There’s an inherent menace at the heart of the electronic music sub-genre of trap. It makes sense when you consider its origins in the early 2000s, as a soundtrack to a certain style of drug-game hip-hop culture in the South — encroaching paranoia is part of the job description.
But while trap’s crossover into the electronic music world over the past couple of years, and the attendant larger audiences that have come with it, have nudged the sound into a more anodyne direction, the basic underpinnings still resonate in its resulting hybrid manifestations, even if the end result makes for an unlikely party soundtrack. Consider for evidence the recent “Basic Instincts” EP, from a relatively new but promising Boston producer, Andrew Sweet, a.k.a. Micetro.
Sweet, 24, originally from Holden, and now of Allston, was recently showcasing his originals and a series of similarly evocative selections at All Asia on a rain-soaked night. For all of the ominous bass, gun-cocking percussion, air-raid siren effects, and sinister, horror-film synths of tracks like “Juke Widdit” and “Everyday,” there’s an undeniable dance imperative that resonated from the skittering high-hats and bass-heavy 808 drums.
Micetro will perform at the Middle East on Wednesday supporting UK dubstep standout Zomboy.
“There is a darker element to my music,” Sweet explained a few days before. “I like to make people feel something, as opposed to just keeping it to the bare minimum clichés.”
Sweet has been producing music since he was 18, when he was a student at UMass Amherst making hip-hop beats for his friends to rhyme over. “I self-taught with everything,” he said. “I always loved music, and it all just came kind of naturally to me. The more I worked at it, the more I realize, ‘I think I might have knack for this and I think I could really take it somewhere.’ ”
Aside from those upcoming notable gigs — as well as recent stints at Rise and Prime — the first exposure for that hard work came with last month’s release of the “Basic Instincts” EP. He’s also been scoring commercials for a handful of national ad campaigns, working for photographer and director JJ Miller who said he “was blown away by his talent,” in an e-mail. He’ll have two other tracks on national campaigns as well.
As for Micetro’s own work, a forthcoming single “Same Mistakes” will be out next month on a trap compilation on Freakstep Records in Atlanta. “Same Mistakes” is a more introspective, deep take on trap, which shows just how much room there is to move around within the genre. An earlier single, “Cake,” marries the touchstones of trap with the up-tempo, ascendant synths of progressive house.
It’s important to push the boundaries, Sweet said, especially with a style that has become “very supersaturated this past year.”
To that end he's working with another local producer, Harry Dunkley, a.k.a. Choppa Dunks.
“We want to make a trap EP, but we want to put our own twist on it so that it stands out from other trap producers,” Dunkley said. “I think his stuff really stands out because like myself, Micetro is into producing and listening to different types of music, which really shows in his tracks. I think that's what is needed to get recognized these days.”
In other words, pushing trap outside of the trap.
“Modern trap isn’t really what trap was anymore,” Sweet said. “It’s now essentially a sub-genre of electronic dance music, it’s no longer necessarily about hustling as much as it is about feeling the vibe the beats give off.”
“People are sort of tying together all these sub-genres of electronic dance music now, whether it be progressive house and trap, or electro and trap,” he says. “Not all house music listeners are going to be into the real old-school style of trap, but when you bring it together with something they’re familiar with, they really love it.”Luke O'Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @lukeoneil47.