It’s been a rapid rise to dubstep fame for 24-year-old bicycle mechanic Travis Egner-Williams, who only adopted his LabRat alias within the last four years. “A lot of my pull is thanks to the Internet and being able to get my music out everywhere,” he explains. According to Egner-Williams, his fan base extends as far as Germany and Russia.
“People message me in different languages and I have to Google translate it,” he marvels. Though he adds with a laugh, “A lot of people think I’m a lot bigger deal than I am.” He has remixes of an assortment of artists, including The xx, Chris Brown and Junior Jack, and he’s pumped out two innovative EPs: 2011’s Test Subject and 2013’s Strange Nights. What keeps LabRat at the top of his game is his meditative nature and inability to settle into a groove. “I’m always in like a permanent renaissance,” he admits. “I’m always changing what I’m trying to do.” It’s that fearlessness that birthed LabRat. Egner-Williams, who played in a metal band in high school, decided one day that it was time to delve into more dance-oriented electronic music. But it wasn’t until he attended Earthdance in Willits, Calif., following a breakup, that he developed a passion for it. “I found some people playing [dubstep] and I was like, ‘What is this stuff?!’ And pretty much ever since then, I was infected.” When developing his own sound, Egner-Williams says, “I just try to expand my sources as much as possible,” citing the Bay Area hip-hop radio station KMEL as inspiration, as well as artists like A. Skillz and Slynk, who he admires for their blend of funk and electronic—something he himself is attempting to do more (look up “Fuse” on YouTube). “Dubstep [in general] and the stuff I make is a very right-place-right-time kind of thing,” he reflects. “That’s why I’m trying to widen my musical variety—to be able to play to anyone at any kind of time.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $10/adv, $15/door. 603-2294.