The Dub Rebellion, arguably one of the most influential channels in the Dubstep community, is now reaching the 6 year mark, while still pushing the boundaries of music forward, and supporting countless individuals in their endeavors to have their visions heard. From more classic sounds to absolutely mad experimental artists, if you’re listening to bass music, it is quite likely you’ve landed upon this channel a couple times already. To celebrate, we have had the pleasure of interviewing the founder/owner Darek about his thoughts on Dubstep, the channel, underwear, and more.
What has been the most difficult part of managing this channel over the past 6 years?
Since day one, I’ve been thinking about getting people to help me. The problem has always been that I’ve just never gotten around to picking someone to help. The most challenging thing is being dedicated because to me, it’s not a job. In the beginning, probably the first 3 years were the hardest, establishing my name and the brand name. Back then, that would’ve been 2011-2013, there were so many channels that did the same thing I do. Most of those channels are gone but there’s still a few left. I guess the hardest thing is being true to myself, and not chase the money. It’s very easy to do that although, it’s dubstep and people think you can’t make that much money.
“Dub Rebellion is a great channel. It’s the leading channel for Riddim and heavy Dubstep in my opinion. Darek has had his finger on the pulse for a long time, and although the numbers don’t yet match up with UKF or DSG, if he carries on like he is, the channel will one day match their subscribers.” – Tom Flanders (NSD Manager)
You mentioned when you started the channel, there were probably hundreds of other channels, what keeps and has kept you motivated over the years?
The biggest thing is the brand new artists that pop up every few months. These artists have a hundred or a few hundred followers on Soundcloud, they’re so under the radar and send me their stuff saying “it would be an honor to have an upload on your channel, what do you think about this?”, and it’s that feeling when you hear something and you know it’s very good, and it’s very underrated. That’s the best situation for me at least because it helps me help a new producer and help push a sound because I mean for riddim at least, if you want to call it riddim, now it’s very oversaturated. Everyone wants to do riddim but when you get those new artists that have that unique sound that nobody else has, that’s special.
“Darek and The Dub Rebellion has been a source of consistent support for MethLab in the past year, taking risks and even pushing out some of our more experimental releases – a move that’s a rarity in a time where many play it safe. The Dub Rebellion’s dedication to quality and their clear passion comes through in everything they do. Happy anniversary and the deepest thanks from all of us at MethLab.” Jef Lab – MethLab Owner
Let’s elaborate on that a bit more and talk dubstep for a second. We all know the story of how it began and how it has gotten to its place today, and we are definitely at a high point now, like you said, new artists seem to be coming out of the woodwork. In your opinion from here on out, do you think that dubstep will continue to rise? Or is it declining? Is the actual genre suffering from over-saturation and lack of innovation?
I personally think it’s going to grow… it will continue to grow over the next 5 years with a healthy incline. With over saturation comes misinformed fans, because some people think Excision is riddim for example, and people are just misinformed of what the history of the genre is. You show a picture of Benga or Hatcha and people don’t generally know who that is. Most people just know what’s currently popular, Squnto, Eptic, Zomboy, but they don’t know people who came before them. People just hear a key term and assume it is riddim, so I think the general public is just a bit misinformed in general.
“Yo Darek, Habby Birthday from your favorite frenchlord ! Thank you for your support over the years, here’s to many more years or amazing music! Love xx” – Hab (Habstrakt)
What’s next? Where do you see The Dub Rebellion 6 years from now? How much father are you willing to push the envelope and take it?
Well I definitely want to expand in terms of the content that I’m putting out. I want to be able to put out a weekly recorded radio show where I talk about random stuff and show off music. I guess you want to say like Noisia Radio but for Dub Rebellion, but I also want to have special guests who show up for 15 minutes or more and talk about whatever they want to share whether it’s a new album dropping or a new EP, playing a show or just general topics. A podcast or like Daily Dose of Dubstep if you remember, a fusion of all that.
“For years, Dub Rebellion has been pushing the underground sound into the ears of the masses. I appreciate inquisitive exploiters like Darek, who goes out of their way to find the hidden gems.” – Liquid Stranger
Besides having nearly half a million YouTube subscribers, your personal Facebook also has over 10K followers. Seems like it’s a lot to manage. How does dealing with independent artists and industry professionals negatively affect your social life? And does this play into how people perceive you?
It is a lot to manage, it’s stressful at times. Last summer I built a new computer, that before my old laptop I could only do one render a day, but now I can do 4-5 renders a day and put out more content. Which means it opens up the door for more premieres and features, which is just sometimes like today and tomorrow I have 3 premieres each. My hair is turning grey. It’s cool to be able to talk to someone for months or years online and be able to see them in person. Most times when I go to shows it’s because I’ve been friends with someone for so long, like for example two weekends ago I met Stabby, when I’ve been talking to him on Skype for 2 years or so. It’s a cool feeling to be able to see someone in person, that you normally only see on a screen, it’s a cool connection to have. It’s hard to be friends with everyone. You always have people who don’t like you, for whatever reason they have. I guess people like to assume before they actually know the truth. It’s a very cheap way to perceive someone, and someone will say “Oh I heard you’re stuck up” and most people who view me negatively will be someone who I’ve declined a track from my channel or say something that gets blown out of proportion, but I don’t give a shit.
“I always enjoy working with Darek from The Dub Rebellion. He’s super on point and has always been a HUGE support for me and my music over the years. You will definitely see some more Antiserum tunes on this channel soon!” – Antiserum
What have you enjoyed the most about this experience?
Giving artists a spotlight that they would have a hard time getting anywhere else, since most channels these days want money and will only upload music based on the money they’ll get. It’s different when you like the music and you’re not thinking about the outcome but rather just what the channel is about.
“The Dub Rebellion YouTube channel has been a great supporter for our scene. Darek isn’t afraid to upload something that might be seen as a risk and expose our music to a large audience who share the same love for dubstep as we do.” – Rossy Burr (Disciple)
FLASH QUESTIONS. You don’t have time to think here. Answer with the first thing that pops into your head.
# hybrid trap or riddim? – Kill me
# mayonnaise or miracle whip? – Miracle whip
# snapchat or instagram? – Snap
# cheddar or american? – American
# is there a god? is he skrillex? – Yes
# tighty whities or boxers? – Tighty whities, come on
“Dub Rebellion has always been committed to the bass scene. He has gone to great lengths to connect with tons of artists around the planet to curate a blend of the hottest music available. He has proven to have a keen ear for talent and over the years has built a dedicated following.” – Downlink
Tell me about the most defining moment over the past 6 years that impacted the direction of your channel.
The silver play button for passing 100k subscribers. To get that I really had to sacrifice my social life. If there were a way to track your hours put into a channel, I wouldn’t want to see that. The way I see it, I spend about the same time or more on the channel that people spend actually making their music, it’s a gross amount of time.
“The Dub Rebellion has been a momentous supporter of the bass community since its introduction here in the US. His passion and love for the scene are apparent, and he’s helped a lot of up and coming producers gain a footing.” – Sam Casucci (Create Music Co-Founder)
So you’re completely invested in this with your life, do you think it is fair for YouTube channels such as yourself to take majority of the earnings for streaming revenue/monetization?
The way I see it is, I don’t take any money for submissions or uploads. The only money I earn is from the advertisements on the videos. I don’t get a percent of sales or the shows people play, so the only thing I get is the small percentage from advertising so I think it’s fair. I’m sure people will see this and think, “Oh he’s only greedy for money,” but you gotta think of the large picture. People make way more than I make from uploads with their sales and streams on Spotify.
“I have been working with Darek from Dub Rebellion for a while now and it has been really cool to watch his channel grow so quickly. He is always very responsive and respectful when it comes to posting content and I really appreciate that. He is excellent at creating relationships with people to ensure continued content and I think that it is really important when it comes to a successful Youtube channel” – Sharra (Firepower Records Manager)
I personally don’t know if I’ll be doing this much longer so I want to make sure it’s the best it can be. It gets tiring being a lot of work. Not that I don’t want to do it but there’s more to life than just this and I’ve spent 6 years of my life doing it.
“Your support on the music we put out has been very on point. I especially appreciate the fact that you upload our more left field releases, like Tsuruda for instance. There aren’t a lot of channels, as far as I know, in our scene that do that, and that is very much to your credit!” – Jaap de Vries (Invisible | Division | Vision – Label Manager)
How do you think the channel stayed relevant for so long?
Channels refuse to adapt. They refuse to “get with the times” so they do what’s working for them at the moment but they don’t get what’s going on in the future. I’m not saying I’m following trends but I shift my channel, adapting to what is new and relevant now. I don’t upload because someone told me to, since that’s not how it is supposed to work, and many people just upload what is popular, but I shift things based on what fits the vision. I don’t even know how my channel got started, it just started one day being inspired by UKF, and now today I’m friends with some of my favorite artists which is just outrageous. I want nothing more than my channel to be able to support me financially since this is all I do, that’d be like winning the lottery and I couldn’t ask for more than that. To wake up every day, sit in my underwear, upload people’s dank ass music and eat cereal. To be my own boss.
“I’ve been working with The Dub Rebellion for some years now and it’s been awesome. I’ve seen the channel grow from strength to strength and really become one of the best, if not the best channel on YouTube for dubstep.” – FuntCase