‘Dubstep is dead’ sang a headline in yesterday’s Daily Star. The reason why? Skream had given an interview to one of the paper’s gossip columnists, in which he apparently said that the genre he helped create had become meaningless. And very quickly an oh-so-familiar theme reared it’s oh-so-boring head. Again.
The drone of death knells has surrounded dubstep for ages now. Fans and DJs who were instrumental in lighting its fuse have abandonned it, decrying the sound as they move on to other, seemingly more fertile strains of dance music. And it’s easy to see why. Taken at face value, what’s left of dubstep has been bastardised, parodied and flogged to within an inch of its life, leaving a nasty, decrepit stink that makes people wrinkle their face in disgust.
But dubstep’s not really dead. How could it be? Skrillex is still sweeping up GRAMMYs and thousands of ravers are still looking forward to the last weekend in August, when Outlook festival presents a full spread of 140bpm’s finest on a beautiful stretch of Croatian coastline.
The problem is that, following its boom during the mid to late noughties, dubstep has settled down. Rather than a revolution, it’s just another genre. “It’s had its day in the limelight. It’s not the new kid on the block anymore, it’s the sulking teenager!” Pinch recently told Mixmag. “For me the innovative spirit of the early dubstep years drizzled out around 2008. For five years it hasn’t been king of the hill.”
With founding DJs left disillusioned, big tunes coming around with far less frequency and seminal nights like DMZ reduced to annual reunions where everyone raises a lighter to ‘Skeng’, it begs the question: who’s actually going to save dubstep?