Went to The Word of Drum and Bass NYC again this year. I had a blast, but got a little messed up at one point. This is why I don’t usually care for pre-gamming, but everyone else wanted to. I had a good time except for when some trap type business was dropped. All in all a great night. Lots of people came from all over the place for this one. A lot of good shows are on the way. Marky, Andy C, Optical. I only wish I could go to them all. The wifes work schedule, school, and getting old might make it kind of rough.
No, it didn’t really ruin my life. It just changed a scene I loved for so long, and not for the better. The only real upside is that it has drawn a lot of new people, but on the other hand, most of these new people are looking to “rage” while fueled on horrible chemicals.
By now everyone has heard Dubstep, they just might not know it. Some big name producers have had some commercial success with video games and advertisements, and there is also a lot of generic Dubstep in commercials as well. Verizon, McDonalds, car brands, North Face, etc. Dubstep is a genre of Electronic Dance Music that is typically produced at a 140bpm tempo, but the beats are half-time. This leaves the listener feeling less energetic than traditional EDM at the same BPM, like House and Techno and a lot less than Drum and Bass with its 175ish BPM and plenty of drum hits. It was pretty boring, and didn’t catch of for quite some time. Then more recently the (bass) drop has bean built around more fast, hard, and abrasive samples to induce excitement from the listener because of the lacking percussion. This is something you either get or you don’t. I usually don’t. This is not necessarily the “wub, wub, wub” that people refer to either. Sometimes its even just high pitched insanity. Melody is often a thing of the past now. The genre went form melancholy to maniacal.
When Dubstep first hit the scene, I gave it a shot. I listened to a bit of it here and there online, and first heard it played out on a boat party back the fall of 2006. People on the boat were talking about how Dubstep was about to blow up, but it did not would not in with the way it sounded at the time. I thought it was quite boring, and I was surprised to later find out that it was born out of the UK Garage scene, which I rather enjoyed despite its lack of prominence here in the US. I thought it would die off just as fast.
A year or two later, it did gain some ground. I was putting some of Skream’s radio shows on my MP3 player, and downloading a few things hear and there, like Jakes’s off the wall tunes, and Jokers signature sounding tracks with a bit of what I can only call a old school West Coast flavor. With the exception of Joker’s tracks, I really don’t know what I was thinking. Most of it was just rubbish with over the top oscillator tweaking. I think that actually was the appeal at the time though. Both my (now) wife and I got over it real quick. Meanwhile, Rusko was making some big tracks. Babylon Volume:1 featured Cockney Thug, which was pretty big. I rather liked it. The two record EP also feature Love is Real, an amazing UK Garage track. Despite all of this, Dubstep was still not being played anywhere big really. Starscape was not what I can only describe in the years to come as “infected” with it yet. It also had no real place at WEMF in the late summer 2008.
However, it was in 2008 when Drum and Bass producers started making some notable Dubstep tracks. Chase and Status released Eastern Jam, which got a lot of attention. Nero also released This Way, which was also quite popular. Both went on to produce two huge full length albums. First came Chase and Status with No More Idols, after which they formed More Than Alot Records, which would feature Nero’s hugely successful Welcome To Reality. Yes, they spelled it “Alot.”
In 2009 one of the members of Chase and Status spun a set at Starscape to help spread the Dusbtep infection that year. The set was pretty good, but largely disappointing because it was beat for beat the exact same set I heard from a big Valentines Day party in the UK several months earlier. I wonder if they didn’t just press play on a CD and fake the whole thing. It would not have mattered. Dubstep was in full swing attracting an epic shit ton of new kids to the scene of Electronic Dance Music, a term that could soon be used quite loosely. They wouldn’t know or care what the DJ did. Despite not really having a stage for Dubstep or big Dubstep DJs that year, at several points throughout the festival, it could be heard at the same time on every single stage, which I found quite annoying. The infection was spreading fast.
It was around this time that Dubstep was changing. The samples were becoming more and more abrasive and attracted kids full of angst, and by sheer numbers, these kids were changing the face of the scene.
By Starscape 2010, it grew enough that they had a whole stage for it, and yet again it could be heard on every single stage at the same time over and over again. Skrillex had hit the scene and attracted a ton of real young kids. With no real age restrictions the place was packed. Dancing was a thing of the past for the most part. Tons of teenage kids on research chemicals everywhere. One young girl tried selling me what she said was ecstasy for $35. That is a heck of a lot of money for what I doubt was even real if I was even into that. I was turned off enough by what I saw around me that it was time to close the Starscape chapter of my life.
In 2011 I had the return of WEMF to look forward to. The ticket prices were more than double what I paid in the past with no line up even being mentioned yet, but I didn’t care. By now people like Rusko and Skrillex who I later found out both happened to be booked were playing complete noise, but I still didn’t care. There were so many other great DJs to go for., old friends, memories of great crowds, and that vibe that I missed so much. WEMF would not even be happening again if not for all the Dubstep fans. I looked around the first night, and I never felt so old in all my life. 3 years with no WEMF and the influx of new kids will do that. Then I started to notice how cracked out people were. I don’t know what was going around, but it looked bad. Andy C was a huge disappointment as he kept dropping what people call Drumstep, a sub-genre of Drum and Bass with the boring half time drums of Dubstep.
This year the ticket prices for WEMF were even higher, but they sold out in record time. This gives me an idea of the type of crows that will be there. Still no line up, and they keep jacking up the prices. Unless something amazing takes place, I am breaking the long standing tradition of attending. I am not ready to let go, but it seems I have to.
Electric Daisy Carnival is coming to NYC this year. Well, it is really in NJ. I bought tickets for that, and it sold out real quick as well. Partial line up is out, and its not a bunch of Dubstep. I am thankful for that. However, the lineup as it stands now seems like it is just another Electric Zoo, which is comprised of commercial EDM that kind of sucks. Hopefully it will change. If not, I guess my festival days are over. I am not leaving the scene, its been leaving me for quite some time now.
It is not like I don’t enjoy a lot of the new music out there. I would actually have went to see Nero at Roseland had I known before it sold out. Its the attitude of the new people, the crazy prices, the influx of bad music, the lack of good new Drum and Bass, and the good producers all switching over to Dubstep that suck. I will still have great nights out like tonight at the World of Drum and Bass versus Darkroom. The funny thing is, Darkroom is a Dubstep crew with their own room tonight that is largely responsible for the night even happening, but if it was not for the world producing the same bad sounding Dubstep tracks over and over again, the Drum and Bass room DJs would have a lot more new records to choose from.
Going to the World of Drum and Bass versus Darkroom tonight. I must be getting old, because I should be a bit more excited than I am. This is one of the biggest things to hit DnB in years. I think the last time I saw a line up as enticing was at Stereotopia back in 2001.
DJ SS never disappoints, Crissy Criss trumps his pops Kenny Ken who was here the last time they did the WoDnB tour in NYC, and Bailee has been selecting some of the best tunes for Radio 1Xtra since the dawn of time. I somewhat wish Tali was coming out, as she did LA last night, but Warren G is classic. I don’t really have much to say about Subzero or Greenlaw, but I should have a strong opinion after tonight. I love a good live performance.
Okay, you know how I said I should be more excited, well now I don’t think I could be.
Luckily, I have this 4 hour mix from Crissy Criss to hold me over. http://www.keepinitcriss.com/downloads/mixes/CrissyCriss_QQMix_2012.mp3
I made it out to Starscape in Baltimore, MD again this year. I must say it was better than the previous year because it wasn’t 105 during the day and 98 and humid after a thunderstorm at night. I also didn’t have to get on a plane in the morning bound for 11 hour work days in Vegas.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Monsters of Jungle thing, but I still think the Upbeats should have gotten their own time slot. Only Chase or Status showed, and the set was kind of boring. You could tell there was no emotion behind it, but that might have something to do with the fact that they seem to spin the same set everywhere they go. Unless sits full of double drops, that is just lame.
The hotel we stayed at was supposed to have a free shuttle, but it did not. It was also quite far from the park. I don’t intend to stay there again next year.
Here are some pictures from the event that a friend of mind took. None of it is shopped. He just does strange things with his camera. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lvarone/sets/72157619487225848/