Dubstep seems to be the genre that people have started to love hating, but why?
There are many theories one can come up with about why people hate on it, but the main reason is that a lot of people aren’t willing to put the research in and give this type of music the time of day before they jump to conclusions.
Obviously most people who hate on the genre won’t realise that it was started in the pirate radio days in Croydon and was played in the smallest clubs around that area with no other area really representing it like they should have been. Then things started to change when DJ’s like Mary-Anne Hobbs started giving it airplay on BBC radio with ‘Dubstep Warz’ which is kind of what gained the genre the expansion it deserved and a bigger following. But, as with any genre, when it gets popular there are going to be people who are going to jump on the bandwagon just because its popular. There will also be people who try to experiment with and twist the genre so much they change the whole sound, which in most cases can end up moving the genre into a poppy phase that will die out.
Now, for example, when I tell people I produce dubstep they automatically presume I am some hipster kid who makes some loud ass, noisy mosh pit music and I have a real passion for MDMA, which isn’t the case. However, I get put into that category because of the type of music that made it into the charts and got branded by the media with the ‘dubstep’ tag.
You can look for yourself, you only have to type ‘dubstep’ into google and you see names like Nero, Skrillex, DJ Fresh etc, who are talented in their own ways I suppose. They should – in no way – be the faces of dubstep. Because these artists have large followings and appeal to ecstasy ridden teenagers, they are considered the forefront of the genre. But when are people like Mala, Coki, Loefah, Skream and Benga mentioned?
People are giving the genre a lot of hate because, as with all art, where there is a large group of hardcore fans there is also a large group of the exact opposite. Now the original producers who make serious music have had to move into different genres because they don’t want to be associated with the pop culture influenced side of dubstep, even though they are pioneers of the sound. They aren’t getting the credit they deserve whether it being from the commercialised producers or by the fans and the media.
The thing with dubstep is that it covers so much of the musical spectrum, with some producers adding jazz influences, others with large hip hop influences, some with dark garage type influences, the list goes on. This is the beauty of the genre, and that is what I think will keep the genre going for a long time. It’s a genre for music listeners and music fans, it’s not a party genre, even if it does have that aspect, which some producers tried to turn it into but we all know that is dying out. We are now seeing the same thing happen again with “trap”. Now when someone mentions trap to me I think of some grimy estate with some G’s on the corners moving all the drugs they want because the old plod are scared to go near there. Now that’s a trap, but obviously the kind of music that was born on those estates got twisted that much the media are trying to tell us any dance tune with 808 is what trap music is. That isn’t the case, it takes the reality from the genre and people start making assumptions on something because of what the media proclaim.
It’s a shame really to see the UK not backing dubstep as much, as it was born here, it’s something we should be proud of. But dubstep isn’t too dissimilar to grime, hip hop, drum and bass and many others because it’s a genre that won’t die, even though we may see it fade in and out of the charts and pop culture, there will still be underground clubs playing it and events going on, especially around Europe, Belgium and Holland. Places like that seem to fully be backing it to the end because they are happy to follow a genre that you may not see on TV every day. This is something we lack over in the UK even though, in my (probably biased) opinion, we are the ones who are on it when it comes to making creative music.
I mean you will hear of dubstep producers/DJ’s all the time saying “We are more likely to get a booking over in Belgium/Holland etc. than we are in our home town” which is a big shame, but sadly nothing can be done about it. As I have mentioned already though, dubstep won’t die out as long as producers are willing to put the work in to keep the genre creative and moving forward, it goes the same for any genre. That’s what keeps me doing what I’m doing, whether or not our bookings might drop or our sales on our next EP fall, who cares, we do this to express ourselves and let our creative minds just go on a mad one. Why shouldn’t we, no point letting a mass crowd affect the things you love.
Words by Gareth Blackburn (@Vibezdubs)