The local effect of Dubstep
The low wobbly bass of the genre known as dubstep has been crossing over from raves, to clubs, to radio playlists and the mainstream. Popular artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Britney Spears, and Korn have begun turning to this genre for a new take on their sounds.
While dubstep has been making strides in popularity with the masses, making overnight stars out of acts like Skrillex, it has also been changing the way local disc jockeys approach their craft.
Ernest Gordon, 20, is a Santa Monica College political science and kinesiology major as well as a dubstep producer who performs at Circus nightclub and other venues around town. “The most noticeable thing about dubstep is that it’s very artsy and edgy, and it’s very loud,” said Gordon.
Gordon understands why, at first glance, the uninitiated can classify it as “spasmic” music, but he says there is a lifestyle to it. “At first, no offense, I thought dubstep was just kind of generic,” said Gordon.
After paying close attention to the small intricacies of each song, he realized dubstep uses the same elements, such as one-four loops, as another electronic style that he has always been a fan of, trance. He has now been producing dubstep for two and a half years.
“It’s electro, house, drum ‘n’ bass, trance and psy-trance all put together with a slower BPM,” said Gordon.
“There’s just something more to the music. It gives you a certain feeling. It’s very gradient and dirty, you know? When following the music, your body moves in ways you never thought it could,” he said. “It’s very in-your-face, it’s very nasty.”
Gordon plays the cello, as well as two instruments that he said help him produce dubstep - drums and piano. He starts out with a piano melody, adds a drum fill, and then looks to add unique effects to give the song an edge.
“Dubstep is just something beyond the psychology of the human being,” Gordon said. He said it is not a predictable catchy beat, but rather, it tells a story. “It’s mostly euphoric, and it’s something that happens within, you know?”
Matthew Speiser, 20, a Communications major at SMC, is a DJ who uses dubstep tracks in his musical repertoire. “We’re in the electronic phase of the world right now,” Speiser said, mentioning that dubstep is gaining a market share, like metal and punk rock did in the “rock phase” a few years ago.
“There’s nothing more satisfying to me than being, literally, on stage, and just dropping a crazy beat, and just going crazy,” Speiser said. He said the vibration of the bass is what makes dubstep so attractive.
“Dubstep is very hard to get right, cause you’ve got to get the bass, it’s got to have a good drop, it’s got to be surprising, but not too surprising to where people are like, ‘what is this?’ So it’s very tricky,” Speiser said.
To him dubstep artists can be distinguished by their differing styles, and that their challenge is to create one that is all their own.
“It’s very hard to find good dubstep,” Speiser said. “There are so many terrible dubstep artists out there.” He blamed that on every person thinking that he or she can be a producer, and admitted to not being a very good one himself yet.
To find good dubstep events in town, Speiser advises following specific DJs, as he said not many clubs have yet realized the popularity of the genre and go dubstep-specific.
Speiser mostly plays at private parties, and will be playing for Playboy’s official “Naughty or Nice” playmate Christmas party at 333 Live, in Los Angeles, Dec. 3.