Connor Schatzel remembers the exact moment his life changed. It was in 8th grade, by the pizza place down the street from school. His friend pulled out a cell phone, played “Nuke ‘Em” by Datsik, and then started doing some crazy dance—the likes of which Schatzel had never seen.

“I was so blown away by the combination of sounds and the culture behind it,” Schatzel says, “and that was just on iPhone speakers. When I heard it on a sub with an actual system, I was like, ‘Holy shit.’”

A few years later, he found himself squashed between moshing bodies at the EDC bassPOD. Datsik stormed the stage and dropped “Nuke ‘Em” like a bomb. Schatzel went home slack–jawed, determined to figure out how to make those grimy sounds and erratic rhythms.

“I’ve met (Datsik) multiple times,” Schatzel says, better known to bass fans as hot up-and-comer LUMBERJVCK. “I’m on his radar musically and as a friend. I actually have three songs I’m writing for his label, Firepower, right now, so it’s definitely come full circle. It’s a pretty crazy feeling.”

Datsik isn’t the only dynamo taking notice. Schatzel recently released “Name Bran,” a massive collaboration with 12th Planet, soon to be followed by a full EP. Six months ago, he released an EP with Le Castle Vania, You Know My Name, and he’s about to finish a remix for Getter. He takes it all in stride, approaching each collaborative moment as a learning opportunity as well as a chance to showcase his skills. He hopes to be part of the second generation of bassheads breathing new life into what he fears has become a slightly faded genre.

“Being also a listener, it’s become redundant to me, too,” he says of his beloved bass genre. “Just hearing everything that’s being made, a lot of stuff is all the same, so you always strive to be different. It’s more of a passion for me, so it’s not like I’m going to give up on [dubstep] just because some people are making ‘weak music.’”

The signature LUMBERJVCK sound is a combination of groovy basslines, raunchy textures and, believe it or not, forest noises.

“Chainsaws, birds, wind, rain—anything you’d hear in a forest,” he explains. “I put that all in the song; it’s just in the background.”

Schatzel didn’t wait long after leaving that pizza place years ago to get crackin’. He started DJing in high school, honing his skills at fellow students’ house parties on weekends. When his all-boy Catholic school found out about his extracurricular activities, they offered him a role as official school DJ. It was strange at the time, but he took it. Why not?

“For the most part, it was very cut and dry, Top 50—and some Skrillex,” he laughs. “I tried to trick everyone into getting into it. At the time, no one really gave a shit about EDM. It’s funny, because now that I’m out of high school, all those people that didn’t understand it then are the ones that come to my shows [now].”

After graduation, he forwent traditional university in favor of the Icon Collective Music Production School in Los Angeles. He spent every waking moment studying the craft, and when that program ended, he continued, sleeping even less. He practically lived in the studio, constantly making new music and desperately trying to curate an online presence. For five months, he worried it would never happen—and then he got an email from a potential manager. Three weeks later, he was signed, and that was it.

Schatzel has a long way to go before becoming a legend, but he now has the attention of his heroes, and that’s a pretty good start. He’s conscious of each milestone, and that awareness keeps him humble, all while pushing him closer to his dreams. Right now, he’s enjoying the views of his first worldwide tour. When he comes home, it’ll be to play the raucous Bassrush stage at Beyond Wonderland SoCal, his first time on the bill of an Insomniac event—the distinction of which is not lost on him.

“The inspiration [to do this as a career] started by going to an Insomniac event,” Schatzel says. “For me to be playing one, it’s definitely a really spiritual miracle for me. It’s kind of crazy that I’ve made it [this] far.”

LUMBERJVCK Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2016 Mix Track List:

LUMBERJVCK “Click Clvck”
Zomboy “Airborne” (MUST DIE! Remix)
Datsik “Scum”
Omar LinX “Back to You” (LUMBERJVCK Remix)
Getter “Suh Dude” (LUMBERJVCK Remix)
OmegaMode “Space Junk”
12th Planet & LUMBERJVCK “Name Bran”
Trampa “Hit ‘Em”
Herobust “Dirty Work”
Kai Wachi & LUMBERJVCK “Dukkha”
Flosstradamus ft. Lil Jon “Prison Riot”
Datsik & 12th Planet – ID
Snails “Murda Sound”
EH!DE & Adair “Police Problem”
Torro Torro “Make a Move” (Skrillex Remix)
Torro Torro “Make a Move” (Skrillex Remix) [Crystallize Flip]

LUMBERJVCK performs at Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2016 Saturday, March 19, at the San Manuel Amphitheater & Grounds in San Bernardino, CA.

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