Tell us more about the project Bass For Autism; how did you come up with the idea?
I had been working on fundraising for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) through other initiatives, and I was looking for a way to combine this work with my passions in the musical arena. After a bit of searching, I discovered Mixify, a platform that would allow us to host an online festival and raise money through either ticketing the events, receiving donations during music sets, or both. So, Bass for Autism really just started as an online event with a bunch of different artists playing short sets. In an attempt to get more promotion going for the event, I reached out to the guys at the edmDistrict, and they were happy to help out. In fact, they actually helped come up with the idea of doing fundraising albums, as they were working on the edmSpotlight compilations at the time – it was a great connection to make.
How did you curate the compilation?
Emails, emails, and more emails! The team and I had some previous connections with a few of the artists from outside projects, but we contacted a majority of the artists via the old-school “cold-call” email. I think that the success of Vol. 1 helped get us a bigger response when contacting artists about Vol. 2, as a lot of the artists had heard about the first installment and were happy to help out the cause. Basically, anyone on either of the two compilations was just an artist that we either knew or liked enough to reach out to! Both the edmDistrict and the EDM Network were a big help on this front. Also, for Vol. 2, we received a couple of out-of-the-blue submissions from artists that were so good, we ended up including them on the compilation.
How long did it take to get this project together?
The project took us several months. For a project of this size, especially because it involves artistic work, you have to start reaching out way ahead of time. When there are 50+ different artists all coming together on a single album, there’s a lot of effort required in terms of coordination and making sure that the release goes smoothly — not to mention the artwork (generously provided for free by the talented Vince Peersman), event promotion, etc.
Do you have any personal experience with autism?
I started volunteering with NWSRA, a special needs recreation association, a few years back and have worked with a lot of kids who have autism. I also have a close family friend who is severely autistic (non-verbal), and have worked on a couple of different initiatives related to autism research and awareness.
What’s the biggest myth about autism?
I think that most people don’t really understand what “autism” is. Autism is more a spectrum than a condition, as no two “autistic” people are alike. You can have someone who is on the very mild end of the ASD spectrum, and then you can have someone who is entirely non-verbal and cannot function independently. People affected by autism don’t like to classify autism as a “disability,” although there is undoubtedly a point on the spectrum where it becomes very difficult to live and function in society, because there is something unique about autism. The biggest myth about autism is that what you see is what you get, because a lot of these kids, even the ones who are severely autistic, have minds that work in a greater capacity than yours or mine. For example, my non-verbal autistic friend can pile seven or eight different puzzles together, mix them up, and then separate them back into their corresponding boxes without having to put the pieces together. Find one non-autistic person who can do that and I’ll eat my hat.
Will Bass For Autism also support other causes in the future?
I’ve just started my first year at Harvard University, so my time has become very short! We do plan, however, to release compilations annually, possibly during the summer months when I have more time to devote to curating and promoting the artists. As for Bass for Autism becoming some kind of umbrella organization that supports multiple causes? Who knows? We’ll see where the future takes us!
Is Bass For Autism number three already in the making?
We already have some exciting artists who were unable to make Vol. 2 that are going to be on Vol. 3 – so I suppose it is in the making, but we want each release to be bigger than the last, so expect a pretty long gap. It will be worth the wait.
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Is there anything else you would like to mention?
I’d just like to reiterate that Bass for Autism donates 100% of the net proceeds from the events and compilations to OAR, the Organization for Autism Research. (I say net proceeds because retailers/payment processors charge us a percentage of the sales). OAR focuses on helping individuals on the spectrum cope with issues that arise as a result of their autism, and is not an organization looking for a “cure,” which is something that many people are concerned about when they see “autism research” fundraisers.
Bass For Autism Vol. 02 Out Now!
Coming soon to Beatport, iTunes and other major digital distributors
Bass For Autism
“Bass for Autism” is an organization dedicated to supporting autism research through the power of music.
Jack Kieffer, Founder – Bass for Autism
Organization for Autism Research
OAR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to apply research to the challenges of autism. OAR funds studies whose results can help families, educators, caregivers, and individuals with autism find answers to their immediate questions and make more informed decisions. No other organization has this singular focus. OAR strives to make a difference in individual lives by funding research, providing timely and relevant autism information to those who need it, and creating opportunities for the autism community to collaborate and make advances together.