Night Bass label boss AC Slater and groovy house tastemaker Bleu Clair join forces for “Green Light (feat. Kate Wild),” which dropped August 13. The piano house record boasts elevated vocals, infectious bass lines, upbeat sounds and playful synths. Indeed “Green Light” proves to be an anthemic track designed for pure dance floor euphoria.
Here, AC Slater and Bleu Clair took the time to speak with Forbes about “Green Light,” how they crossed paths in Jakarta in 2018, which artists have made the biggest impact on the music they make and more.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Lisa Kocay: Can you tell me about your single together, “Greenlight”?
AC Slater: “We talked about doing a [collaboration]. I had this kind of piano riff thing—a little rough idea. I sent it over to him, and he put his little Bleu Clair magic on it with the cool drums, everything, the disco stabs and just spiced it up a bit. Then I was just like, ‘Wow, that was quick and easy.’ It was such a good groove. We really wanted to get vocals on it, so we got Kate Wild, who wrote and performed all the vocals, and she absolutely killed it. It literally came out so well. We just fine tuned it a little bit. It was actually out of a lot of the [collaborations] I’ve done, probably one of the easiest. Usually it’s not so smooth.”
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Bleu Clair: “It was quick, though. I think we didn’t take up more than two weeks.”
AC Slater: “We were mostly waiting for it because I just had a baby kind of around the same time, so it was more like me finding the time to work on it. So he did it pretty quick. Once we got the vocals, he took the vocals first and then gave them back to me. It was pretty quick—like pretty fast. I think it’s such a cool piano house vibe, but I think it’s really unique compared to a lot of the other traditional sort of piano house [music]. It’s got a bit of edge to it, it’s a bit rougher but still happy and bouncy—really, really different, but familiar at the same time.”
Kocay: How did you two initially get connected? I know you said that you two had been talking about doing a collaboration, but was there a specific thing that sparked the idea of collaborating together?
AC Slater: “I don’t remember. I’ve been playing his music for like the past year. I was doing a lot of Twitch streams, and I was getting promos and stuff. I was just really into his music.”
Bleu Clair: “We started talking when you followed my Twitter, and we started talking on [direct message]. I sent you some music, and then we ended up making a track together.”
AC Slater: “So I just [direct messaged] him, so [it was] pretty organic. The crazy thing about us collaborating is really wild. So I played in Jakarta in 2018 at this club called…what was it called?”
Bleu Clair: “FABLE.”
AC Slater: “FABLE. Even like here at that time, my style of deejaying was pretty popular, but not as big as certain places in America or in the world—like that style was not that popular. So I didn’t know what to expect going into Indonesia to play in Jakarta. It was cool, the club was good and everything. But it was definitely not like…you could maybe confirm that it was not the most popular type of music in Jakarta. I was there and my wife was there with me, and it was a bit intimidating. Jakarta is a huge, super mega city—like super packed and intense. We were just kind of like, ‘There’s a lot going on.’ We get to the club, and it was pretty good. But the thing that really made the show memorable for me was these two guys in the front just like going absolutely ape s***. It was Bleu Clair, and this other guy, OOTORO, who has also signed some records to my Night Bass, my label.
“So I have videos on my phone of [Bleu Clair], like rocking out and singing along. And he has a picture of us together after the show. It’s just wild to me that now, three-and-a-half years later, [we’re] together and we’re on the other side of the planet—and it’s just so cool.”
Bleu Clair: “I’ve been a really big fan of AC Slater for a really long time. It’s so crazy that now I’m doing a collaboration with him and actually working with him. It feels crazy.”
AC Slater: “It feels crazy, but it feels so natural. It just fell into place like that, which doesn’t always happen. I think Bleu Clair’s on a huge moment right now, which is really nice. So it’s cool, man. It’s just really cool the way things work sometimes: how he was a fan, but I was a fan of him being a fan. I specifically remember it and he didn’t say anything, but OOTORO mentioned it to me and I was like, ‘Oh yeah. I literally remembered your face.’ So I went to my phone and started looking at that date range, and I found all these videos and stuff that my wife took, and he was right there in the front.”
Bleu Clair: “I looked a little bit different three-and-a-half years ago. I [had] really long hair and a man bun. I was surprised that Aaron [AC Slater] still actually recognized me with that drastic change of my look. I was a little bit f***ed up that night.”
AC Slater: “Having fun. As a DJ, sometimes it’s when you go somewhere for the first time, especially because I’m from [North] America, so Jakarta is so different, you know? So there’s nothing familiar, especially if the crowd isn’t super into it. They’re there and they’re enjoying it, but you’re used to a crazier crowd. But to see a couple of people that are making you feel very welcome and happy, and it goes both ways, so that’s why it was so memorable. It’s my only time there.”
Kocay: Which artist has had the biggest impact on the music you make?
AC Slater: “I’ve been deejaying for 20 years or so, so my influences go way back. It’s a wide range of influences, but probably one of my biggest influences would be the Chemical Brothers. I grew up listening to even old rave music: Prodigy and all that kind of stuff. Fast forward up to the 2000s with Crookers and Switch, and people with the fidget sound. I love a lot of bass line, U.K. Garage music—just like a nice mix of stuff. I’ve always been into U.K. music mostly, even the beginnings of dubstep and all of that stuff. So I definitely have a wide range of influences, but it’s hard to kind of nail down one for me, like one specific person, but I would say probably Switch had my modern version—like kind of what I became in the past 10 years. I would say probably Switch as a producer was probably one of the most inspirational artists I was ever into, for sure.”
Bleu Clair: “For me I guess, I listen to a lot of different genres in electronic music, but the one that got me into producing is definitely Skrillex. That was when I heard his My Name Is Skrillex EP. If there’s no Skrillex, then there’s no Bleu Clair. Period.”
AC Slater: “He’s definitely the entry point, because that era when he came up, millions of new fans came into dance music. He was one of the dudes, and he’s just incredibly talented. He changed the game.”
Kocay: If you could go back in time to when you first started making music and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
AC Slater: “I would say patience. I guess I had patience, but keep the patience because you always learn. And when you think you know what you need to do, when you think you know what your goal is, you don’t really know yet. I feel like in a music career, you never stop gaining wisdom. When you think you know everything, you don’t know s*** yet, because five years later you’re going to know so much more. I would tell myself to just be patient, keep learning, find your own sounds. It takes time. That’s the hardest part: living the life long enough to kind of gain a bigger view of the goals you want to achieve, because everyone’s different. It’s easy to get frustrated, and I think if you want that, what someone else has and what you think you want, you don’t even know what you want yet.”
Bleu Clair: “For me, I think, try to be original because back then when I first started producing, I was trying hard to be Tchami. I was trying hard to be like Jauz. I was trying hard to be like Chris Lorenzo, but it ended up like me doing [something] completely similar to their tracks. The best thing that I could do is I could only be the second best of their version. My advice is just try to be original.”
AC Slater: “And that’s great advice, because I get a lot of demos for Night Bass and my biggest issue is that people…it’s kind of like a combination of what he said and what I said where it’s people who just start, they try to emulate their influences, like identical. And it’s cool when you get those tracks, because they’re like, ‘Oh, this sounds good.’ We already have a Taiki Nulight, or we already have a Chris Lorenzo. Bleu Clair has a sound you know. He went through that process already of trying to sound like other people, and you have to find your way. It’s not easy. Some people maybe just start in their original [sound], but that’s very rare. But he went through it, I went through it, everybody goes through it. So he now has a very unique sound that other people…you know how many demos I get sound like Bleu Clair? It’s crazy, and I’m just like, ‘All right, well, Bleu Clair already exists.’ So I think what you said is so on point, and it’s so important, because we got to keep this music moving forward. If everyone sounds the same, then it’s not fun.”