On The Record: Ashan
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Pedro “Ashan” Bergmann believes the soul purpose of music should be to excite and inspire.
While some music is particularly awesome to dance to, Bergmann, a fairly new addition to the underground electronic music scene, likes the calm interaction of beat, mind and sound. In his mind, establishing a positive inner ambiance can sometimes be just as rewarding as dancing.
”It’s an amazing feeling watching people enjoy your music,” he said. “I think my first CD was Bob Marley’s ‘Legend’ when I was like three or four. I’d probably be a completely different person if music wasn’t inspiring to me.”
For Bergmann, who decided to use his Sri Lankan middle name as his DJ-producer alias, listening to drum and bass and jungle in elementary school opened the door to the electronica world. Further exposure to the many sub-genres of house and techno galvanized his interest in music.
“I always wished that I was born earlier and that I could have experienced the birth of the scene in the late ’80s and ’90s,” he said. “It seemed like they had tapped into something new. Everyone was on the same page and it was purely about the music.”
Born in Germany, Bergmann lived in Seattle for 10 years before his parents opted for the tropical climate of Oahu. Much too young to take in the rich dance music culture of his birthplace at the time, he said frequent visits to Europe shaped his perspective and music style. Yet the 23-year-old, like many other underground loyalists on the island, prefers the Honolulu scene because of the sheer potential that exists.
“There is so much room for growth here,” he said. “That makes me excited. I feel incredibly lucky to have found a crew of amazing people that have and continue to mentor and inspire me everyday.”
The University of Hawaii at Manoa senior is studying entrepreneurship and is part of a collective of local DJs out to provide a monthly weeknight option for eclectic underground purists. The idea behind Threshold Thursdays at Hawaiian Brians is to expand and to almost dare fans of EDM to broaden their listening tastes by delving beyond the mainstream sounds they are not necessarily accustomed to.
“(The goal) is just to plant a few seeds, show people some new music, and help grow the underground scene in Hawaii,” said Bergmann, who has also played at Nextdoor and eleven44. “I think the new venue has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see how far we can take it.”
As one might expect, diversity is paramount for Bergmann. Just three years in to his musical quest as a DJ, producing his own tracks is his ultimate goal. He said lessons of staying true to himself and playing the music he likes have already earned him respect. The acknowledgement from peers has made him that more determined to make an impact.
“I’m pretty confident when it comes to selecting what to play. The hardest thing for me was learning how to mix properly in a loud environment,” he said. “Like myself, most people eventually get tired of hearing the same music that’s played in most of Hawaii’s clubs and venues.
“As people’s musical tastes develop, they often look for something more substantial and real. We hope that we can point them in the right direction.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.