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What the Dub? Evolution of Dubstep (2005-2008)

Skream "Midnight Request line" happened, and the UK paid attention, spawning numerous bootlegs and copycat tracks alike and for a while becoming Skepta’s own anthem.

A monumental movement for the scene came with the introduction of The Dubstep Warz Breezeblock show that aired on BBC 1, hosted my Mary Anne Hobbs. Featuring heavyweights such as Digital Mystikz, Benga, Skream and Kode 9, the show was a fair and accurate representation of Dubstep music.

Airing between 2-4AM in the UK, but during the day or early evening in the States made the Americans pay attention. “Basically: it made it big in America, which made it big in the UK. Within 18 months, everyone who was featured on that show got status, straight away.” - Oris Jay

Other notable events were the beginning of The Dubstep Forum in the mid-2000s that grew from a population of a few hundred in 2005 to between 20-30,000 by the end of 2006. A tight knit community with several producers even engaging in various topics and discussion.

Along with The Dubstep Forum was Barefiles, an archive site of Dubstep and Grime radio shows started by Deapoh, the site allowed users to download and listen back to past sets. At the time the average amount of files transferer per day was 32GB. It was however shut down over complications with Rinse FM, Deapoh (at the time with his own Rinse show) was forced to take down all Rinse sets from the site, after all the conflict, he walked away from the scene. Bare in mind Rinse was still a Pirate radio station at the time.

Pinch had come down to FWD>> having never been out in London before, walking into a room full of Gods’ lettuce, with a packed dance floor and complete absence of dancing, just a sea full of nodding heads. After having watched Kode9 play his set, made up off jungle, drum and bass and finally dub, pinch had decided this was the sound he wanted to work on in Bristol.

His first night, Context ran from January 2004 right through to 2005, with rarely around a 100 people in the dance. However after Mary Anne Hobbs’ Breezeblock Dubstep Warz show on radio 1 premiered, the flood gates began to open.

The second night started by the Bristol native was Subloaded, (a Bristol dubstep night co-founded by Pinch and DJ Blazey) was the most legendary however, hosted at the Black Swan and a system provided by Void. “For Bristol parties, it was probably around 2007 with Subloaded—when I teamed up with [DJ] Stryda from [Bristol dub group] Dubkasm, with us upstairs and [soundsystem] Teachings in Dub downstairs, in [night club] Clockwork – that it really kicked off: a 1,000-capacity club, with 1,200 to 1,300 in the room and turning a few hundred away at the door. It got to the point where the bouncers couldn't even control the ticketed crowd outside. By midnight, there were police horses charging up and down the road, trying to get people away from the traffic. If you think that was mad, though, it was nothing compared to the first DMZ birthday.” - Pinch

Caspa and Rusko were offered a Fabriclive mix, albeit not first choice. Parisian house due Justice were asked to do a mix, but Fabric felt like they were going off on a tangent when the duo started to produce “weird” French music. The club started phoning around, wanting a quick fix, which included a lot of the main Dubstep heads, but all declined, knowing that the release would be the end of the underground scene that they had all so carefully curated. Apart from Caspa and Rusko. 10th December 2007, the two newcomers from West London and Leeds included now classics such as Coki's "Spongebob" and Cluekid's "The Legacy" but also a heap of their own production, which some may say wasn't a fair representation of the genre.

July 2007, the UK introduces its smoking ban and the scene takes a huge hit. Dubstep raves are known for having people smoke in the dance but class-As began to become the drugs of choice and weed slowly filtered out. Rooms went from a sea of nodding heads, moving to the beat, to energetic maniacs. Ravers with long attention spans went obsolete, high impact and quick tunes began to be favoured, wobbles replaced bass.

“It changed the rave because all of a sudden, there was no weed, and it was all class-As. If you're on coke and pills, you’re not up for the space. You’re there to go mental. it became a uniform sound after that. It was a soul-destroying period for me” - Loefah

Around that time we see Dubstep becoming more and more accepted and embraced. Benga and Coki’s track “Night” was released at the end of 2007 and is considered one of the most influential Dubstep tracks of all time, BBCs radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson named it his record of 2007.

Whilst Burials late 2007 release Untrue was nominated for the 2008 Nationwide Mercury Music Price in the UK.

Come back next week and we'll tell you the progression post 2008

Stay Classy,

Juan Love x

Photo by Georgina Cook -

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