Meet Tanner Ross

Basstown’s latest tech sensation; Dubfire at Avalon
By DAVID DAY  |  April 3, 2007

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Tanner Ross

You may not know the name TANNER ROSS just yet, but you will. Ross, a Berklee student making waves in the dance-music community, is drawing the ears of many, particularly with his wiggle-house remix of Claude VonStroke’s massive single “Who’s Afraid of Detroit?” He recently returned from Miami’s Winter Music Conference, and he wasn’t just a partygoer this time — he was a draw, playing at the wet and wild Dirty Bird party. “It was at the Beach Plaza on the rooftop,” he explains over the phone after a class in harmony. “There was rain during the day, so they thought it was going to be cancelled. Then Barclay [Crenshaw, a/k/a VonStroke] and all the kids from San Fran were like, fuck this, we’re going to make this party happen. So we set up the DJ booth, and they were worried about the rain so we were holding a tarp up whenever it would rain.”

Video of the party has even made its way onto YouTube. Ross, meanwhile, is studying composition, and he’s a born producer. “I’m still in the process of getting comfortable with DJing. I still get really nervous. Like, really nervous. When I played at the party, I had to drink like five drinks and let them sit in just to go on because the party was so mad. Living in Boston, you don’t really get a chance to see 300 people pulling their hair out right before you go on. So I’m like, ‘Shit, this is a serious situation. I gotta fuckin’ step up and do this shit proper.’ So my nerves were definitely jumpin’.”

Originally from New Jersey, Ross moved here for Berklee’s music-synthesis program. But his heart has always been in dance music, particularly house. “My mom bought me a drum machine for my 16th birthday, and that’s when I started making drum ’n’ bass. When I moved to Boston, I saw Fred Everything at a proper house night and it sort of changed the way I think about things. But now I’m being heavily influenced by Gui Boratto, the whole Ghostly/Spectral sound. It’s all completely evolving, you know? But when I work on music, I still can’t get away from that bouncy beat.”

Ross’s hyped remix of VonStroke is smooth and techno until about three and a half minutes in, when it starts to bounce. The track got him so much attention that his plate of future remixes is completely filled, with more original tracks coming on Dirty Bird and Dotbleep as well. The DJ invitations are also pouring in. “I’ve had offers to play in Australia, Brazil, London, Berlin, but school is so important for me right now. I’ll try and do a couple here and there.”

He really wants to play London, where his remixes have found their way to the influential radio show hosted by Graeme Sinden. An expert sound designer, Ross has made music for Splinter Cell 4 and other video games, but his remixing skills are being called upon by all quarters, particularly an expected remix of house epic “Lovelee Dae” by New Jersey’s Blaze. “I had already done a bootleg of it, and people liked it, so Om Records contacted me, and they were like, ‘Hey, we want you do a real mix.’ So they gave me the a cappella.”

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