Photos: Tessa Paisan
Looking back on the past few years, it’s a little funny to remember when people claimed dubstep was dead. The genre’s classic roots have sprouted into a smörgåsbord of bass-fueled subsets, most notably the realm of experimental or freeform bass. We’ve seen some of the dons like Liquid Stranger and Space Jesus expand the boundaries of its sound in recent years, and there’s another artist who’s quickly on his way to stand side by side with these bass connoisseurs. Hailing from Michigan, PEEKABOO has successfully caught the attention of producers, fans, and everyone in between who are tuned into the bass movement. From humble beginnings as a progressive house producer in high school, PEEKABOO made the leap and relocated to Los Angeles in 2017 with a dream to pursue a new kind of sound — successfully, at that.
In April 2017, PEEKABOO released a three-track EP titled Revenge, introducing the world to his single “Wobbly.” Shortly after, the track got into the hands of Bassnectar, and he reached out to PEEKABOO to express his love for the song. Bassnectar dropped “Wobbly” during his set at Electric Forest, and PEEKABOO saw the results immediately. “I saw the track surpass 10,000 plays, then 20,000 plays, and so on,” he said in an interview with River Beats. “He played it out in pretty much every set of his throughout the summer, which I’m still super grateful about to this day.” Today, the track has amassed over 120,000 plays (and it’s available for free download). With a newfound fire behind his name, PEEKABOO had all the tools to shoot for the stars and land among them, too.
It’s the dream of countless producers to work with Bassnectar, and thanks to his love for “Wobbly,” Bassnectar asked PEEKABOO to collaborate on an original tune. Off Reflective Part 2, the producers came together for “Disrupt The System” featuring Azeem. Much like “Wobbly,” this tune features that crispy, fuzzy bass handcrafted by PEEKABOO and elevated by Bassnectar. With this collaboration, PEEKABOO ended 2017 with quite a bang. When an artist is at this point in their career, it’s crucial to keep that fire alive, and PEEKABOO completely knocked us out at the beginning of the new year.
The outer space bass frenzy commenced when PEEKABOO released Imposters EP via Liquid Stranger’s Wakaan imprint. We were immediately hypnotized by one of its singles, “Arrival,” where he demonstrates his insane ability to make electronic music painfully theatrical, inciting feelings of shock and terror through intricately-designed basses and arrangements. Imposters EP received praise from listeners and tastemakers alike, and PEEKABOO landed a handful of bookings following the success of the release. Just a few months later, PEEKABOO returned with another four-track offering through Wakaan, titled Maniac EP. With this release, he did more than just impress the bass fanatics with more devastating tunes: he solidified his signature sound, locking in what’s known now as the authentic PEEKABOO style.
It’s impressive to see PEEKABOO’s output in such a short amount of time. He’s never short of a fresh idea, even after unleashing a slew of gobsmacking productions since his rise to the forefront of the bass scene. PEEKABOO has a flair for the dramatic in that he embraces the use of shock value within his creations — you can find moments like these on tracks like “Maniac” and his most recent release with G-REX, “Babatunde.” When a DJ drops a track like “Babatunde” in their set, the whole crowd reacts as if they’ve just been smacked in the face with the force of the unknown. It’s divorced from the typical dubstep structure, putting all of its weight into the empty space and aiming its attention at the crunchy, alarm-like basses.
Just two weekends ago, I attended Lost Lands for a weekend of nothing but bass, and I was elated to see that PEEKABOO was scheduled to perform in the late night sound camps of the festival. His set took place on Saturday night, and I wasn’t at all surprised to find out there was no room for us to watch his set from the side of the stage. What’s more, it was an absolute mob scene out in the crowd and my chances of finding a suitable spot to watch his set were slim to none. I wasn’t even mad, though — amassing a turnout such as this one deserves praise in the highest order. Following this performance, PEEKABOO announced a slew of tour dates around the country (find dates below), and we’re looking forward to seeing him rock the hell out of bassheads across America.
There’s a lot of experimental bass flooding our digital streaming platforms today, but PEEKABOO’s voice stands out in a sea of wobbles. Dedicated to translating his own personal language into a DAW, he’s bending and breaking the limits of electronic music through high-frequency commotion and theatrical inspiration. I’m convinced there’s a story behind each and every song produced by PEEKABOO, and whether it’s about an alien invasion or a deranged madman, we want to stick around to hear how it ends.