In a lot of ways it’s strange that dubstep is still around and even stranger that it’s getting better.
Fans of dance music are notoriously fickle in their listening habits which means a scene can be born and forgotten about in the space of a few months. The fact that people are still paying attention to dubstep five years down the road is significant. One reason for the genre’s longevity and current good health is the drive producers have to bring something new to the table with their creations. Someone who knows all about the importance of developing your own style is Paul Rose aka Scuba who has been reworking the dubstep blueprint since his first releases in 2005. His debut album A Mutual Antipathy saw him combine elements of techno and dubstep with inspiring results. Now based in Berlin, Scuba runs the Hot Flush label which has been responsible for introducing the world to Mount Kimbie and Joy Orbison and organises a regular dubstep night in local techno Mecca Berghain as well as focusing on his own productions. 2010 saw the (release) of his second LP, Triangulation, a very focused affair that sounds inspired by many nights in the German city and feels like a private DJ set. “I knew when I was putting it together that I wanted it to work as a continuous piece and for it to make sense from start to finish. But I also wanted it to be quite diverse as well.” Paul tells me from his Berlin home.
Until recently dubstep producers haven’t been known for their long players but Scuba has released two. What attracts him to this format? “As an artist that’s what you want to be judged on. There’s nothing wrong with making dancefloor tracks and there are dancefloor tracks on the album, but I guess it’s the difference between writing a novel and doing an essay. It’s a much bigger challenge than doing a 12″ and I like that. I enjoyed a lot of the recording process but I wouldn’t say all of it. There were definitely some frustrating moments and it took ages to do- basically the whole of 2009. But listening back to it now it was worth taking the time to do it right.”
Now that the album is completed Scuba has been running the Sub:Stance night which has also given him an opportunity to figure out how to bring his own productions to life. “The live set is a work in progress. I’ve done three performances of it but I’m still working on it. I think its gonna take a little while to get it exactly how I want it. A lot of live acts are just people pressing buttons on a laptop and I’d like to get away from that stereotype and make something more improvised.”
Paul moved to Berlin in 2007 and began running club nights at Berghain a year later. In the intermittent period the night has become one of the biggest dubstep parties outside the UK and has hosted sets by artists such as Ramadanman, Shackleton and DMZ. What makes the city so unique for Paul? “The thing with Berlin is that the scene revolves around people coming from all over the world to go clubbing. We get a lot of English people at our nights but there are people from all over. The city is such a centre for electronic music and the clubs are so far ahead of anywhere else. The lack of restrictions makes it a completely different kind of place to go out in. So we get a very diverse crowd and people really get into all the stuff we put on, not just dubstep but everything else.”