Electro is trying to take over the world; not even Pinky and the Brain could have come close to doing what this genre of music is doing today. I say this with reverence and deep appreciation for it because it is one of the most versatile genres of music I have had the pleasure of listening to. This article is primarily about Dubstep, a sub-genre of Electro. It will feature info about influences on pop culture and how it’s taking over the scene in South Africa. Dubstep is my favourite style of music, besides the occasional indie random stuff. It has managed to captivate millions of people worldwide. You have to look at what Dubstep is made up of to try and have an understanding of what it is.

There was big daddy Electronic Music and he’s very old. Even in his old age he still manages to keep two ladies under his wing. They are Electronica and Electro.
Electronic-MusicElectronica is more of a stay-at-home girl. She doesn’t go out much and her kids chill at home too. You actually might know some of them: Trip-Hop, Neo-Psychedelia and anything with a “tronica” added to it. Electro likes to dance and because of that she likes to party. Her role models are Techno, House, Disco and Hip-Hop. As she spends so much time partying she has to hire assistants to do everything for her. Their names are: Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Progressive House, Hardstyle, Trance and many others. Dubstep comes from a UK Garage and Dub neighbourhood. Drum & Bass found Dubstep so that Electro could hire Dubstep. Dubstep has since then become one of Electro’s favourite assistants and because of that Dubstep has hired Brostep, Electro Trash and Luvstep (there are many more) as assistants. 

On a serious note, Dubstep was said to have been created in the early 2000s and most sources agree that it comes from London, England. Dubstep is characterised by:

  • Use of bass, sub-bass and most importantly wobble-bass
  • An average tempo of 140 beats per minute
  • A half-step rhythm

All the characteristics mean nothing when trying to describe what it sounds like. Some have said that Dubstep sounds like two Transformers having sex. You have to hear it to understand. One of my favourite Dubstep jokes from my friend, Ayushi, is:

Dubstep: Wob Wob.
Person: Who’s there?
Dubstep: Bob…
Person: Bob who…?
Dubstep: BWOBOBOBOBOBOBOBOB

What makes good dubstep, good and bad dubstep, bad? I actually don’t know but I can hear it. Some music is rubbish! It might be that there is too much bass and it’s not refined, just a grainy mess or that the song sounds too random. I’ve heard one song that was remixed horribly. This guy, Logam, from Betamorph Recordings actually did a spoof example of a bad dubstep song. It’s funny!

In a South African context Electro, as a whole, is owning the party scene. A few years ago the clubs were dominated by Trance or House and all other genres of Electro were part of the underground scene. I was aware that there were big changes when Truth in Johannesburg closed down its Hardstyle floor and opened up a Dubstep floor in its place last year. It’s like the world has flipped over or something because the underground electro scene is no longer underground. Griet, Dont Party, Tomorrow Never Happened, It Came From The Jungle and Science Frikshun organise the bassiest parties in the Gauteng and Western Cape regions. They have access to such awesome venues like !Arcade Empire (Pretoria), Town Hall (Johannesburg), Alexander Theatre (Johannesburg), Assembly (Cape Town), Fiction (Cape Town) and others. Capitol Theatre and Hotbox Studios, both in Pretoria, have been decommissioned. Intense partying was probably the cause but in any case Capitol Theatre might be reopened next year. These venues draw big crowds mainly because of the South African Electro artists that headline the parties. Some of my favourite artists are Double-Adapter, Haezer, Liver, Sibot, Lark and Niskerone.

You should listen to these artists as well:

  • Hypomaniacs (Style: Electro Trash)
  • Yesterday’s Pupil (Genre: Electronica)
  • RudeOne (Sub-genre: Drum & Bass)
  • Crossman and Phizicist (Style: Drumstep/Brostep)
  • King Rat (Style: Drum & Bass)

Electro is popular all over the world. To this end I’m just going to list some of my favourite international DJs and their genre. Here goes:

  • Skrillex (Style: Brostep)
  • Chase & Status (Genre: Electro)
  • Katy B (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Magnetic Man (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Flux Pavillion (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • DJ Fresh (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Deadmau5 (Style: Progressive House)
  • DirtyLoud (Genre: Electro)
  • Doctor P (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Skream (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Cookie Monsta (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Vaski (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
  • Knife Party (Sub-genre: Dubstep)
Infected Mushroom (Style: Psychedelic Trance), Netsky (Sub-genre: Drum & Bass) and Sub-Zero (Sub-genre: Drum & Bass) are following in the footsteps of Deadmau5 (Sub-genre: Progressive House), Armin Van Buuren (Genre: Trance), F.O.O.L (Sub-genre: Dubstep) and David Guetta (Genre: Electro House) and coming to visit South Africa next year. People wonder why electro became so popular and I really think we have pop-culture to blame, and more specifically Lady Gaga. When Lady Gaga became a pop sensation in 2008 she became the biggest Electro-Pop artist of all time. Now this is important because she sparked a trend, suddenly Electro-Pop was in fashion (unlike her meat dress). Many artists began to experiment with the sound, like La Roux and Owl City. Suddenly Electro was back in fashion in a big way. I guess the sound just evolved until artists started experimenting with harder and more aggressive beats and that’s where we are now. You know a genre has gone big when Britney Spears and Rihanna sample Dubstep in their songs, Korn enlists Skrillex to make their entire album an Electro Trash fest or even when an Electronic artist, Skrillex, is nominated for 5 Grammy Awards.

Electro is the best. People that listen to it are the best.
That is all.