back when “Better off Alone” and tracks like that were big. I started trying to make drum & bass and what was kind of hardstyle at the time. I was just doing it as a hobby for a long time. Then dubstep came around, and I thought it was kind of what drum & bass lines sound like when they retire. You know, it still has that crazy bass, but at a slower tempo. That’s pretty much what I was making at the time, and it caught on.
Were your fans receptive to the Evolution of Bare video?
I think they liked it. Some fans who were confused on what was going on were better guided by the video but liked it for the most part. It’s a really good video. We wanted to push the whole transition from the bass music scene to the house scene. It did a really good job of describing it. It’s more of a journey than just a party video of people dancing and stuff. I mean, you see a lot of those. This one kind of had a story. It was more personal.
Will you be changing your handle from BARESTEP to something house-related?
I’d like to just put it as @BAREMUSIC or something, to be honest. As long as I can keep my little artist check, though. I worked hard to get that little blue check, bro. But I’m not going to be stuck to one genre forever. Who knows what I’m going to be writing in the next five to six years. I like the freedom as a musician to explore music and what I’m liking at the time. If you keep writing the same thing for years, you’re going to get tired of it. Before I was a DJ, I used to test video games, but as cool as it sounds, we would spend months on the same game. When we would get a new game it would be like, “Ya, this is sick!” So it’s kind of like that. It’s all about evolving.
What has been one of the most career-changing shows for you so far?
This year’s EDC [Las Vegas], pretty much. Nobody knew I was going to play, since I did a surprise set. I think it was the most people I’ve played for in my life. That whole night, I tried to have a good time after, but I was just in shock. It was so awesome. I woke up the next day like, “Dude, did that really happen?” It’s nuts because I’ve been going to the Insomniac parties since I started raving. I grew up going to all of the EDCs, and now it’s just bigger and better. It’s definitely the rock shows of the times.
Who’s someone you used to look up to, attending these raves, that you’re now working with?
Getting to work with Will.i.am has been pretty crazy. It’s been almost a year now, and they gave me the keys to the spot. I love it over there. They call it The Future, and this place looks like a spaceship. We’ve been doing crazy stuff. The first song I did was almost like a country thing that goes into trap, and it flows perfectly. The second one is on a European Lexus commercial that has an older, ’80s sci-fi feel to it. That thing is really awesome. Then the last one we did was more like your usual hip-hop/trap stuff, which was fun for me because I thought that’s all I was going to write when I went over there.
You make your Nocturnal Wonderland debut next week. What are you most looking forward to?
I’m really excited about it. I’ve been to a lot of Nocturnals, but I think this year is going to be the best one. The lineup is really good, too. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of the artists that are playing, like Clockwork, Bingo Players, Audien, Martin Garrix, R3hab, and Twoloud. Plus, they have camping. I played at the campgrounds at EDC Chicago with Crizzly and a few other people on the little boat art cart. It looked like it was dope. I would do it if I had the time.
What’s next for this hard-working #TEDDYBARE aspiring to be the next Hardwell?
I’ve got this Nicky Romero “Feet on the Ground” trap remix and my second release on his Protocol Recordings. I’m working on a remix right now for Steve Aoki for his new album Neon Future, and an L.A. Riots remix on Dim Mak. I’m doing another collab with Mercer soon. I was talking with Sandro Silva; we’re trying to get something going. I’m really stoked on that. Also doing one with Junkie Kid and Brazabelle. Then I’m working on two originals at the same time. The hardest thing for me is to have a day when I’m not doing any work. I feel so guilty. I have this Xbox I haven’t played in almost a year. I just feel like, “I could be playing these games, but where’s it going to get me?” The dream is to write a song that everyone knows the lyrics to. That would be great.