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What the Dub? Origins of Dubstep (1998-2002)

So last Friday..Bit of a mad juan, but couldn't help notice a number of new heads and the confusion on some of your faces. Therefore we’ve decided to make this weeks ‘What The Dub?’ post about the origins of Dubstep, where we’ll try and give you the lowdown on how the movement was created and the key influencers.

There is quite a bit of information, so Juan thought the best way to present this would be to split it up by years.


Dubstep originated from several genres, going through many evolutions before becoming what we now call Dubstep. The first notable stage was from that of MetalHeadz' Jungle tracks, with the tough sub-bass and eccentric snares, most pioneers of today would admit to this.

“I used to go out to hardcore raves, and then split off into jungle and drum and bass, but drum and bass became homogenised with ‘the liquid’ sound and then suddenly, garage happened. Before the summer holidays in 1997, everyone was into jungle. After the holidays, everyone was into garage. It was that quick.” - Loefah, 2015 Vice Magazine interview

With the swift exit of Jungle from the UK club scene, Garage made a lasting movement for several years, later inspiring both Grime and Dubstep in the future.

Notable producers include El-B, Zed Bias, Oris Jay and Steve Gurley to name a few. Amongst those lays a keystone in Benny Ill, pioneer of Dubstep and 2-Step originator and producer of what most people would refer to the first Dubstep tune; Elephant man - Log on (Horsepower Productions remix).

During this time was also when the night FWD>> was established in the Velvet Rooms in London, Soho. Founded in 2001, FWD>> was a hub for Dark Garage and 2-Step but also Dubstep. The night also ran a pirate radio show on Rinse FM hosted by Kode9. with a variety of Djs playing from Youngsta, Hatcha, Oris Jay, Slimzee amongst more.

Another catalyst in the early development of Dubstep was the Big Apple Records (BAM) shop in Croydon. Producers such as Hatcha, Artwork, Skream, Hijack and Benga all worked in there where they would share ideas about new tracks. Selling everything from Techno, House and later Garage and DnB, but evolved with the increasing popularity within the Dubstep scene. Mala, Coki and Loefah are notable artists that used to pass through the store. BAR was not only a record shop but an independent label releasing records from artists such as Digital Mystikz, Loefah, Artwork and dubstep poster-boys Skream and Benga.

We’ll be back telling you about the evolution of the genre post 2002 next week.

Stay gassed,

Juan love x

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