Is Bassnectar Staging a Direct-to-Fans Comeback?
Three years after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced and amid an ongoing lawsuit, the producer appears to be taking a page from Louis C.K.'s playbook.
After three years of silence and in the midst of an ongoing legal battle, Bassnectar (real name Lorin Ashton), appears to be staging a comeback.
On Tuesday evening, a new mix was uploaded to the Bassnectar Mixcloud account, with the producer’s official Instagram account wiped clean around the same time. Most significantly, however, is a new website, UnlockTheOtherSide.com, which went live around the same time and features the signature Bassnectar logo. Fans discovered the password protected site — which was live Tuesday evening but is currently offline — with copy describing it as “the new home for the Bassnectar universe & beyond,” according to screenshots reviewed by Billboard.
Access for a membership to the site, according to additional screenshots, costs $150 with an “early bird” discount being offered for $100. Membership promises access to “tickets to curated events,” “exclusive access to music,” archived content, “in-depth conversations,” “unreleased mixtapes and radio shows” delivered monthly, behind-the-scene access, remastered albums, a new album and more.
Despite these developments — which have spurred chatter in online Bassnectar communities on Reddit, Twitter and a longstanding private Bassnectar Discord channel — there has been no official announcement of a return from the artist himself. Ashton’s last public remark was a social media post on July 3, 2020, that has since been deleted, addressing sexual misconduct allegations made against him at the time and announcing an indefinite hiatus. He has not performed any known shows or released any new music since — until now.
On April 6, 2021, Ashton was sued by two women, who allege that he engaged in sexual abuse of minors, child pornography and human trafficking. Just a month later, two more women joined the lawsuit. (One of these women who joined the suit anonymously later removed herself when the court required her to reveal her legal name in order to proceed.)
Ashton, alongside the four other defendants named in the case (his management, label and others), filed motions to dismiss. On Jan. 11, 2022, Judge Aleta A. Trauger granted all motions to dismiss except for Ashton’s, which was denied. The case is currently in discovery with a target trial date set for September.
Ashton now appears to be taking a comeback strategy with his Bassnectar project that goes directly to fans without reliance on intermediaries such as record labels and promoters, who may be reluctant to work with him. That tactic has already proven successful for Louis C.K., the comic who similarly stepped back from the public eye in 2017 after facing numerous sexual misconduct allegations. (Unlike Ashton, C.K. has not faced any criminal or civil charges.) Three years later — the same length of time as Bassnectar’s hiatus — in April 2020, C.K. announced a new comedy special called Sincerely Louis CK that he released directly to fans through his own website, with no advance notice. That album went on to win a Grammy for best comedy album last year and the comedian is performing at Madison Square Garden next week. He continues to release material strictly on LouisCK.com.
As for Bassnectar, Ashton’s fans appear thrilled about the return of an artist who for many represented the apex of the bass music realm. “THE KING IS BACK!! Happy Nectar Day to all the Fam!!!,” posted one fan to Twitter on Tuesday.
A representative from Ashton did not respond to Billboard‘s request for comment at time of publishing.