Jonas Erik Altberg – better known as Basshunter – is one of the world's biggest dance musicians. After signing his first record contract at age 21, Basshunter soon became a household name in Europe, with hits like 'DotA', 'Boten Anna' and their English-language equivalents topping music charts across the continent. Since then, he’s racked up no fewer than six number 1 singles, two platinum albums, and a huge number of television, radio and club appearances. It’s strange to think then, that Jonas first discovered music-production software at a Counter-Strike LAN in 1999, and was propelled to fame by a massive following of gamers around the world.
We decided to catch up with Basshunter to find out about his gaming history, how he got into music, his upcoming fourth album, and of course... whether or not he still plays DotA. Read on already!
Hey Jonas, thanks for taking the time to do this interview! First off, you’re best known nowadays for hits like, ‘All I Ever Wanted’ and ‘Every Morning’, but your career started off in a very different place. Can you tell us a little bit about your gaming past?
lol where should I begin? With my first gameboy? Hah nah I remember when I got my first computer, a 486 desktop. Shortly after I discovered the mother to all strategy games, Dune 2, harvesting spice to fund the construction of your base and unit production line, destroy the enemy and become the ruler of planet Arrakis. After that I knew right away that gaming will be a large part of my life.
Then followed games such as Command & Conquer / Red Alert, Warcraft 1 and 2, can’t forget to mention Doom, Duke Nukem and Quake as well :-).
Do you still get chance to play computer games these days?
I play games as often as I can (when I’m not in the studio of course). Airports, flights, hotels, at home you name it. The favorites during the last years have been: Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Fallout 3 & expansions, Skyrim, Rage, Left4Dead, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, CoD: Modern Warfare (all of them), and more.
When I’m at home I play a new swedish sandbox MMO game called Mortal Online. It’s basically unique among other similar games, its full loot, which means, you die = lose it all. It’s player based, no quests, no maps, only a compass and landmarks you have to learn by exploring the world. All items, and I do mean ALL items in the game, are created by the players themself by experimenting with different materials and refining precious metals etc.
Be warned though, make sure you have A LOT of spare time (or serious sleeping problems) because you will be hooked! www.mortalonline.com
For the hardcore DotA players out there, can you remember which heroes you used to play as? Do you have any tips, tricks or advice for DotA players that still play?
Wow dude, havent played DotA in a long time now, I guess I finally got tired lol. A lot has happened, new heroes and map updates. Remember I’m talking about the map called DotA in Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne, not the wannabe games that keeps popping up thinking they can take the glory away from the original (I played DotA from version 1.0 so don’t you dare!)
I loved to play melee heroes with a stun capability and also AoE damage (to farm creeps) such as Tiny, Axe, and Nerubian Assassin. Throw a stun, then get up nice and personal and WAAAM, mess him up real good, hell yeah.
How often do fans mention gaming to you? Is it surprising when people know the original meaning of your songs?
All the time, after a gig at meet and greets we talk more about gaming than anything else (of course another subject is all the invitations to after parties, but that’s a different story).
It doesnt suprise me that people knows so much about gaming due to the advanced technology we have today. Almost everyone have access to a decent internet connection. It’s a beautiful, but small, world we live in and I love it!
How did you arrive at the name Basshunter? Was it a name you used for gaming, or did that come with your music career?
I came up with the name when I was 17. I realised that I loved wicked basslines, and I always tried to find new ways to make em, POFF “woop woop” BassHunter was born.
How did you first get into making music? How did people react to your very first songs way back in 1999?
I was at a LAN party, playing in a Counter Strike 1.6 tournament, when I found a guy that shared a whole folder full of music programs and stuff. So I downloaded it all and started exploring. Most of my friends didnt really understand the music I was listening to, or tried to create, but my online community actively listened and commented on my creations.
Did you play in a lot of Counter-Strike tournaments?
We went to Dreamhack as often as we could, and other LAN parties as well. I played in Team Wacco, just close friends playing everyday, we were pretty good, for a while hah! We did some tournaments with prize money but we never went far enough to taste it. People were too serious for us anyway, we played for headshots, not $$$.
What’s your favourite gaming memory overall? If you had to pick just one night, one LAN party, or one match, which would it be?
Dreamhack 2004. We drove from my hometown at 06:30, six people in a small piece of shit car, with six computers and monitors.
Arrived to Dreamhack, ate 6 Dreamhack burgers, drank 4 jolt colas then I fell asleep and woke up 4 hours before closing. Still had a blast ;)
You first broke out in 2006, when people started asking for ‘Boten Anna’ on internet radio stations and in clubs in Scandinavia. How much of your success do you owe to the internet, and gamers in particular?
How much of my success? Wow, I guess all of it. I mean, I produce, write, perform my shit myself, I guess you could call me the one man army in the music industry. But without the online community and file sharing. Hell, I would probably still be out of a job lol.
God bless the mp3 format and the World Wide Web!
In 2006, you performed live on-stage at Dreamhack Summer in Jonkoping, the biggest LAN party in the world. Is there a big difference between performing at a LAN party and performing in nightclubs in Magaluf?
There is a big difference. FIRST, at Dreamhack there were 10,000 gamers without sleep for 48 hours, in Magaluf there were 1,000 drunk, half naked party animals.
The reaction, same awesome party people ;)
You’ve been working flat-out on a new album recently, which is due to be released in early 2012. What can we expect from your fourth studio album?
Just turn on the radio, if you hear something you like, my shit will be 10 times better, how about that?
And of course, got some tracks for the gaming community and for the people that can’t get tired of hearing me sing in Swedish!
Thanks a lot for your time, Jonas! Do you have any final shoutouts?
Basshunter's gaming setup
Yeah, I have two shoutouts! First one goes out to all of you gamers, learn new languages! Join an international guild, be active in Teamspeak / Ventrilo, skip language classes in school. Who said that gaming makes you stupid?!
Second goes out to the guy that built my latest gaming computer that almost blew up in my freakin’ face! *HEY (name censored), YOU #€%& n00b #€%& next time I c u I’m gonna PWN ya #€%! so hard! U mad bro get good! Woop woop!*
I gave you a picture of my setup at home (close your mouth and stop staring plx thx bye) <(^^,)>