“So you laydeez like real dubstep, yeah?”
Yeah, Mr. Smoking Area Man, we do. Despite being relatively ‘new’ listeners, we’ve been welcomed with open arms, integrating with ease into the community. We (my friend, M, and I) now live for the packed floors filled with steppers, peaceful vibes and that all-important soundsystem rumble that fills the soul (and the stomach) with anticipation.
We recently caught Squarewave, Commodo, Silkie, Hatcha, Kromestar and Sepia at a new night down in Brixton. Axis‘ debut had a formidable line up that suggested the scene is as thriving as ever. As we’ve always found at dubstep events, there was a true family spirit at Axis, with the DJs and MCs floating around the aptly-named Brixton Jamm to chat to fans or joining their brothers onstage.
Team Starfleet cheekily skank behind Silkie playing out Limits from his latest Bird in the Sky EP. Kromestar’s Mere Sher roaring through the speakers like the mighty lion it’s named after. Commodo’s melodic synths and tribal Deep Medi drumbeat underpin JME’s gritty vocals in Shift. Without a doubt, we’d found an event that epitomised exactly what we were looking for.
Those who feared for the genre, or naysayers that go on about its ‘death’, have been firmly put straight. As long as the demand from the fans exist, these nights are here to stay. Who better to confirm this than event creator Chad Heslop? His passion to keep the sound alive inspired him to round up the best artists for the debut of London’s latest dubstep night…
How did the idea for Axis come about? The idea for Axis came about when talking to a couple promoter friends of mine about the lack of dubstep nights on in London. At the time DMZ hadn’t come back with their night Broken Dub House, so it was only System and Contact. They only happen a few times a year, leaving many of us waiting for the next one to come around.
After discussing it for a while, they suggested that I should start a night to help push the sound that I am so passionate about; we felt it was time a promoter who wasn’t a well-established DJ/producer/label owner etc. to show support to the sound. What inspired the name Axis was the fact that the dubstep scene had gone full circle from the underground to the mainstream and back again.
Why host it at Brixton Jamm? I chose Brixton Jamm as I felt that it had the perfect atmosphere for what this night is about. I have been going there for the last few years and it has that welcoming atmosphere you don’t find very often in clubs these days.
So after deciding this was the right venue for the night I spoke to a friend of mine who organises a night called Love Kulture (the guys who hosted room 2), they spoke to the venue who were happy to be a part of our launch.
Have you come across any obstacles with curating the night? Luckily this time round it has been fairly obstacle free, the venue and artists have been great to work with no complications etc. I had originally planned to launch September 2013 but due to DJs being unavailable and various other things that were going on at the time, it was difficult to get any kind of traction and get it going, so Axis had to be put on hold for the time being.
Your debut line up had some serious names – Hatcha, Kromestar, Commodo, Silkie. What made you choose these artists in particular? I chose these artists because I felt they were a good representation of both where the sound has come from and the direction it is going in. All of these artists in one way or another have had some impact on dubstep as a sound – whether it’s through production or their work rate – they have helped to spread this sound. I also chose these artists because they also represent the variety of forms dubstep can come in.
There seems to be a renaissance of dubstep nights in the UK – is dubstep dead? Where do you see the genre going in the future? I don’t think dubstep is dead personally, I’ve always believed that the idea that a genre could be dead is ridiculous. Music is one of those things that long after we are all gone is still going to be here. What I think has happened is all the people who liked dubstep because it was the next cool thing to like have all found a new bandwagon to cling to, while genuine fans of the music have stayed faithful to the sound. This is why you’re seeing this resurgence of dubstep nights in London. We had System in August, Broken Dub House in September, Croydub in October, Axis in November. December’s got Deep Medi Christmas Skank, Broken Dub House, a Contact on Boxing Day at Fabric, and System on NYE to look forward to…
If you could get anybody, who would you get on your ideal line up? For a dubstep night my ideal line up not including the artists I already have booked would probably consist of people like Goth-Trad, Deleted Scenes (Distance & Pinch), J:Kenzo, Icicle, Kahn, Loefah, Joe Nice, Chefal and Quest, all hosted by Crazy D, Sgt. Pokes, Sun of Selah, P Money, Novelist, Flowdan and Manga. For non-dubstep artists I would get artists like Doom, Madlib, Flying Lotus, Cashmere Cat, Bonobo and Burial (although we all know he doesn’t do bookings).
Can you give any details on future line-ups or artists that you’re thinking about? At the moment there are just ideas floating around in terms of who will be playing at the next event so at the moment it’s all a little hush hush.
DMZ is back in Brixton, Croydub celebrated their 6th birthday on the subs over at XOYO, and now Axis is making its indelible mark on the scene as the newcomer to be reckoned with. Dubstep is alive and well.
Peace, love and respect.