EXCLUSIVE Interview: BBC Star DJ Mary Anne Hobbs Throws "Volcano Refugee Party" in LA

BBC's Mary Ann Hobbs: LA is "the most exciting electronic scene on the planet"
BBC's Mary Ann Hobbs: LA is "the most exciting electronic scene on the planet"
Shaun Bloodworth

Further confirmation that it is a great time to be alive and digging beats in Los Angeles: BBC's star DJ Mary Anne Hobbs (aka "the first lady of bass") will be broadcasting the next two installments of her insanely influential radio show from our fair city of angels.

Skeptics (and Brooklynites) will probably say, "Sure, she's doing that because she's stuck in the States after playing Coachella and flights to Europe have been disrupted by the damn volcano." But that's not at all the case.

Hobbs has been a cheerleader for the LA beats scene for quite some time now, making a point of coming over in January 2009 specifically to check out on the ground all the hugely talented artists from the area that she was hearing about in the UK. She even produced a short film, West Coast Rocks, calling Los Angeles "the most exciting electronic scene on the planet"!

As for her upcoming, LA-themed shows, "the April 28th edition is called "Volcano Refugee Party" and will feature 20 minute back to back sets from electronic music's bleeding edge including Flying Lotus, Daedelus, Ras G, Tokimonsta, Teebs, and TAKE. The May 5th show will also be produced and live from LA and is called the "City Of Angels Special" featuring Matthew David, The Gaslamp Killer, Samiyam, Daddy Kev, and Nosaj Thing."

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Having such an important world-wide tastemaker become a local, we decided to give her a call and ask her a few questions about her plans and her forced (but happy) temporary relocation to the Best Coast:

How long have you been in LA now?

I've been here about 10 days and in that time we have moved 7 different times to very different houses, motels, tent, you name it. We've been on this kind of mission around the West Coast of America. We were supposed to come in to play the Coachella festival, so I was supposed to be in the US for 1 day basically and now it looks like I'm staying for 1 month.

But at least you made it for the festival. A lot of UK musicians were stranded over there.

I think my flight was the last flight out of London that made it all the way out to the West Coast. But obviously I packed for a day. So I had 1 change of clothes. I didn't have my computer with me. I had to go a buy one a couple of days ago if I'm gonna be working from here for a month now.

It's been pretty insane, but the response here on the West Coast has been amazing. I've already played a couple of extra shows in Los Angeles, the Low End Theory, the Bassface. We went all the way up to San Francisco on Friday to play a party called "The Gingerbread House," a huge warehouse rave over there. I've been lucky. I have a great family of friends on the West Coast who take very good care of me.

It's an exciting time. We're turning a global crisis into an extremely productive thrilling, exciting adventure!

You've been one of the biggest advocates in the UK of the West Coast scene and sound.

Absolutely. I heard quite a lot about this incredible family of artists operating out of the West Coast and I made it a mission to come over and investigate the scene in January 2009. That was the first time that I played the Low End Theory and I have to say that experience completely changed my life. It really radically affected the whole trajectory of my BBC show.

I put together a special called West Coast Rocks for the BBC live show and also made a film to accompany that program. The response to the show was completely overwhelming.

What was shocking was that in that one night in January 2009 at Low End Theory, is that I found more phenomenal music and absolutely incendiary young artists in that one evening than I had found in the previous six months looking all over the rest of the world.

I've become an advocate and evangelist for the whole Low End Theory family, the whole Brainfeeder crew and I guess you know the whole community of beat-builders in Los Angeles. They've become very dear to my heart and it is the best place in the world to become a refugee right now.

Will you be doing more live shows here or are you just going to be going the "Volcano Refugee Party" as a radio show?

We're gonna prerecord the show tomorrow at Sam XL's Pure Filth studio. He's responsible for the whole Bassface party and a huge number of things. He supplies the sound system for a whole bunch of events. We're gonna be putting the show together tomorrow in his house.

But then I have a whole series of dates in LA. I'm staying out here now. It's not practical to go home. I have some shows in May: Low End Theory on 5/12, LA Unified Launch Party at 3100 Club on 5/14. and the first Do-Over party with the Stones Throw guys on 5/16 at Crane's Hollywood Tavern. It would be the first time I played with those guys. I'm very excited.

After they couldn't schedule me on any reasonable flights, we thought it made sense to celebrate the fact that I'm a refugee in this incredible city. I couldn't be stranded in a greater place.

No So Long Mary Anne
No So Long Mary Anne
Shaun Bloodworth

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