Skrillex Dubstep?

I think Skrillex is doing good music. Props to him for whatever is going on, but I’m a little confused and senile now?

I’m 37 this april. It seems in between the time I was passed out in a coat rack at some fringe dubstep vs. breakore show in the back of a used mannequin store, making a baby, and today … “dubstep” has become a catch all for any experimental electronic music.

My first clue was last autumn. I was doing a shitty loop using a jungle break and sine wave bassline to demo a hack at Music Hack Day Montreal. The kid I was showing it to said “Awesome, dubstep!” and I was like “Uhhh, what?”

The hype feels to me a bit like the whole Justice thing circa 2007 but Justice made some sort of sense to me because it was part of the whole Ed Banger thing; a generation of people discovering YouTube and these guys doing interesting stuff with that medium. Basically the Parisian sound that year. Furthermore, they had the whole weird subliminal christian cross aesthetic which was some sort of weirder subliminal islamophobia thing going on at the time…

But Skrillex is just one guy? And everybody is talking “drops” like this is jump-up all over? What scene is this?

Again, not hating here. I’m into Skrillex as an artist. I just want someone to explain to me which DMZ artist he toured with, or anything that has to do with dubstep, or is the whole thing over now?


its not about skrillex.
its about the UK!
El-B made it 12 years ago.
skrillex is just another mutation. a subgenre more. oh dont forget borgore. gorestep someone?!

dont believe the us- promo voodoo.

Isn’t skrillex more “complextro”? Some of his choruses sound a little dubstep, but he isn’t doing that halftime thing I associate w/ dubstep throughout most of his songs.

I’m old so it’s all “electronic music” to me.

Dubstep has grown from a genre moniker into a blanket term which encompasses everything under drum and bass. The good news about this is that it is turning more people in to electronic music.

You know those people, who during the 90’s and early 00’s, discredited EDM as “washing machine music.” Yeah they’re now eating those words and taking a look at artists such as Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares.

E: I read the Rolling Stone interview of Skrillex and he seems like a down to earth guy. He doesn’t believe in pigeonholing his stuff under a genre.

Please do hate on Skrillex, he deserves it! ;)

And yes that is very much what is termed Dubstep these days, although some like to use the term Brostep (or some Pubstep) for this particular sub-genre. There is VERY little of the real dub-based, almost minimalistic style out there these days.

Like bits of it here and there. Some of it leaning towards the Brostep style with the heaviness and noises, some of it more sparse and minimal. It does cover a wide range though. Personally I always hated Garage, especially 2-step, so the stuff on that side of the spectrum really doesn’t do it for me. Some of the releases on the likes of Ad Noiseum are top notch though.

Broken Note, Niveau Zero, Balkansky (AKA Cooh), 2methylBulbe1ol (2methyl for short), Boregore (to an extent) and some others seem to quite regularly do some good shit though. But then again I do like the heavy, crossover stuff ;)

Most DJ’s on Dutch radio get burned to the ground when they call stuff like that dubstep.
There is a batchload of other artist that either stamp their own work Dubstep or get stamped dubstep but it simply ain’t.
I still am not fond dubstep or any variation that wants to sound like it, though it is a 1000-fold better bearable than gabber, hardcore and house shit which folks came up with in the 90’s.

Beethoven was SOOOOOOO dubstep. He used timpani and double bass. DOUBLE bass!

^ you’re confused. it is WOBBLE bass.

Love the writing/voice in this piece. Specifically this sentence:

Dubstep, for me, reached “international exposure” with this Mary Anne Hobbs broadcast:


She’s obviously high during this whole thing and having some life changing experience at the DMZ or something, Later, Breezeblock would be cancelled and she herself toured as a dubstep ambassador or sorts. She played Blue Dog down the street in 2010.

Between 2006 and 2008 I saw Kode 9, Shackleton, Skream, Headhunter, Luke Envoy, Hatcha, Benga, Caspa, Dj Chef, Joe Nice… Whoever was coming to Montreal at at that time I was all over it. It was awesome. People were doing different things but there was a core sound. All my friends who were into this were haggered junglists who saw the big drum and bass names the first time around in the 90s…

This new dubstep sounds like “Electro” to me?

if you listen to the ‘old’ dubstep, which in general has a less prominent and aggressive bass, and compare it to the ‘new’ dubstep, which is a lot more ‘in your face’ with its bass, i think that is the main difference. to go by the examples you just named Conner, music by Kode9 and Skream and Benga generally has a very subtle, dark feel to it. now if you listen to ‘new’ dubstep (i don’t really know any names right now, not that much into it), that subtle darkness is transformed into a kind of macho aggression. you can’t simply walk around the bassline, is what i mean. i also find it notably more compressed and less detailed than the stuff by Skream and Kode9. this ‘new’ dubstep indeed leans more towards the electro-sound. the amount and manner of compression reminds me of Justice, for example.

to give you an example of what i feel is a midway between mindless wobblin’ and detailed bass-driven music: check out Goldrush’s album ‘Love Hz’ (but okay, you gotta get used to those vocoded vocals of his, but i like it)


and for some breakcore merged into dubstep, Cardopusher did this great album ‘Down The Wire’. here’s one track:


so i suppose it is a genre in evolution. it would be nice if there would be separate genre-names for ‘old’ dubstep and ‘new’ dubstep. maybe there already are. i don’t know, can’t keep up with all the naming etc.

His days:

Yeah you do get quite a lot of Bassline and Fidget (House) played in with dubstep these days, which leans quite strongly towards the Electro. But don’t you all know Moombahton is the new craze!

Catch all term these ways seems to be Bass Music a lot of the time ;)

A friend of mine, Liquido, wrote an article about this on his blog:

rusko and caspa are the missing link.

@danoise: thanks for a great article. i am too fresh on the scene to have lived through those early years, so i don’t know much about that. on the other hand, the first dubstep i did hear was Kode9. i really recommend the follow-up to that post as well, as it will give you lots of examples of folks who are still doing interesting stuff within this genre.

as for Skrillex: i just listened to some of his stuff. i wouldn’t call it bad, it is just crowd-pleasing. i wouldn’t call it dubstep either. the reason it is being called dubstep is because he use some wobbled bass here and there. you might as well call it ‘glitch’ because he uses glitch-effects too. to me it feels like he’s packing lots of good stuff into too small a package, leading to a messy whole which i cannot really enjoy. i say we dump it into the ‘electro’ genre and be done with it.

I think this seems very much to me like another generation (a third generation?) discovering rave music.

I like what Skrillex is doing in terms of the huge contrast (yes, the huge drops, which I always like). But when I listen to his tunes I get the same feeling I had in 1995 in the jungle room. The first time the amen dropped it was like – blammo! Awesome. 3rd song later… cool. 5th song later… 2 hours later… holy crap, that sub fart bass over an amen is supposed to be a song, not a genre!

I kind of get the same vibe when I listen to dubstep, and skrillex in particular (not that I’m an expert in his music). Although I will say that he seems more versatile than that by far in some of his songs. I have to say that his song with the doors, which could have been REALLY cool, was really pretty crappy. I just found it online this weekend. I had these huge hopes, like some type of 60’s rock intro, and then a dubstep drop. But it just kind of sounds… well i don’t know, just not as great as it could.

One thing I will say: Canadian radio sucks. I mean, sucks worse than any radio I’ve heard anywhere. I saw an article in an edmonton newspaper saying that Skrillex is too hard for dance stations, and too electronic for rock stations. And so they did a survey to listeners to see if they could add it to the rotation. Of course people said no. Canadian radio sucks… terribly. I’m no vacation in Barbados and they are playing Skrillex on the radio here, next to Rhianna. Which is cool! How can a tiny island of like 200,000 people have a better radio than us! Oh man, so bad!

Anyways, I’m fully ranting now. I don’t remember what your original question was about. Skrillex is kind of cool, at least he seems like he writes what he wants to write. 100% authentic (I think). Thats cool!

I think a lot of us miss the point with skrillex. The real reason he crosses over is he has a strong sense of melodicism and songwriting. If you strip down his songs to melodic arrangements, they still work as songs. Look up piano/classical versions of his songs- they still work.

I like his albums and I’m happy that it means electronic music is connecting with a larger crowd. That said, it’s obviously written by a young person for young people. The vocal breaks always make me cringe (“OH MY GOD!” / “CALL 911”) they’re not musical choices that are available to “mature artists”, but they work to connect to a younger crowd. Personally I’m not into the sound of formant filters either. But this is what new music is about - you have to do what people older than you call “stupid” in order to do something new.

“In a trip to New York in 2009, I remember seeing local crew Trouble and Bass warm up for Skream and Benga at Le Poisson Rouge. I must admit, I wasn’t impressed […]”

We had expats from that crew living in Montreal for a while. That’s Drop The Lime’s crew. These are all “experimental breaks” people. Breakcore at the root. (Drop The Lime has scene defining breakcore releases circa 2005 on Tigerbeat6, he would play out with people like Knife Hand Chop. A lot of “jokes” in the music.) T&B later turned into a (rebranded into a?) more party sound in the same vein as Steve Aoki. Heavy on the booty bass influences. Not sure what to make of this other than maybe the author, rooted in UK centric two step, garage, etc, didn’t understand what he was hearing, with most likely a self-deprecating sardonic vibe in the mix. Luca’s current bio Reads “combines his love of Rockabilly with his own take on bass…” and T&B is all over the spectrum.

Otherwise, the rest of the article is pretty accurate.

Drop The Lime circa 2006. This was an all out “breakcore” show. I’m taking the picture.

“Trouble & Bass” on the shirt playing a reputable Berlin breakcore event circa 2005.

Anyway, he’s not doing this anymore, I don’t know the guy, this is over 7 years ago, but I got to take issue with this idea that Trouble & Bass had anything to do with foreshadowing a change in Dubstep. This crew has been around a long time. Before dubstep so to speak.

This is the same shit I went through in the first post, passed out in the coat rack. When UK guys would come here they would play along side locals at the local venues, and at these local venues they clearly weren’t playing dubstep all the time, so the local flavor would blend in.

Good times.