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AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Necromancer

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Necromancer

Forming DnB Futures: American Grime Features NECROMANCER in Grand Finale of DnB Podcast Series

By Jimmy O’Hara

Perhaps no form of electronic music intertwines so many genres nor influences numerous producers across time & place as the beloved Drum N Bass (DnB). From its formation within the breakbeat hardcore and ragga jungle sounds of early-mid ‘90s U.K. scenes to its reemergence at the turn of the 2020s, DnB’s remarkable impact on electronic music spans decades.

DnB is more than a music genre, it’s a social response rooted in resistance to normativity, an imaginative space for artists and listeners alike to dream collective futures. Although the legacy of DnB’s past and present is celebrated among soundsystem communities the world over, its future rests on music culture maintaining the genre’s recent surge in momentum. Producers like Tyler Hawkinson aka NECROMANCER are leading the way.

“The history of DnB is what really got me so involved in the genre; it’s rich in culture and has a bpm range unlike any other, with a timeless sound that never gets old,” says NECROMANCER. “Coming from the deep-rooted sounds of Jamaica and having swept across London, this genre embodies a full sound of heavy bass and percussion that just doesn’t quit.”

Based in Minneapolis, NECROMANCER is a veteran to the electronic scene, frequently mixing and producing DnB for local and regional crowds. His daytime set at the Pyramid Stage during the 2021 Infrasound Festival engulfed listeners in thick, earth-shattering drumlines to remember. NECROMANCER recalls being struck by one transformative festival set in particular a couple years back.

“I always play a bit of DnB in all my sets. In 2019, I got to play a lot of DnB at the Even Further Festival. I also had no idea that I was about to get my mind blown in the audience as well,” explains NECROMANCER. “I got to see the amazing Rey Keith rip a 2-hour set. It changed my life forever.”

Keen on community education in the electronic music scene, NECROMANCER holds the history, present, and future of DnB in high regard. He draws artistic inspiration from legends who have shaped and evolved the dynamic genre, namely Joe Nice, Mala, Goth-Trad, Ray Keith, DJrum, Alix Perez, Skeptical, Goldie, D-Bridge, Mister Shifter, J:Kenzo, and the Subsequential crew.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one area or person, but there have been so many people that push me to dig deeper,” says NECROMANCER.

Collectives like Background Noise and American Grime (AG) stand true in a shared vision to bring the promising future of DnB into the fold. In the sixth and final episode of the ongoing podcast series AG Presents: DnB, NECROMANCER unleashes a carefully curated half-hour mix for the masses. This producer’s passion for DnB’s past and his optimism for the genre’s future shines through the mix’s uniquely imaginative take on what it means for musicians to dream.

“I hope to show a variety of sounds from this genre. There’s a little bit of something in there for every different person passionate about bass music culture. This mix hits a lot of my favorites,” says NECROMANCER. “From the smooth jungle and liquid bits to the Heavy Rollers and Jump Up, I try to give each track room to breathe and reveal it’s full self to the listener.”

NECROMANCER believes the future of DnB is bright. He credits AG for illuminating this timeless genre through the power of podcasts and for working diligently to keep the drumline light aflame.

“One thing that draws me to the AG crew is how they are bringing proper attention to the grime and DnB scene here in the U.S.,” says NECROMANCER. “I hope to help do the same.”

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Klippee

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Klippee

Drum N Bass Takes New Form with Rising Talent Across North America

By Frank Wiedmann

American Grime (AG) Presents: Drum N Bass has taken us on a ride through the DnB space, providing listeners with a variety of unique sounds and artists. This week’s episode, featuring Klippee, shows what the U.S. scene is all about. 

“The U.S. has a ton of awesome artists and DJs, and it’s great that the American Grime guys want to highlight some of them,” Klippee states. “I hope the series brings more awareness to DnB in the states.” 

Each of the artists in AG’s DnB series have mentioned how much DnB means to them and how the genre has shaped their personal growth.

“I’ve loved DnB for as long as I can remember. In fact, my buddy Ken (from Combine) just got me Quadrant 6 by Dom & Roland on vinyl,” says Klippee. “That track was released in ‘97 and is one of the tunes that made me want to produce DnB.”

Although DnB has been lurking in the background of U.S. club spaces since the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, the genre didn’t gain much traction until early- to- mid-2021. Now that DnB is increasing in popularity among the electronic scene, we are seeing a ton of fresh talent and new subgenres begin to unfold. Artists are also beginning to draw influence from other genres previously left unexplored. 

For example, dubstep is derived partially from DnB, but nowadays the two distinct genres are starting to fuse and coincide.

“Lately I’ve drawn much influence from all the awesome 140bpm stuff being produced, specifically Ternion Sound and Skeptical,” says Klippee. 

Now that these genres are intertwining, electronic fans are gaining a better understanding of how similar yet different they are. DnB also empowers listeners to examine the recent electronic past and appreciate the brilliance that has been in front of us the whole time.

“DnB is incredibly versatile,” says Klippee. “DnB goes so deep in terms of history. I highly recommend that folks who are getting into DnB for the first time go back through label catalogs. There are so many gems from 10 and even 20 years ago that still go off.” 

A lot of the tracks we hear today are descendants of the revolutionary groundwork laid by DnB’s pioneers just a few decades back. Up-and-coming artists are starting to make their own way by experimenting and bringing a fresh look to the genre. 

“Just look at Seattle. We have some awesome DnB talent, and it all sounds different. Quadrant & Iris, Kumarion, Homemade Weapons, Rebel Scum, Root for the Villain, Yukon Sucker Punch… I could go on.” Klippee says. “There is so much you can do at 174, 87, 160, and every bpm in-between.”

For this week’s AG mix, Klippee is cooking up a unique half-hour adventure for the masses. This mix will take fans on a journey, immersing them in yet another deep dive into the vast world of DnB. 

“I wanted to play a set that I would play live,” says Klippee. “It’s stompy, techy, rolling, and full of weird sounds.”

Klippee reflects fondly on a memory close to his heart and that keeps him devoted to the genre.

“I would say landing in London and going to the 1985 night at Village Underground with my friends was something else. I got to see some of my favorite artists for the first time in an incredible setting, and Skeptical dropped one of my tunes. I legit could not process it for a moment. I flew halfway across the world to a place where the big boys play, and I heard my own track played on the soundsystem,” Klippee says. “It changed my life. That whole trip was like a DnB pilgrimage for me.” 

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Stay tuned for the sixth and final guest-mix in American Grime’s DnB podcast scheduled for release Friday, November 19 feat. Necromancer.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Lee Griffin

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Lee Griffin

From Warehouses to Mainstages Lee Griffin Takes Listeners on a Journey Through the Evolution of Drum’N’Bass

By Frank Wiedmann

As Drum N Bass (DnB) has gained popularity in the U.S. electronic scene since early 2020 it’s worth noting DnB’s rich history throughout the development and evolution of modern electronic music.

American Grime (AG) presents: DnB is taking a deep dive into the dynamic genre. In this six-part series, each artist transports listeners on a journey through the vast world of DnB. From liquid to rollers and beyond, DnB empowers fans from all corners of the electronic music community to explore unfamiliar sounds and uncover new worlds.

This week’s episode features Lee Griffin, a DnB don known best for his collaborative project with Legion prior to launching his current solo alias. Lee Griffin credits the DnB space for cultivating some of his most joyful memories and helping shape the artist and person he is today.

“DnB isn’t a fad genre and hasn’t gone anywhere since its inception,” explains Lee Griffin. “Through all of the mixes featured in this series, I hope people will learn about the different subgenres of DnB. The evolution of drum and bass is time-stamped by its subgenres.”

Dating back to the early-mid ‘90s U.K. scene, DnB arose out of a variety of popular electronic genres, forming a novel underground sound. Drawing from elements of hip hop, breakbeat, electro, and pop, DnB took on a multilayered essence of its own. With the creation of this new genre came new talent.

“I draw inspiration from Logistics, Culture Shock, and Andy C,” says Lee Griffin. “Logistics for his flawless liquid DnB, Culture Shock for his consistent innovation, and Andy C for his unique style of DJ’ing.”

Imagine the early ‘00s of U.K. rave culture; DnB began spreading its wings, becoming a staple in warehouses across the country. Eventually, this genre would fly even further, working its way around the globe. However, DnB faced barriers to planting its feet in the U.S. scene. This was largely due to other genres, such as house and techno, taking the center stage. DnB quickly gained a reputation as the black sheep of the electronic music scene in the U.S., going on to thrive in dark basements and secret word-of-mouth parties.

Fortunately, DnB is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After more than a year of isolation, many electronic fans have found new sounds and embraced change for the better. From those word-of-mouth functions to mainstages across the world, DnB is seeing an abundant re-emergence across electronic communities.

Lee Griffin wants AG podcast listeners to know why DnB means so much to him and countless others in the music industry.

“As an artist, one of my favorite memories was playing Tomorrow World in 2015. And as a promoter, I’d have to say the Language 2-year anniversary was massive. Crissy Criss, State of Mind, AK1200 and Mystikal Influence killed it, and it was amazing when we brought Ed Rush & Optical,” says Lee Griffin. “DnB matters so much because of the shared, widespread love for this niche genre. I’ve met some of my favorite people through DnB, including my girlfriend. I get a feeling of pure joy bringing people together through DnB.”

AG presents: DnB is the perfect introduction to DnB. Lee takes listeners on a half-hour adventure that will be memorable for many months to come.

“In my mix, I wanted to go through a few different flavors. I wanted this mix to be something fun more than anything. Vocal, dancefloor, heavy, deep, epic, funky and cheeky vibes on deck for this one,” says Lee Griffin. “I hope more people gain exposure to DnB through this series. Even if one new DnB fan is made, I’ll be happy. The more the merrier.”

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Stay tuned for the fifth guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, November 12 feat. Klippee.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Knoxz

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Knoxz

KNOXZ SHARES KNOWLEDGE & KNACK FOR DNB IN LATEST AG GUESTMIX
By Drew Zwilling

Hailing from Florida, Patrick Felony created the KNOXZ alias around five years ago. In these five years, it’s evident that KNOXZ has made his mark on the DnB scene, and paved his own path setting him apart from other artists. As an MC and lyricist, KNOXZ versatility shines through his craft. Between his tracks charting on Beatport’s Top 100 and releasing with renowned labels like Renegade Hardware, Human Imprint, and Abducted, making KNOXZ a beloved name within the DnB community.

KNOXZ describes the deeper purpose of the American Grime (AG) presents: DnB podcast series is to serve as a platform for DnB newcomers and veterans alike.

“I suppose it was the year-long supply of tacos I was promised,” KNOXZ says jokingly. “Being long-time friends with Calvin and Serg and already releasing some grime tunes and bars for their AG label, I couldn’t have been more thrilled at showcasing my roots and passion for drum and bass.”

KNOXZ hopes the impact of this series will expose listeners to sounds they may not have heard before. He describes the deeper purpose of this AG podcast is to serve as a platform for DnB newcomers and veterans alike to appreciate this timeless genre.

In 2008, KNOXZ released his first DnB track. Now, he’s a veteran of the sound, with more than a decade of experience touring across the U.S., U.K., and Puerto Rico. KNOXZ holds DnB in high regard and strives to support his music community at-large.

“After appealing to the deeper side of 140 bpm, I immediately grasped onto grime,” says KNOXZ, a seasoned MC for DnB shows. “I resonated with the grime sound and knew I had to get involved. It didn’t take long for Jumanji, Serg, myself and a few others to begin bringing that sound to our local scenes.”

When it comes to the history and importance of DnB, KNOXZ brings it down to one concept: innovation. DnB’s signature dark basslines, reese synths, and unique drum loops & patterns all trace back to the genre’s inception in the early 90s U.K. scene.

“So hard to sum up, but simply put, innovation. DnB has a way of adapting to almost any sound but still making itself unique, different, and quite technical. It has a soul but can also be ‘too future’,” says KNOXZ. “It can evoke feelings that may be too complex for some, or a masterpiece to others.”

KNOXZ credits a variety of artists and genres that influence his art the most. The likes of legends like Teebee, Gydra, Teddy Killers, Audio, Gridlok, Jade, Optiv, Ink, Ed Rush, and Optical all reflect his niche interests in the world of DnB.

“I’m most drawn to dark, techy, and neuro subgenres,” says KNOXZ. “Old Virus, Renegade Hardware, Eatbrain, and Cause 4 Concern all invoke some of my favorite styles in DnB.”

KNOXZ’s guest-mix marks the third episode in AG’s ongoing DnB series. When crafting this thirty-minute gem, he filtered his approach through the genre of grime. KNOXZ hopes that adding hints of grime will help the mix appeal to a wider audience.

“I tried to incorporate more interesting basslines with longer note progressions, and added some tunes with lyrical content. I even dropped a few halftime bits to bring back some similarity,” explains KNOXZ. “I figured it couldn’t hurt when representing myself to also include some original productions as well.”

DnB fans and AG listeners will get an intimate look into KNOXZ’s favorite memories associated with his DnB journey.

“Throwing the first Winter Music Conference event with Tristan, Jonathan (aka Spor) and Chris Renegade back in 2006 was a wild time. We had a jacuzzi in the VIP area, and Gigantor of Evol Intent threw a chair in the hot tub,” recalls KNOXZ. “It was lots of rockstar vibes back then, and who can blame us? It was the golden era of DnB, a genre that creates many good memories, including family and friendships along the way.”

Through this week’s AG mix, KNOXZ takes fans on a journey through dark and technical basslines. This DnB veteran’s artistic influences permeate through his track selections. The blending and weaving of sounds pulled from other genres gives life to the mix, highlighting the riveting styles of drum and bass. KNOXZ seamlessly executes this blend of sounds, delivering a refreshing DnB experience.

Stay tuned for the fourth guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, November 5 feat. Lee Griffin.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Alphaxero

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Alphaxero

American Grime Passes The Mic to Dedicated DnB Producer AlphaXero in Latest Podcast Episode

By Jimmy O’Hara

Next time you’re at a camping music festival, remember that Drum N Bass (DnB) has some roots in modern outdoor-event culture. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s U.K. electronic scene, music campouts gained popularity, creating spaces for artists and listeners alike to engage in more radical forms of stylistic experimentation and self-expression. Such spaces partially gave rise to DnB’s parental lineage: breakbeat hardcore, darkcore, and hardcore jungle. However, by early 1992, producers were transitioning from syncopated beats and heavier sampling to tracks infused with reggae-like basslines and breakbeat sounds.

The takeaway: beyond the human talents behind electronic music, physical spaces — and especially the outdoors — largely shape the ever-changing nature of music we know and love. DnB is one such genre. Between the recognizable elements of jungle from which it arose and its speedy creative turnover that spans 30+ years, DnB offers a turbulent world of extroverted magic that is highly worth your time and exploration.

“The sounds of DnB are changing every moment, so it’s important that we keep an open mind when listening,” says James Dean aka AlphaXero, this week’s featured guest on American Grime (AG) presents: DnB. “DnB has been my love since I first heard it, and that love has never changed. This genre is always so upfront and novel, yet somehow never strays from its roots.”

Having produced and mixed DnB for more than a decade, AlphaXero is no stranger to the genre’s most common elements — sampling, synthesization, rhythmic composition, sub-bass musical patterns, atmospheric padding, vocal instrumentation, and tempos clocking in around 160-180bpm. AlphaXero assembles his influences from noteworthy legends within DnB circles.

“I’ve always been drawn to Andy C’s classic blends and switches,” says AlphaXero, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “I also love DJ Marky, given his amazing track selection and skill sets.”

Starring in week two of the AG presents: DnB podcast series, AlphaXero hopes for listeners to appreciate the multifaceted nature of DnB. He’s leveraging his carefully curated mix to highlight the sheer variety of subgenres and sound designs that have long distinguished the DnB space.

“I’ve always been close to the AG crew, so for them to invite me to assemble a mix for their series was a pleasure. When crafting this guest-mix, I wanted to showcase all the different sounds I love most in the DnB realm,” says AlphaXero. “I structured the mix to start off very light, and the intensity builds throughout.”

Like so many sound lovers around the world, AlphaXero holds DnB close to his heart. He reflects on personal experiences with DnB that have expanded his sense of community and left him with memories to last a lifetime. And in line with the musical power of outdoor spaces, AlphaXero’s most cherished DnB moment is connected to a unique location in our physical world.

“My favorite memory with DnB would probably be when I saw SHY FX in Croatia at a 2,000-year-old Roman coliseum,” reflects AlphaXero. “I was surrounded by beautiful, like-minded souls.”

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Stay tuned for the third guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, October 29 feat. Knoxz.

Each Friday, be sure to travel on over to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Machete

AG Presents: Drum and Bass – Machete

American Grime Launches New Series Dedicated to Drum N Bass, Features Three-Decade Veteran DJ Machete in First Installment

By Jimmy O’Hara

It’s a chilly spring night in London, 1992. You and your posse briskly walk to the weekly breakbeat hardcore event, stirring with anticipation for the function’s inevitable fusion of genres. Your regional music community is three years deep into a creative period of cross-pollination nested within the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) hardcore scene. Throughout the night, you shake your tail-feather to a family of increasingly familiar sounds that have gradually gained a distinct presence in DJ setlists: dark sampling progressions rooted in dancehall and reggae; layered drum lines repurposed from classic loops; funk breakbeats paired with basslines reflective of dub and hip-hop.

You’re experiencing in real-time the emergence of a fast-paced, rapid-fire, percussive, rhythmic identity of electronic music that will embed itself in the souls of sound-lovers for decades to come: Drum n Bass.
An internationally-acclaimed, career-long champion of Drum and Bass (DnB), Rob Machete aka DJ Machete is an educator, producer, event organizer and label founder widely celebrated since 1991 for revolutionizing the west coast’s dance music culture. Hailing from Los Angeles (L.A.), he’s harbored an intuitive knack for high-energy sounds since his early childhood. 

“I was a hip-hop -loving skater while growing up, and most of the groups I enjoyed held their DJs in high regard, such as Low Profile (DJ Aladdin) and Gangstarr (DJ Premier),” says Machete. “So when I first discovered jungle music through L.A. rave DJs playing hardcore breakbeat-techno… it was the hip-hop samples, scratching, and reggae/dub -influenced tracks that truly caught my ear.”

Machete cites much of his musical inspiration originates with the works of DnB legends like L.A.’s R.A.W and DJ Hype, as well as Andy C, Shy FX, and Craze.

“When it came to DnB, all these artists really rocked my world,” recalls Machete, also a fan of rock, funk, and jazz.

According to DJ Machete’s brand website, the L.A. electronic scene was newly formed when he began absorbing ideas from the U.K. breakbeat-techno rising out of London and Bristol between 1989-1993. This experimental era in the hardcore breakbeat world was largely shaped by producers like Raw, Curious, and Oscar da Grouch. Such icons paved the way for Machete’s pivotal, innovative maturation of the west coast’s flavor of DnB into the beloved beast it is today.

“I’ve always felt connected to the artists who produce, play, and/or promote DnB. There’s this overwhelming energy when a DJ drops a fresh new track that hits properly on the right soundsystem,” says Machete. “It’s that feeling I’m always striving for in the DnB space, a phenomenon I feel is unmatched by any other family of music.”

It’s no wonder why American Grime (AG) is featuring Machete in the first episode of their third podcast series — AG Presents: Drum n Bass. Machete has actively disc-jockeyed since the breakbeat-techno days of 1991, has organized the ongoing & world-renowned weekly RESPECT event for 22 years, has hosted a weekly radio show and live-stream series for more than 12 years, and has led his own talent agency for the past decade, just to name a few of countless milestones marked on his DnB curriculum vitae.
“I celebrate DnB every day of my life and I’m thankful to do all of this for a living,” says Machete. “I am a DnB lifer, ride or die.”

Beyond the scope of his multi-generational contributions to the electronic space, Machete makes clear that as with most popular music, DnB ultimately began within Black communities. Black artists pioneered a vast array of genres from disco and house to dubstep and garage — and DnB is no exception.

“I want fans of electronic music to understand that DnB is derived from Black musicians and sound designers. This fact must always be recognized and never be forgotten,” says Machete. “The soul of DnB comes from Black artists and culture.”

Machete hopes for his guest-mix — and AG’s new podcast series — to instill a sense of intentional curiosity in listeners who may be new to the intricate and diverse world of DnB. He also hopes it will resonate with long-time veterans of the DnB realm.

“I’m all about exposing DnB to the masses,” explains Machete, “… especially those who may not have heard it before, or who just want to experience the music properly from producers who have pushed the genre for most of their lives.”

The half-hour, upbeat, rhythmic journey is crafted to bring a variety of DnB musicians into the fold. Machete’s memorable mix features a range of L.A. talent, from well-known regional producers to up-and-coming local artists. The DnB star also showcases his renewed dedication to DJing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, having levelled-up his mixing, scratching, and beat-juggling abilities to new heights. 

“This guest-mix features my favorite songs from summer 2021,” says Machete. “I included many vocal-based tracks with lots of energy; the mix is for AG, after all.”

Machete’s guest-mix is guaranteed to catapult listeners into an adventurous six-week series that celebrates the immeasurably important and markedly meaningful past, present and future of DnB. And Machete’s contagious enthusiasm ignites the collective fire that will light the way.

“I encourage all DnB enthusiasts to go out and support your local DnB artists and promoters, while practicing safety as the pandemic continues,” says Machete. “As often as you possibly can, take your friends to a DnB night. Make some beautiful memories of your own.”

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Stay tuned for the second guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, October 22 feat. Alphaxero. 

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, uncovering the complex history and endearing optimism of DnB right along with you.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Onhell

AG Presents: Dubstep – Onhell

Movements, Memories & Momentum in Music: Onhell Concludes AG Dubstep Series with Masterfully Multilayered Guestmix

By Jimmy O’Hara

Dubstep shows are light-years beyond mere dance parties; they’re multi-sensory, three-dimensional history lessons that celebrate the genre’s roots in Black culture on U.S. soil. One of dubstep’s grandparents is ‘80s house music, which was birthed by ‘70s disco, whose mother was ‘60s soul. This lineage links today’s beloved bass tunes to earlier genres, ranging from ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and mid- 20th-century rhythm & blues to 1890s boogie-woogie and 18th-century folk spirituals.

Tracing this family tree matters because bass music — and the expansive creativity of its producers — has never existed in a vacuum. Electronic music and social movements are deeply intertwined. Many forms of music originating in Black communities arose as an intentional, liberatory, community-building response to structural oppression. At its core, dubstep is resistance and solidarity working together to decorate spacetime.

The interconnected, transformative nature of soundsystem music is evident in dubstep’s multilayered and versatile range of influences. Through a curious and critical lens, approaching dubstep with nuanced appreciation and delicate care becomes a bold act of deliberate courage. It is this understanding that underpins American Grime (AG) Presents: Dubstep, a podcast mini-series challenging listeners to dive deeper beyond the dubplates, dancefloors and disco balls.

“Dubstep originated from Black music,” says Onhell, a California-based producer. “All the best music originates from Black culture.”

Onhell’s artistic appreciation for music originating within Black communities is evident throughout his growing discography. In addition to creating original tracks, he remixes hidden and lesser-known gems from many of today’s renowned rappers and hip-hop artists, spanning 21 Savage and Yo Gotti to SZA and Gucci Mane. He’s particularly proud to perform for — and stand alongside — an expanding community of dubstep-lovers who reflect the collective beauty of human diversity.

“The community of dubsteppers is funny. It’s diversifying with more women, LGBTQ+ and people of color,” says Onhell.

Marginalized groups have always existed in electronic spaces, but are beginning to gain equitable representation and access to industry opportunities both on-stage and behind the scenes. AG and Background Noise partnered for this podcast project to elevate the movement toward bringing historically excluded talent into the fold.

“This makes me super happy,” says Onhell. “Dubstep is for everyone and full of love.”

Flavoring his bassline-heavy sound designs with low-end wavelengths and west coast wobbles, Onhell’s obtuse range is the optimal choice to conclude AG’s six-part series. His personal creative process is entirely unique, reflecting how he experiences his personality. Onhell describes this workflow as his visions shattering into virtually infinite pieces. Once his ideas split apart, Onhell puzzles his mental and emotional elements back together, giving extraterrestrial form to the externally invisible.

“I feel very split in my personality. Musically, in every way, I feel split — and not just in half, but in a million different pieces. It’s my job to split those differences into one being,” explains Onhell. “It’s not easy. But when it works, it feels amazing.”

The sixth and final installment in AG Presents: Dubstep, this week’s episode feat. Onhell splits listeners’ eardrums into a nebulous array of nutritious bass arrangements. Onhell was invited to participate by the beloved MC Jumanji, a legendary wordsmith and champion of grime known for carefully curating and narrating distinct dubstep functions.

In other words: Onhell — and all artists featured in AG’s garage and dubstep series — were each chosen to represent these genres for a reason. And within ten minutes of tuning in, listeners are bound to uncover why.

“MC Jumanji asked me to make a mix for his dubstep series,” says Onhell. “I respect him and appreciate what he’s doing for grime in the U.S., so naturally I had to do it.”

Audio-Analysis

Onhell’s half-hour journey begins with a raunchy, sewery raucous of sounds. The mix’s fast-paced rhythm finds minimal pause, creating an on-the-go atmosphere that accelerates those along for the ride. Paying tribute to the art of emceeing, Onhell incorporates clever voice-overs that guide the mischievous musical adventure. If mixes could drive, this one would outspeed opponents in high-risk highway races on the regular.

As the nostalgic-yet-modern sequence unfolds, Onhell opts for the notably witty and peculiar sounds of mid-2000s dubstep, channeling the likes of Mala, Benga and early Skream. Around the mix’s midpoint, Onhell unleashes a hypnotic soundsystem circus, steadily firing a coordinated slew of low-end ammunition in a ravishing, progressively robotic fashion. This thirty-one minute masterpiece showcases a thoughtfully eclectic assembly-line of mechanically-sound, boiling-hot tunes, all while hinting at dubstep’s legacy of roots in Black communities and lived experiences. 

The result: An instant favorite, reliable for kickbacks and afters, suitable for new students of soundsystem tunes, and flexible enough for campsites and solo nights in.


Infographic source:Dr. Portia K. Maultsby, Professor Emerita in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the Indiana University Bloomginton College of Arts + Sciences; infographic revised 2005.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Poklypz

AG Presents: Dubstep – Poklypz

Influence, Intention & Inspiration: Dubstep Producer Poklypz Delivers A Distinctive American Grime Mix

By Merissa Underwood

“It’s my thing…Dubstep. And if it’s not yours, that’s cool.”

For Poklypz, the AmericanGrime (AG) Dubstep series reflects the re-emergence of dubstep. It’s not dead, and never was. It just stepped out of the limelight for a little while. Those who are truly connected to the bass world have long held onto the genre’s roots. 

“I’ve been creating dubstep and other forms of underground music for over a decade.” Poklypz 

Poklypz’s natural ability to experiment with audio, draw from multiple genres, and surprise listeners with new sound designs are what sets his artistry apart. 

“UK Grime really inspires me, as well as rock and folk genres, artists like Bon Iver and James Blake.” He goes on to share. 

Poklypz intentionally deviates from the norm and finds creative sparks in places many would never consider. Preceding his producing days he was a classically trained violinist touring England. This experience inspired him to produce dark-bass oriented electronic music. 

“I love the underground soundclash culture style of UK Grime. It developed and influenced Dubstep so deeply. I’m really intrigued by the atmospheric feels, I just love how it doesn’t necessarily fall into what many people classify as ‘music’ as a generic term.” 

Although the electronic scene is expanding into mainstream spaces with collaborations between producers and pop stars, Dubstep remains highly misunderstood. Electronic music, and specifically dubstep are not just ‘pots, pans, car engine sounds, with a huge drop.’ It’s interpreted in an infinite amount of ways, and that understanding is part of what underpins AG’s ongoing dubstep series.

Much like the way cuisines differ across cultures, dubstep morphs into different beasts depending on where you find it bumping. Poklypz has more than a decade of experience producing UK Dubstep. Throughout his time creating new sounds, he discovered his own unique person. He also found solace in his community; oftentimes, he and his peers didn’t have access to mainstream support. Poklypz is grateful to have found a community (change to family or support so we don’t say community twice?) in AG, a collective that seeks to elevate his sound design and personal growth.

AG’s series is determined to bring their love of underground sounds to the surface. The sounds that AG wanted to dance & groove to weren’t playing on the radio or in clubs, so they created a space for it themselves. 

If it doesn’t exist, create it for yourself. 

In Poklypz’s AG mix, your ears will vibrate with low-end frequencies designed to lead you straight down the warehouse rabbit hole. His sound has a pervasive sense of sinister spookiness reminiscent of 4 am with no sunlight in sight. Rebellious and angsty, you’ll find yourself ready to scrunch up your nose and turn your bass face on for a sweet and savory half-hour of 140 bpm. Poklypz’s rule-bending approach strays from sound design norms infusing hip-hop grooves with ruinous OR ruthless experimental rhythms to arrive at a thrilling thirty minutes of dirty UK-inspired dubstep guaranteed to quench your weekly sound-system thirst. 

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Stay tuned for the sixth & final guest-mix in American Grime’s podcast scheduled for release Friday, July 30 feat. Onhell

Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

AG Presents: Dubstep – Karnage

AG Presents: Dubstep – Karnage

Japanese-American Producer Karnage Keeps the Dubstep Genre Above Ground

By Drew Zwilling

“I want to show the sound of Japanese dubstep to the world,” says Karnage, an up-and-coming dubstep producer from Nagoya, Japan.

Karnage is grateful for the opportunity to showcase his new sounds that have long been locked away in his music arsenal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

With heavyweight releases on renowned labels like Youngtsa’s Sentry Records, Goth-Trad’s Back To Chill, plus both VomitSpit and Infernal Sounds under his belt, Karnage is paving his path in the dubstep world.

“I hope people enjoy my sound during this particularly hard time. My approach has been slowly changing and I hope people can feel that in this mix,” says Karnage.

Having lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, Karnage began producing dubstep as early as 2011.

“Music has been my passion ever since. The dubstep community is so important to me because I’ve established so many friendships all over the world through it,” says Karnage. “It’s all about the sound, as long as people enjoy and respect the music that’s fine by me.”

Karnage draws influence from many artists and genres. He hopes that his American Grime (AG) Presents: Dubstep mix will encourage listeners to better understand and appreciate the unique history and ongoing evolution of dubstep.

“For death metal, artists like World End Man, Endon, and Full of Hell Cephalic Carnage are my favorites at the moment. For phonk, I really like drift-phonk artists like Dominous Soul and Xteage,” says Karnage.

Karnage also looks to his friends for inspiration and motivation: “Shout-out to Dayzero, Distinct Motive, Rider Shafique, and Infernal Sounds Family.”.

Dubstep’s influence is evident as it’s helped people cultivate a worldwide community. Fans from around the globe come together over a shared passion for the ominous sounds that fans have grown to know and love. A new wave of producers is spawning from the woodwork, drawing inspiration from the forefathers of the dubstep genre. Collectively, up-and-coming producers are bringing the background sounds of dubstep into the fold and paving the way for a new generation to move the genre forward.

In this week’s episode of AG Presents: Dubstep, Karnage creates a half-hour soundsystem experience for you to explore.

Throughout this half-hour gem, Karnage flawlessly executes his unique flare, honing his take on the evolving sounds stirring within soundsystem spaces in recent years. The mix immerses listeners on a sonic journey fluctuating between playful and abrasive basslines. Shifting between shadowy troughs and glimmering crests, listeners will ride the wave of Karnage’s mind coming to full fruition.

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Each Friday, be sure to travel back to the Background Noise newsroom for coverage, commentary and more. Throughout this six-week journey, our editorial team will cover each episode, tracing the rich history and groundbreaking evolution of dubstep right along with you.

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