I was busy scrolling through Dubstep Forum the other day, as you do, and noticed a whole barrage of negative comments about, erm, dubstep, on its own forum. So it got me wondering, when did people go from orgasming over this mysterious new genre of 140bpm bass music, straight outta Croydon, to villifying it as badly as euro-trance
Has the bubble burst forever? I caught up with the original dubstep Don, Benga, to find out and let him take on the forum trolls.
Noisey: Hey Beni!
Benga: What’s happenin’. You ready?
Am I ready? Are you ready? I’m the interviewer. You’re the interviewee.
Hahaha, left up here bro’.
Eh? Where are you?
I’m in a taxi, going to my mum’s house to pick up my car.
What car have you got now?
I got two, a Range Rover and a Maserati.
Ooooh, a Maserati. I don’t know what that is. It sounds good though.
It is good. It’s quick as fuck!
Is it better than a Ferrari?
About the same.
Anyway. Let’s get into the interview properly. How do we know each other firstly?
We used to date each other. Shit, remember that?
When was that?
I dunno. I was like 21 or 22?
How long have we known each other?
It’s been a long, long time. How old are you now? 23?
Wow, you’re getting well old. Women’s looks fade.
What?! I still get ID'd.
Nah, you look young man. You’re killing it! You know, I have loads of greys now.
Oh, I thought "greys" was like a slang for something.
Ha, no, grey hairs coming out of my fucking head. I dyed my hair though so you can’t see them. I’m getting on aren’t I?
Yes you are. So, can I ask you some questions that I pulled off Dubstep Forum?
Go on, kill me. I’m ready for it.
OK, ‘Cylixx’, with two X’s, says "No-one actually likes dubstep, it’s a mass delusion." What do you have to say to that?
I tell you what, there are a lot of people that don’t like dubstep because they just follow the crowd. Who actually cares what anyone else thinks, though, right? I don’t make dubstep music though, so I don’t care.
What kind of music do you make then?
At the moment I make techno music.
What do you think about labelling genres. Does it annoy you?
It annoys me to the point where I find it harder to be creative when people label my music. Then again, if people didn’t label music, it would be difficult to find out what you like.
Yeah, it’s a good starting point.
As long as you don’t get pigeon-holed into just one genre.
But I guess, anything that you make, people are going to assume it’s dubstep.
Yeah, that’s the whole point of me saying I’m making techno. Even if I say that I’m making music at a specific BPM, like 127, that is NOT dubstep, people still call it dubstep.
What BPM is dubstep? 140BPM?
Oh my God, I knew that! Get in. You obviously taught me something.
I’m so, so proud. You could be a producer now.
OK, next question from the Dubstep Forum. ‘Gozew’ says "Dubstep is for retards".
Hold on, you can’t keep hitting me with like "Dubstep’s shit", "Dubstep’s crap". I’m getting sad.
It’s a chance for you to answer back.
OK, ‘Gozew’ you called him? I would say to Gozew that he is the fucking retard, because there’s good music in every genre. It’s very one-dimensional of him to say that.
So, how I don’t really like pop music, but there’s some amazing pop music out there?
Listen, Lady Gaga is exceptional if you ask me.
Oh yeah, I remember you always used to listen to "Bad Romance". You’d be driving past and people would be like, "There's Benga jammin’ to Lady Gaga!"
Fuck it. It’s a good song.
Here’s a nice quote I’ve pulled off the forum, from someone called ‘Dropbass’, "Listen to Skream or Benga or some of the old stuff, they are the creators of dubstep".
Oh wow. See that's lovely.
Do you see yourself as the ‘creator’ of dubstep?
It’s hard to say who created it, it’s a massive argument. But I would say me and Oliver [Skream] have had the biggest input into the genre. I wouldn’t say we created it. Those kind of statements make you complacent.
Right. Have you seen the DJ rich-list?
I have. Steve Aoki, Skrillex, umm, Swedish House Mafia…
Tiesto is number one.
Of course he is, haha.
Do you think they’re all deserving of being on the list?
Every single person on there is a hard working artist. Sometimes I don’t agree with the way certain people make their money, the only way I can describe this is; like, Windows, for instance…
Like in a house?
No, silly. Like a PC. It’s not creative, it’s not in anyway exciting, but Microsoft still kill it and make a lot of money from it. Then you have Mac on the other hand, which is creative and exciting.
So you’re a Mac, not a PC? Like in the adverts?
I would say I’m a Mac.
Skrillex was number two on that list…
How much did he make? $25 Million, or something? Crazy.
Where the hell did he come from?
He was in a band first of all. He came up with his own sound. Very talented guy. His baselines have such a melody, that you can almost sing it. He’s sick. He deserves to be on that list. He’s a Mac.
Would you say he’s definitely dubstep then?
People say this all the time, that he’s not dubstep. But to him, it’s a benefit, it allows him to be creative, he can do house, dance music, techno… whatever.
It’s like that Wiley song isn’t it? "Wot U Call It?"
2-step! Wot you call it? Hardcore. What you call it? House. Hahahaha.
What do you call it?
I just call it Skrillex music.
He won a Grammy too, is that part of you game plan?
Absolutely. I realize what I can achieve. That’s why at the moment I’ve kind of cut myself off from the things I was doing, just to focus on music.
You don’t seem to party like you used to.
Now and again, I’ll have a weekend, like this one in LA where I probably did about eight grams of cocaine and two of Mandy. Not often though.
Woah! I don’t even do that anymore.
Haha, you were more hardcore than I was.
Thank you, I’ve retired. Didn’t Arthur [of Magnetic Man] win a Grammy?
No, he was nominated. He produced that Daniel Bedingfield track.
He should have won! That tune was my ringtone for about a year.
You must’ve been young. I was doing work experience when that was out!
Haha, who do you admire right now?
Knife Party. I love the Ed Banger lot. To be honest, there’s not a lot of people musically that are inspiring me at the minute.
Yeah? Have you heard about Aaliyah’s new album? Drake, who has a tattoo of her face on his back, is apparently producing a new album of all her unreleased stuff.
Oh wow, Drake? Seriously? What the fuck is this shit? Drake can’t even produce his own records. If anyone should do it, it should be Timbaland
What about if you got asked to do it? Would you?
Come on, how long have we known each other? I’m ready for anything, you get me. I ain’t scared of nothing.
What about my dad?
I am a bit scared of him. He's intimidating, he says things that make you panic.
Didn’t he once put you in a headlock?
Yeah, he did. I think it was his way of saying "stay away from my daughter". I like you too much though. I risked it! Haha. Listen, you got any more questions for me you gangsta? I’m at my mum’s, she don’t like it when I’m on the phone.
Fair enough. Thanks Darling!
That's it, thanks!
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