A subgenre of electronic dub music, dubstep is described as tightly coiled productions featuring heavy bass lines, clipped samples, and reverberant drum patterns. Some tracks also include the use of vocals.
Established in the UK, dubstep was a result of more experimental releases from UK garage producers. They wanted to incorporate elements of drum and bass into the 2-step garage sounds, using a minor key and dissonant harmonies to produce a darker sound. This genre also often features the use of samples, sparse rhyme, and a pervasive sub-bass.
The Growth of Dubstep
Although dubstep began around 2000, it wasn’t until 2009 that this genre received widespread popularity beyond the UK – a growth that meant greater exposure for Australian dubstep artists as well. It was brought to mainstream audiences through assimilations of elements of the sound into other genres. Pop music promoted the sound significantly, with mainstream artists like Rihanna, Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg using elements of dubstep in their music. It also achieved commercial success in the United States with Skrillex, who became a household name for the genre that was soon recognisable worldwide.
While dubstep has declined in commercial popularity today, it remains a niche genre that boasts passionate fans both locally and internationally. Many dubstep artists still play at international music festivals, and notable Australian dubstep artists include ShockOne, Bombs Away, and Phetsta.