- Bradon Salm,
ISU junior comuputer science major
NORMAL – Deep down in concrete basements and abandoned buildings, vicious sound waves of heavy wobbles and sharp bass drums permeate the surroundings before drifting off into a muffled annoyance. From within, fans rage while their hands refuse to fall from the sky. As they continue to move their bodies to the synthetic sounds of chaotic beats, the courageous sun finally creeps into the dark surroundings to beg for mercy and plead for the crowd to retire for the day.
For Brandon Salm, junior computer science major, dubstep represents a sweeping movement of waves of artists and fans crashing the music scene, supplementing traditional instruments and performance techniques for overwhelming bass drops from mixers and software.
The music may sound tasteless, purposeless and even obnoxious to some listeners, and it has even been described as “what it would sound like if Transformers were having sex.” But for dubstep fans, or “wompers,” like Salm, the adrenaline rush associated with the creation and evaluation between the perfect match of technology and music provides a high that no other drugs can match.
“Essentially, dubstep is a very heavy electronic music with a tempo of 140 beats per minute,” Salm explained. “However, people have started calling music that technically isn’t dubstep, dubstep, such as house, electro, and other different drum and bass genres.”
The actual genre of dubstep as it is known today is essentially very new, dating back to South London around the year 2000. The actual roots of modern dubstep are thought to have derived from different forms of Jamaican reggae that used deep levels of bass until London-based DJ Hatcha began setting the standards for the dubstep music we hear today. Now, the presence of artists such as Rusko and Skrillex dominate awards shows as their sounds blast through basement walls and car stereos.
However strange the music itself may seem, it takes an even stranger group of people to listen to the drum kicks on crack. Dubstep parties are often confined into small, private parties that rage through the night only to be kept on the hush the next day.
“I’d say the dubstep scene, or more broadly the electronic scene, is a very interesting culture because there is great music with plenty of people making it so there are always new tracks,” Salm said. “Also, due to the rise in interest in the scene, a lot more music festivals have been popping up, which is great to some extent.”
Due to the newfound rave over dubstep, Salm also notes that like all music when it becomes popular, dubstep has attracted many fans with intentions other than enjoying the music.
“Many people go to shows and festivals just to take club drugs like ecstasy, ketamine and other drugs, all of which are not something you should be putting in your body, especially as often as some of these people do,” he said. “I fear that the scene is slowly losing purpose in the music and being consumed by the urge to do designer drugs.”
For Salm, his musical background of electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums and piano mixed with his strong personal interest in music technology posed the ultimate challenge for him after the genre’s strong rise to popularity over the past few years.
Although Salm has always considered himself a true musician at heart, his love for dubstep can be traced back over four years ago after listening to bands like Infected Mushroom, Bassnectar and Skrillex.
“I’ve always been a metal head, so when I heard Bassnectar’s newest album I was in love,” he said. “But now they are all fairly mainstream compared to when I first discovered them for myself.”
But for every person that enjoys the newest wave of music there are a dozen more who absolutely hate it. Those who may not understand the intricacies and knowledge and skills necessary to create each song often perceive it as idiotic and lacking of any skill or musical talents.
“People comparing dubstep to traditional music are comparing completely different art forms,” Salm explained. “Electronic music is designed not composed. Most people hate it now because it is ‘too mainstream’ or they just don’t understand the scene.”
Whether the dubstep is just another trend in our young generation’s musical taste or a cemented part of our culture, the pounding of awkward and heavy sound waves will continue to pierce the ear drums of those who demise it and incite an adrenaline rush and head-bobbing for the wompers who love it.
Regardless of the majority reaction to the music, this genre revolves around the minority. And if the minority continues to support the tracks, then the music will live on.