Touching Bass: D1
D1 is one of an elite few dubstep heads that can genuinely say they were there when the genre was still in nappies. Whether it’s his original dub anthems or his talismanic DJ sets filling your eardrums, listeners must pay homage to a guy who’s been there right from the start. TB talks the state of dubstep, past and present, and cracks into that pervasive Skrillex argument.
What is your view of the dubstep scene as it is now?
It’s good. Evidently the scene is thriving at the moment and I guess with everything, as it gets bigger, there are good things and bad things with it. But I think for the most part, it’s quite healthy at the moment. There doesn’t seem to be an end to how far and how wide the whole thing can expand so, what’s being called dubstep now wouldn’t have been called so 2 or 3 years ago. So, the word dubstep itself is being branded onto a lot of things that people wouldn’t really call dubstep before, which is a good thing. There’s a lot of producers out there that are also experimenting a bit more and incorporating a lot of other elements, so it’s not just the same half-step tunes that are flying around with just a rhythm and a bass, you’ve got people like Redlight doing stuff and others like Hervé bringing in the housey sound but at around 138-140 BPM. It’s bringing in a whole new audience, but it’s all still being called dubstep. I think Rusko has just produced a tune for Pixie Lott so I suppose the possibilities for where dubstep can go are endless. It can only be a good thing.
What’s your honest opinion on the likes of Skrillex and that particular sound, because it’s divided a lot of opinions?
The thing is, I’ve actually met him and he’s a really cool guy. I’ve only seen a little bit of the criticism that he’s received but I honestly don’t understand it because if you actually listen to his tracks, you may not like them, but production wise and technically, they are very, very good tracks. I think what people have got upset about, maybe, or where the real argument is, is not with Skrillex. It’s with all the people that try to recreate that sound and don’t do it that well. So it’s just flooding the scene, if you want to call it that. I wouldn’t personally say that Skrillex is the problem; it’s just other producers coming along and not doing what he can do. The fact is, I’ve been on two tours in America and the sound has always been a lot harder than what it’s like over here. A lot of people need to look at Skrillex’s background and anyone that makes music knows that you draw from your influences. He was in a death metal band, so it’s unfair to criticize him like that. All he’s done is come along and said ‘this is what I’m doing’. He got some nice backing from Deadmau5 and he just came along and did what he’s done. He’s massive and no matter who you are, the bigger you are, the more criticism you’re always gonna get from people. But some of the stuff that I do read and just see people saying stuff like, ‘I hope you die’ and all of that; that’s a madness. Criticise his music, but you can’t say that, it’s nonsense. You get people saying that he’s destroying the scene; one man cannot destroy a scene. The fact is, he came with a sound that a lot of people like and that a lot of producers started to try and recreate. Now what you have is a whole mini genre of producers that kind of music. When you look at his influences though, it makes sense what he makes. It’s the same thing when Caspa & Rusko came along. The scene was a lot smaller then, but they were getting slated in the same way and look at where they are now.
Say if you were to go back to the likes of El-B and Horsepower Productions, where dubstep was simply just dub, and compare it to what it is now. Would you say that it’s lost its way?
I did this kind of ‘Day In The Life of D1’ thing to go with the my recent MYSTYLE CD and there’s a bit when I’m talking in a record store and I do make a reference to what the dubstep sound was back then. Definitely, the sound is completely different to how it was back then. There’s still some producers trying to push that sound but it has moved on and it’s completely away from that now. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, I do hear what you’re saying in terms of what people like Zed Bias, Kode9 and Horsepower were doing, but it’s nothing like that any more. So, I don’t know if the term is that it’s ‘lost it’s sound’, but I get you in the sense that when you listen to 90% of dubstep now, it’s hard to make a correlation between then and now. It’s literally moved on in leaps and bounds because that goes back to the whole thing about who knows how far dubstep can go, who knows what it will sound like in three or four years. I do agree with that, yeah. I suppose its just evolution though.
It’s true. You obviously can’t expect a scene to stay in the same place because you’ve got new producers coming in all the time…
Like we were just saying with Skrillex. He came in and said ‘right, this is what I’m doing and this is my take on it’. Some people like it, some people don’t. He sold out KOKO in November in 78 minutes or something crazy like that. KOKO’s not the biggest venue, but to be getting that with all the hate he’s getting and then to have an after party at Fabric just shows what’s happening. The other thing is, there’s other genres you can look at, like drum and bass and some elements of house music, and see the progression. But it seems like dubstep was at a point and then kinda jumped.
Why do you think that was then?
Like you say, with the Horsepower stuff and all of the whole half-steppy stuff and people like Loefah and Digital Mystikz, who were the dons at the time, then there just seemed to be a blurry couple of years where the sound just suddenly turned into what it is now. There was a massive influx of new producers, some of which had no idea about the whole dubstep thing. They probably would have heard a couple of tracks and thought, ‘yeah, this is dubstep’ and then done their thing. I suppose that has contributed to how the sound has changed.
Talking a bit more about your music. This year we’ve already had ‘Flood of Emotions’, but what else have you got coming up?
I started the year with the release on Dub Police that featured Jenna G. This was a very strong start to the year for me. This was followed by a few remixes, Toddla T, Karin Parks, and Kid Gloves (Fools Gold). Now as the year comes to an end I have just released the 2nd Edition of MYSTYLE – it is a Dub Police mixed compilation series. It can be found now on iTunes. There is also an online documentary with it; you can watch that at www.d1musik.com. The CD hosts 21 tracks showcasing my style of dubstep, I have at least 10 of my own tracks on there, so you get a good taste of my sound. For 2012 I’m hoping to do a release at the start of the year around February. I will select some tracks from the CD with a couple of tracks that I’m working on right now with Dynamite MC. I’m also getting more involved on the DJ side of things – I’m playing Fabric London on the 9th Dec 2011 room1 with DubPolice. I’m looking forward to this party should be a good night, massive line up. I have so much music around me – I guess in 2012 I need to share it more with the world.D1, Dubstep, music
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter