Promoter Joe Borusiewicz is expanding the scope of local underground bass music

Learning the bass-ics: Brett “Slugworth” Davis debuts the KMI QuNeo 3D Controller to a crowd during Bleach at Beauty Bar on January 7.
Photo: L.E. Baskow
Max Plenke

For the past three-odd years, Joe Borusiewicz has had a hand in everything from rave-like events to a monstrous bass show with EDC producer Insomniac to a booking arrangement with Hard Rock Hotel’s nightlife and daylife venues to the Extreme Thing music festival bass stage, which he’ll curate for the third consecutive year this March.

Which is to say, if there’s been a big, absurdly ambitious bass event, all-ages or otherwise, and it’s gone well, it was probably the handiwork of the sultan of thump himself.

“We’ve been leaning into the bass music for a decade-plus, but [before] it wasn’t feasible because the music hadn’t caught on,” he says. “Think of what happens in different genres of rock. When something gets really popular, people reach deeper for things they haven’t heard yet, and that’s when you find what’s good. Now we have the freedom to push this, and we don’t want people to forget where it came from or where it could potentially go.”

At 8:15 p.m. on a Tuesday, I’m standing at the precipice of that potential inside Beauty Bar, where tattooed jocks, recovering hip-hop addicts and synth nerds sit in on the equivalent of a bass-music IT course. About 30 attendees are learning everything from tech to history to politics in 30-minute group mentoring sessions kickstarting Bleach, a monthly promotion created for the betterment of a generation of noise junkies and complemented with a rumbling, late-night DJ party.

Bleach DJ Event at Beauty Bar

Call the following hyperbolic, I don’t care: Bleach is ushering in the new generation of Vegas DJs. Borusiewicz, the promoter who has launched bass events all over the Valley since the late ’90s, has finally figured out, without necessarily realizing it, how to find himself the latest, most underground and roots-respecting DJs in town: He’s building them.

“We got the idea of inviting local producers and DJs to come in and have a face-to-face discussion about producing and coming up in the scene,” he says.

This month’s Bleach industry participants include Grammy-nominated producer Luca Pretolesi (aka DJ Digital Boy), Live Nation Senior Talent Buyer Paul McGuigan and Hatcha, who constantly shows up as a pioneering figure of dubstep. And they’re just going to come hang out. “We’re having them come in and talk about what it takes to be noticed,” Borusiewicz says. “They’ll talk about the history of the sound and where it came from, and everyone can learn from them in a casual environment.”

Skip back three paragraphs to that thing about potential. Because there’s more. Ravealation’s 18-plus events at Hard Rock Live have become increasingly popular, partly due to Borusiewicz’s help; its New Year’s weekend party was a sellout. And Borusiewicz is negotiating his participation in larger ventures—namely, another festival and a new club-booking contract. That’s because he, unlike an alarming percentage of promoters in the Valley, understands something crucial:

“It needs to be about the sound, not the headliner,” he says. “We have to move beyond headliners. It’s about the experience, which is obviously the whole EDC thing. You have to get away from things you know. If you like the music, you like the music and a good DJ is a good DJ. It’s a matter of pushing the content over the headliner and hoping people catch on.”

Days before we spoke, Borusiewicz produced the local date for Planet of the Drums, a touring event featuring the most popular drum ’n’ bass DJs in the country. It happened at OBA, a 250-capacity lounge above House of Blues, and Borusiewicz was given eight days notice to put the show together. No time for fliers, barely enough time for social media. “In two days there were over 300 [Facebook] RSVPs,” he says. “It was sold out. It was very, very sold out.” Because this is his wheelhouse. This is what he does.

Bleach February 11; producer session, 8 p.m., free with RSVP; DJ party, 9:30 p.m., $10; Beauty Bar, 598-3757.

  • Headlining will be Mustard, who’s having a moment with the recent release of ‘Perfect Ten,’ his highest-charting album ever.

  • Their visuals are second to none—starry light installations are central to the group’s performances.

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