And also in 2010

The Vancouver dubstep scene is vibrant and thriving. With an abundance of DJs and producers who are known for their diversity in style and for their intimacy with the community, “Vancouver is really one of the number one places to be in terms of people who are really stoked on [dubstep] and know their shit”, explains Tank Girl of Vancouver's Lighta! Sound crew.

The origins of dubstep can be traced back to the grime genre in east London. Specifically it developed at Forward>>, a weekly event at the nightclub Plastic People London. As dubstep's darker, more simplistic grime sounds started sparking the interest of producers, they began creating their own more complex rhythms, bass lines, and generally higher caliber productions. The term dubstep was coined in the early 2000’s. It took its roots from bass culture, which comes from early Jamaican dub and reggae music, and heavily emphasizes sub bass (40 hertz and below) on the sound systems.

According to Tank Girl, though, “I went to London, where dubstep was born, and it wasn’t as fun going out and partying there... everybody was hanging out in their own little groups. Here it’s a much more friendly environment.”

Lighta! Sound is a crew of Vancouver DJs and producers that produce a variety of bass oriented music, which can be experienced every first Saturday of the month at the Astoria. They strive to play forward-thinking music with high quality sound systems.

“Surprisingly enough, dubstep is at the forefront and is gaining a lot of popularity” says Ben Ulis, a producer and DJ of Lighta! Sound. Many dubstep artists, such as UK’s Rusko, are gaining popularity and playing sold-out shows all over the world. These artists are drawing new attention to the genre and bringing dubstep to a fresh crowd. “People are just getting introduced to it through more easily accessible dubstep so lots of different people are getting into the scene” says Tank Girl.

“Right now half the scene is playing the really standard dubstep, and the other side of it is people trying to include all these influences into dubstep, making it slower and different.” explains Ian Mrozewski, label manager of Writing Colours Recordings. Skream, Benga and Kode 9 (all from London) who Ian describes as the meat and potatoes of the genre, are the more commercially successful producers of the genre.

Electronic music is a constantly evolving music form, however, and more producers are incorporating their own styles and mixing other genres of music with dubstep. “There are so many different directions its going in,” explains Tank Girl, “Some people are rooted in the reggae sound, and then there are people who incorporate UK garage or techno sounds.”

With so much going on in the scene, dubstep is flourishing and evolving in many different directions. Vancouver has a solid community of DJs keeping the scene alive, and there is no shortage of dubstep nights to attend around the city. As the genre is becoming more and more popular globally, it impacts the local scene, and everyone is benefitting. 

For more bass-heavy encounters, check out the new Friday dubstep weekly night "Low Indigo", hosted by Lighta! on the first Saturday of every month at the Astoria.

// Harrison Pratt

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