Introduction:

Those of you with good long term memory may remember that back in July I published a piece about Dubstep in an effort to try and understand it better, this piece came together primarily through an interview with three local (York-based) Dubstep producers Diakon, Demeter and Spreezy. Below as I promised at the time is the full interview transcript and some tunes by those interviewed for your enjoyment.

Liam Flanagan (interviewer):

I’ve never really worked what Dubstep’s all about and other than the odd tune I’ve never got into the genre as a whole. However, as a journalist I think I should be covering music I don’t like or understand, hence this interview and the piece that will come out of it.

Q1. What is it about Dubstep that attracts you to it?

Spreezy: The state of Drum ‘n’ Bass really I went to see Andy C on Saturday and he was playing really hard jump up tunes and I’m losing interest in that. Dubstep is a new genre and natural progression with it bass weight and heavy beats.

Diakon: I liked current jump up Drum ‘n’ Bass at first as it was exciting but went off it quickly as its very samey and aggressive. Dubstep is more versatile (big strong point) and can be mixed with other styles and still sound good. The slower tempo is attractive as Drum ‘n Bass can get too much, smoother sound and tempo, even the most aggressive stuff. Can’t relax to D ‘n’ B have to be up for it and concentrate on it. There still plenty of life in it.

  <span><a href=”http://soundcloud.com/diakondub/archeotech”>Archeotech</a&gt; by <a href=”http://soundcloud.com/diakondub”>Diakondub</a></span&gt;

Q1. (part two) What were the reasons you originally got into Dubstep?

Spreezy: I never heard it before and found it over bearing and evil at first, most Dubstep was dark at the time. Took a while to sink in, but its new and I like the bass weight, its interesting as it draws on a lot of different styles plus it’s never been done before .

Diakon: I heard one of first Skream tunes, it had a heavy, epic and video game influenced sound, the bleepy video game sounds drew me in and that something that I think evident in my own music. Dubstep was unlike anything else I’d ever heard.

Spreezy: It an underground genre even today, though more people know about as there has been more media coverage, so more people are aware of it. The scene has a really good vibe as people aren’t doing it for the money.

Liam: Something I’ve heard and that we’ve already discussed a is the idea that a lot of people got into Dubstep due to a dissatisfaction with Drum ‘n’ Bass and U.K. Garage. Is it maybe something they weren’t expressing that Dubstep does express and cover:

Diakon: Dubstep is very emotive especially the good stuff, Drum ‘n’ Bass just makes you want to dance. You can almost feel what the producer was feeling when he/she produced it. Being from a punk/indie background the emotion is important to me.

Spreezy: I think U.K. Garage was a big influence. Skream was a Garage producer years before creating Dubstep and was dissatisfied with the lack of attention Dark Garage had, probably why it died off. People were thankful for  having a more emotive feel back in the music.

Q2. A recent thread I’ve picked up on in Dubstep and its related genres is an emphasis on super slow and syrupy sounds. Do you think this a reaction against drum ‘n’ bass and its hyper kinetic sound?

Spreezy: Yeah, I think it is people need something different to go on with, all the genres that were going when Dubstep started had going ten years or more. Drum ‘n’ Bass is getting tired with age. The double time beats, you know 1 big step then a small step, gives it a skank, so can be nice to dance to even though its slow.

Diakon: Yeah, it probably is and another big factor is that a lot of producers are stoner’s contributes to it. A lot of people didn’t get into to Drum ‘n’ Bass because it in because it was intimidating and fast and they felt like they were having their heads caved in at 150mph. I think Dubstep was smoother and more appealing, drawing people in who weren’t necessarily into electronic music got into it through Dubstep.

Q3. With artists like Joy Orbison and Car ads featuring 2 step beats again, do you feel this is concession to failed overly commercialised genre or another string to Dubstep’s bow?

Spreezy: A lot of people have called Joy Orbison Dubstep but I don’t think he is. He’s been called Future Garage but whereas Garage could be squeaky what he does is more ethereal, so I think he’s exploring something that wasn’t explored at the time. Its great music though and I’d like to see more of it made.

Diakon: As you say it’s not Dubstep, its Future Garage, it does mix well with Dubstep and being lighter and airer gives people a break from the heavier syrupy stuff. It has been more influenced by Dubstep and the bass lines are more whoppy and heavier.

Liam: It’s like the commercial media finally acknowledging its existence. I find in the music media there’s almost an over saturation because it’s new, even though technically it germinated around ten years ago. It has constantly coverage in amateur and professional media.

  <span><a href=”http://soundcloud.com/spreezy/spreezy-unreal”>Spreezy – Unreal</a> by <a href=”http://soundcloud.com/spreezy”>Spreezy</a></span&gt;

Q4. With the constant evolution of the genre and it’s splitting into sub genres what do you think the future holds musically and/or commercially?

Spreezy: I’ve just discovered Akira Kiteshi who is off the scale, takes computer game sound to a new level, has a tune that start off Dubstep and then goes U.K. Garage half way through but with the same bass line. Loads of inventions can be made, especially on the dubby side, like ‘Anti War Dub’ by Digital Mystikz it’s not got a Dubstep beat but it’s definitely Dubstep but more on the Dub/Reggae tip.

Diakon: The sub genres are just petering out and being folded back into Dubstep. A lot of people tell their work is in a sub genre but it isn’t really. The future is bright but not sure exactly where it’s going.

Liam: What about the commercial future? For instance, people like Rusko remixing and producing pop acts. Is this maybe a point where it crosses over?

Spreezy: It’s possible but a lot of the big producer’s are keen to keep it as an underground genre. I heard on Rinse FM a couple of years ago that all the big producer’s had been asked to play on Radio 1 and they all said no, let Mary Anne Hobb’s do it. People are keen to not have it go mainstream but it has influenced mainstream genres.

Diakon: Before long major label’s will be trying to sign up Dubstep producer’s and mould them into a more commercial sound. You mentioned Rusko and it is polished and poppy. Skream and Benga are forming a kind of resistance movement within the genre and I don’t think anyone who truly appreciates it wants it to commercialise too much.

Q5. Is it possible that the reason Dubstep has failed to find ground commercial is due to the splintering it sub genres?

Spreezy: Well it’s not exactly the sort of thing you’re gonna hear on Jo Whiley and Radio 1 and Rusko is getting pushed a lot but it’d need a lot of cleaning up to be commercial. It’s an underground genre and a lot of people want it to stay that way. It started with 8 people in a pub in Hackney (the FFWD club nights that began Dubstep), they were the only making and listening to Dubstep at the time.

Diakon: It could be because it means a definitive Dubstep sound is hard to pin down but Rusko is getting pushed and his tunes are all sounding the same, though he’d probably deny it.

Q6. Though Dubstep initially centred on London, do you think that the Internet has helped create an unconnected but competitive group producers and does that contribute to the splintering effect?

Spreezy: Yeah, its spread all over the world now, Dutch producers like Martyn and 2652 are creating amazing ethereal sounds and they have hardcore there too. In America theres people like Matty G, American Dubstep is very different and it’s taken off and the Japanese love Skream and Goth Trad. The internet has really helped make it close knit especially Dubstep forums have helped link people together.

Diakon: Even something like Soundcloud is really helping bringing producer together, me in York working with ppl like Shatterfreak in Dublin, two guys in America Generic Meds and KSFK and a guy in  the Midlands called Siriken and we were all sending loops and files back and further and then through them I got introduced to more producers in their countries. I’ve heard Japanese producers, Russian’s, South American producers from Peru and Chile and it’s just as good as the scene in the U.K. and America. The internet is a big factor in helping it spread.

Does that mean the splintering increase because there’s so many individual perspective or is it a fallacy and their only doing tiny adjustments not really innovations?

Spreezy: Yeah, I think it does, I’d love to hear some South Amercan Dubstep. Loads of interesting things coming out of Japan, it’ll be interesting what comes out of India and palces like that.

Demeter: I think it’s in the nature of Dubstep that it’s influence’s are so wide, so rather than suggesting it causing splintering I think it’s just reinforcing what is originally was. As far as Skream in 2000 influences are cited as wide as classical music, rock, metal and I think its popular because whatever music someone is into they can find something in Dubstep. Another reason is that though Drum ‘n’ Bass is cool its only relevant to me when I go out to a club, I wouldn’t listen to jump up Drum ‘n’ Bass at home, as it wouldn’t be pleasant. There’s Dubstep stuff that’s appropriate for a range of situations, like the song on the Lloyd’s bank advert, there was Dubstep version of that and it worked because of a balance of abrasive and lighter more melodic elements.

  <span><a href=”http://soundcloud.com/demeter/hello”>hello&#8230; (free download)</a> by <a href=”http://soundcloud.com/demeter”>Demeter</a></span&gt;

Q7. Could it be that it’s mostly better suited to clubs and that home listening on a stereo/laptop just doesn’t reproduce the same experience? By that I mean the type of Dubstep that is more clubby with the wobbly bass sound.

Spreezy: You can listen to it anywhere, like Demeter just said I think the versatility of means you can play it anywhere as long as you have a big sub woofer.

Diakon: Good point you can’t listen to it without serious amounts of bass. But I can listen to it at home and might throw myself around to it or just sat down nodding along. It can be a different experience in a club as they usual have big sound system and some serious bass you can feel in your gut. It can be pleasure but different at home and good for playing computer games.

Q8. Is the movement away indicative of the difference between Grime which was restricted to a small area of London and Dubstep’s development? – related idea – Which made its movement away from London inevitable.

Spreezy: Well Grime is very British and the Amercan’s hate it ‘cause of that and Grime isn’t versatile whereas Dubstep’s multi styles helps to hold it together and give it strength and appeal.

Diakon: Yeah, I totally agree. The beat and bass style of Grime has grown into Dubstep now and lot of time you can’t tell if it’s Grime or Dubstep with a Grime MC.

Demeter: Just a random point really. When I first put my music on Soundcloud and its gives you stats of where people are listening to and where they are from. At first it was mostly U.K. people and the odd person like the Russian guy, who’d maybe search it out a bit more. But over the 2 years since I signed up, the majority of listeners are Americans, then Chile and Romania. Its Changing where people are looking for it and its maybe fresher to them.

Yeah, I think there’s generally a different relationship for people those countries as they aren’t exposed to electronic music as much or in such a mediated way. They don’t have the same higher archy system of the electronic music media and they wouldn’t assume that Aphex Twin is an innovator and that they might come across Spreezy first and think he’s an innovator. It’s a more personal than media prescribed relationship.

Spreezy: I’m becoming a little bit divided by Dubstep these days, I tend to go with the stuff that has more integrity, for instance a producer like Datsik makes really whop whop tunes, but can’t listen to a whole album of it. I prefer things with a bit more mid range.

Diakon: I think people expect us to go really subby bass so let’s go for some squeaky high pitched stuff, which works if there’s more bass weight underneath. I don’t find myself following that scene so much. Found some great stuff on Soundcloud, like Humble Dinosaur, he got some really good tunes, refreshing the old whoop whoop style.

Demeter: I think some of the splintering has happened because of change in the scene. As a female I might notice more but to begin it was a male dominated genre and the DJ’s and audience were mostly blokes. Nowadays it’s more of an equal split and something that became popular is the jump up Dubstep style and I think this is to do with more females in the audience. When I do sets and play jump up, it’s the girls that ask for more of that style. But it isn’t reflected by the producers like Ikonika and Vaccine for example have a more chilled vibe with abrasive moments. Overall it seems like a different compared with ten years ago, there’s more ex-rocker’s in the audience and play want more real instruments like guitars. A lot of male producer used to be Moshers, it’s like when Punks got into Hip-Hop.

Diakon: There is a live Dubstep band called Jazzsteppa, there really, really good. But to pick up on what Demeter said I used to be into a lot of metal like Korn and Deftones when I was 16 but after a while I moved away from it. Since starting to producer Dubstep I’ve started listening to it again and Dubstep has helped me appreciate it again. There’s a producer’s called Distance and Vex’d love using rock/metal riffs and influences.

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