Sunday, 24 October 2010


I do not class myself as the quintessential dub 'stepper' yet I have been to what seems like a million dubstep nights and for good reason. I say I don't hold the credentials of a 'stepper' because on paper I am a University educated, middle class white girl and it just doesn't seem right to assign myself this underground status. I'll come back to this later.

From the moment I started University I went out of my way to steer clear of the large, commercial clubs where silver-spooned, snuff sniffing jocks swung their t-shirts around their heads to the Baywatch theme tune. Different people enjoy different things, this is just not what I look for in a night out. Almost immediately, I found a circle of friends with whom I rebelled against the norm. This is not as exciting as it sounds. Various examples include; refusing to courier in my prom dress to wear to a hall formal (which took place in the canteen....glamourous!), refusing to willfully attend hall outings to Oceana... you get the picture. Our shared dislike for lash-culture ostrisized us from the masses and in the social stratosphere that is first year, this seemed to unnerve the other residents in our hall. But whatevs, that was four years ago and without wanting to sound like a whiney little kid striving for a nonconformist way of life, the decisions made were definitely for the better!

Before finding myself in the grimiest of hovels skanking out next to some unsavoury characters - I hit the indie scene, hard. This lastest for a couple of years and I have fond memories of dancing to Larrikin Love, et al, in a manner that was akin to being sprayed with bullets. The pretention in the indie scene is off the scale but it was so much fun I don't really care. Then electro started to permeate through. Luckily the indie-electro vibe was pretty forthcoming and the clubs in which we resided provided enough synthy goodness to sustain my interest. The turning point however - was bass. During one of my downloading sessions I stumbled across Plastician's remix of 'Some Way Through This' (The Black Ghosts) and with that I was whisked off into a-whole-nother world, leaving my friends and the familiar grip of the indie scene behind. Since then I have been brrrraappping my way through some of the BEST nights I have ever had.

Having graduated, I returned to my University city most weekends to see my friends and indulge in some bigggg weekends. Though I would skank until the small hours, while the ceiling fell down around me under the pressure of the bass-bins - I still wouldn't class myself as a 'stepper'. One obvious and admittedly materialistic approach would be to assess the chosen attire for such an event. Once upon a time, standard protocol appeared to be the brightly coloured and heavily decorated hoody-wearing male and girls of a Ms Dynamite-esque urbanity. But obviously nowadays, the music genres infinitely merge – to the annoyance of some dub-heads. A recurring example is the skinny jean/american apparel hooded/top buttoned shirt-wearing guys with undercuts enthusiastically gun-signing to the DJ. It depends on the venue and of course, the DJ.

Dubstep has definitely gone mainstream and with that, so has the crowd. I am not condemning this because no doubt for someone that doesn't know me – they'd think I had just heard Katy B's 'On A Mission' on Fearne Cotton's radio show and crowned myself a patron of the genre. Though what I most definitely am not – is a six inch heel wearing girl, gyrating on the podium with all me bits out. The general consensus within dubstep crowds stipulates this as impractical dress. I fell victim to it when a girl in heels to rival the Empire State building tumbled off of the podium and right onto me. She looked nice... she was just in totally the wrong club.

Another point of note is the ever decreasing age of people getting into dubstep. The most significant example for me being Rusko at Glastonbury Festival this year. I should have expected it, Rusko is a household name nowadays but it was a strange experience seeing two very young boys skanking out in front of their DAD who was there to supervise them. I almost felt like giving him some adult-to-adult reassurance about what the hell was going on. But judging by the look on his face and the hemorrhaging bass that prevented anyones ears from functioning adequately, I thought I best leave it. Clearly this has everything to do with the emergence of the genre into the mainstream, the only way to prevent it is to stay one step ahead of the kids. Steer clear of the Caspa's and the Rusko's and rummage around for the Youngsta's and the Gemmy's!

Like most things, genres come and go and I seem to be on a conveyer belt through them all. While I still listen to dubstep, I did have a momentary break from the ear-bleeding basslines and dipped my toe into (quite a lot of) tech-house. What I like about music these days is that it remains fresh. I'm lucky enough to enjoy a wide range of music and I'll no doubt listen to dubstep when it's no longer 'cool', as I did before it was assigned this status.

Ellie Wilcox

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