DJ Matt Clarke and the rise of dubstep in Detroit
But can the bass-heavy style survive Britney Spears and Korn?
Published: October 19, 2011
With electronic styles coming and going in spurts, how long does Clarke expect the dubstep to last? "It's really weird with bass music in general," he says. "We fought the good fight with drum 'n' bass and a lot of people still do for a long time. It always seemed like it was gonna take off and it never did. It's really unique and refreshing that bass heavy music is taking off in the city because it's been a long time coming. I had the longest running drum 'n' bass night for two and a half years, and we'd get 50 to 100 people. Around the [electronic music] festival time we'd get more people, but that was the only time we'd have a packed house. It's great with dubstep to be able to bring in these UK headliners and not lose thousands of dollars in the process."
He adds that promoting dubstep is "still a gamble but not as bad as it was with jungle [music]. You'd have to have your ATM card on you because you know you'd be running to the bank to pay off a DJ at the end of the night."
So dubstep in the Motor City is building a sizable following because of guys like Clarke and artists such as Serax, Calico, Laceration Selekta and Item9.
"The guys on our website have been in it for years and tried different sounds," Clarke says. "They use turntables and don't use auto-sync buttons. They're artists with a turntable. A lot of people these days have a laptop so they're a DJ, even though the computer does all the work for them. I try to stick to the guys who have been through the ups and downs of electronic music."
Even if you detest electronic music, think it's random, melody-free din made by non-musicians ... you need to at least appreciate that there's plenty of art involved.
Matt Clarke performs Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Freaky Deaky event at Bert's Warehouse, 2739 Russell St., Detroit; 313-393-3233; with Tiga, Claude Vonstroke, Boombox and others. $25.
> Email Brett Callwood