I honestly can’t believe we’re STILL having this discussion. The “dubstep is dead” argument is the “taking gluten out of your diet will make you healthier” of the electronic world. It’s spouted as gospel, but eventually proven completely wrong.
If you’re wondering what the provocation for this article is, I direct you to an interview that Bassnectar carried out with the Star Tribune late last week.
“Dubstep obviously is already a thing of the past. This new wave of shoegazer, hipster brand of dance music that’s popular this year — which I think is boring as hell — will soon be a thing of the past. New terms and styles will emerge. But the broader brand of electronically enhanced dance music — which I just think of in my heart as just music — will always have an audience.”
Now before we go completely off the handles, it’s important to recognize the context in which this quote was said, and we thank Star Tribune for being fair and providing it.
“Ashton clarified that he thinks the world of music that is branded EDM will continue to flourish, but subgenres within that world will ebb and flow.”
And in a way, Bassnectar is correct. The ‘future’ tag that has attached itself to so many genres – trap, bass, house – has all but blurred the lines between distinct genres, creating more of a continuum of sounds rather than categorical separations in design and effects. Styles like bass house, trapstyle, chillwave, and more are further serving to reflect that specific genres are being pushed aside to make room for more organically derived art.
However, to say that a genre – especially one as prolific and grounded as dubstep – is “a thing of the past” is not only misguided and insensitive, but patently false. Various clubs nationwide still thrive in the bass scene, like BASSment Saturdays in New York, Bassmnt in San Diego, Beta Nightclub and sub.Mission in Denver, Heavy Dub/Los Globos in Los Angeles, and many more underground clubs survive every week with new and exciting lineups.
I’m not sure why the “dubstep is dead” argument has persisted for so long against such a bevy of evidence, and in light of such a large amount of producers who still create dubstep tunes. Longtime producer and purveyor of the dubstep sound, Coffi, responded to Bassnectar’s criticisms stating “Sorry, but you’re wrong.” He went on in the comments, saying, “I mean no hate by this by the way! I’m just giving my opinion on the matter at hand…”
But let’s be honest – the “dubstep is dead” argument does persist, and we rarely talk about it, so why mention it now? Because when artists like Skream and Bassnectar make wide, sweeping statements like these, people listen. These artists understand (or maybe they don’t) that they have a large platform to speak on and that their words will reach tens of thousands of people, so maybe they should be a bit more responsible about it.
If you’d like to listen to dubstep in its current state, minus the brostep, I’ve listed a bunch of Soundcloud accounts for you to check out below. Check ’em out before they’re taken down. (Just kidding.)
There’s a difference between tactfulness and wanton disregard for public perception, obviously. Bassnectar chooses to ignore the effect that his words have on people, even in the face of his mind-opening music. In one of the last articles that we published, someone made a very insightful comment, and I’ll leave you with this:
I have nothing but respect for Lorin and his body of work. He’s an old metal head that is one of the biggest faces in what, at times, can seem like a plastic industry. I can understand why distancing himself from the circus seems relevant, but I feel like there is a more tasteful way to do it than this showing. In the end, from top 40 to Shpongle, music is an artform and it deserves respect.
tl;dr I think that there could have been a nicer way to say this given that his fanbase grows from playing EDC year after year right smack between the Avicii’s and Tiesto’s he is so outspokenly against.