Defending Dubstep: The ‘Real Meat’ of the Genre

By Jeremy Quintin

Elm Staff Writer

A couple nights ago, I was hanging with some friends at dinner discussing Dubstep, which is the electronic juice that my brain cells thrive on. Every day I take in a full dose of bass bombs and intense syncopated percussion mashed together into an unusual but brilliant organization of sound. Obviously, not every last Dubstep track in the world is like this, but like anyone I actively seek out the best available head-bangers on the market to get my fix.

Before trekking too far into my own fascination with the genre, it should be noted that with the current uprising of Dubstep from the underground world into the mainstream media, there has come a slew of heavy-handed opinions about what Dubstep is. When I mentioned in the discussion that I produce my own Dubstep music, one girl turned a very cold stare on me. Apparently for her the term “Dubstep” had achieved the equivalent infamous nature as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. While for me, Dubstep is a brilliant organization of sound; for her it’s just sound, and annoying sound at that.

She told me that she was having a hard time not judging me, which for all intents and purposes means having a hard time not judging me poorly. This seems to imply that liking Dubstep has become such a powerfully offensive thing to some people that its weight greatly sways an individual’s likability towards nonexistence. It’s an unfortunate new battle further dividing society into tight-knit cliques.

The unreasonable judgment of a person for their musical preference is not a new or shocking concept to me. In truth, I’m perfectly guilty of being overly critical of musical genres, and by extension the people who like them. In a past article for example, I took an unfair hit at death metal by comparing it to hellfire for a joke. As a result, I left out any reasonable argument as to why I made this very graphic description, which requires some backing before it can fairly be called a depiction of the genre. I apologize for the unjust nature of that joke and must do so before I even go about defending Dubstep.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Dubstep is that it’s all about obnoxious bass wobbles with no real meat underneath, and that it isn’t a depiction of musical talent. If this is your opinion, you have been shown poor examples of Dubstep, which is not unlikely considering the “good to garbage” ratio of content out there. The use of grimy sounds is a fairly modern choice in Dubstep, and should not be a reflection of the whole genre. What I have always enjoyed about Dubstep is its ability to be surprisingly different and innovative from one song to the next. In reality Dubstep should sound somewhat different every time, since most Dubstep artists quite literally invent their own sounds to use in their work, a practice which is anything but simple.

I never found out what my acquaintance didn’t like about Dubstep, only that she didn’t like Skrillex. That’s fair. Skrillex isn’t the only artist out there, nor is he the Dubstep king which we Bass Heads pray to at night- despite what others might argue. At the very least, he should not be the sole artist somebody shows their friends to get them interested in Dubstep. In the same way Dubstep is inherent variety, there’s a huge variety of different musicians, good and bad, to go with it. Riding one or two horses is not going to make you a professional equestrian, and a single song by Skrillex is not going to tune you into Dubstep.

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