• Juan

What the Dub? Where's the Drop Bro (2008-2012)


After the successes of Caspa & Rusko’s Fabriclive mix and Benga and Coki’s Night the scene exploded into the mainstream consciousness. The strong midrange presence in many of Caspa and Rusko’s productions featured in the mix began to be emulated across the globe. If you listen to tracks like Cockney Violin or Jahova without a sub (Juan cannot condone this), it’s easy to completely miss the <30 hz elements of the tunes and associate the midrange “wobbles” as the defining characteristics of the track. It was ultimately this new focus on midrange bass that characterised the growing ‘mainstream’ dubstep. It’s very easy to rail against this development and argue that it was detrimental to the scene. It should, however, be recognised that if you were in your young teens at this point, or lived in a city with no established dubstep scene, then this new mid-rangey alienated version of dubstep was probably your first introduction to the scene. Although you’ll struggle to get them to admit to it, there are members of the wider Juan Forte family who regularly used to listen to tunes such as Mt. Eden Dubstep’s Sierra Leone and the Zeds Dead remix of Blue Foundation’s Eyes on Fire through a pair of tinny earphones or phone speakers on the regular. For some these tunes served as a starting point to go back from and learn about ‘real’ dubstep and encourage them to seek out a fat sound system blasting out the original sounds. For others, however, these tunes were the ultimate definition of dubstep and led to the development of what would later be coined ‘brostep’. This period made ‘dubstep’ a dirty word for some. If you type the term into google and look for an article from the period, you will inevitably come across the words “wobble” and “robot noises” quite a lot and the terms ‘below 30 hz’ and ‘140 bpm’ a lot less. One of the only sonic connections between these two sounds were the presence of a drop. However, whereas a tune such as Loefah’s Goat Stare rearranges your internal organs with a thundering sub bass drop the newer midrangey ‘brostep’ was more likely to give you an aneurysm with these aforementioned “crazy robot noises”. It was not all lost though. The growing popularity of ‘brostep’ did undeniably effect some of the originators in a detrimental way, but it was this alienation of the OGs that gave us new labels such as Loefah’s Swamp81 imprint, which began to explore the original sonics of the sound through new bpms and music styles. Established labels such as Mala’s Deep M