While some dance fans in the post-EDM era lack complete understanding of dubstep, others have found ways to latch on to some of the core components of the genre—adding their own unique flair to the genre's austere, spaced-out sound. The UK crew and record label, Chord Marauders are an example of the sorts of visionaries pushing the genre into new territories. The beats they make don't sound like dubstep in the Burial sort of way—or early Skream—but more along the lines if the two spent a night in a jazz bar, smoked a blunt, and threw on some sort of velvet jumper.
The group's first vinyl-only release—and the fourth installment of their Groove Booty series—drops May 1, and is set to feature new tracks from label mainstays like Geode, Jafu, Congi, B9 (as well as affiliates like K-LONE and Circula), in addition to two-discs of succulent cuts from their back catalogue. Sticking to the vibe that many of their fans have come to know and love, the album flows vibrantly with a spread of jazzified, low-end bass melodies, often unfolding into lanes of grooving 2-step and abstract instrumentation that's hits your pleasure points in all the right places.
Along with a stream of one of the comp's hottest tunes—Australia-based B9's head-down gem "Bip Bap Bop"—we caught up with labelhead Geode for a chat about the label's current milestone, getting to finally connect IRL with some of their long time contributing producers, as well as where the world's current dubstep scene is going.
THUMP: What have been some of the biggest moments for the Chord Marauders crew since the last album release?
Geode: Finally linking up with James (Jafu) and Travis (B9) were both big moments. I met James at Shambhala Festival, set in the pristine wilderness of BC, Canada, where we were both booked to play. Not only getting to meet James, but to hear an hour of his music on a Funktion-One sound system was a real privilege, and definitely felt like a validation of everything we are doing with Chord Marauders. I met Travis in London when he was traveling through Europe with some of his crew. We only spent a day together but it was great to just hang and make some music in the real world.
Describe the vibe of the new release a bit, and how it marks an evolution from the last LP.
There have been some subtle changes, like featuring Circula for the first time. His track, "For Esbjorn" is a bit of departure from our usual - slowed down at 130BPM, with these dusty piano loops. The track falls on Side B, alongside tracks by Ago & B9, which overall has a more earthy feel to our usual stuff. This is contrasted against Side A, which provides the pushier, synthier vibe for which we're better known- and Sides C&D, comprised of 6 favorites from the back catalogue that we wanted to commemorate on vinyl.
What's your take on the dubstep scene currently in the UK? Anyone you'd like to shout out?
The traditional dubstep sound, and the scene that surrounded it, has undoubtedly become a lot smaller in the UK. In many ways, that needed to happen because that mono-tonal, faux-aggressive, big snare sound was getting quite tired. Despite all this, a handful of producers & labels like Innamind, Deep Medi, Artikal, and Deep Heads have been able to maintain prominence, thanks, in a big way, to promoters in North America, Canada and Europe.
And, whereas many of those successful innovators have combined dubstep with grime, techno and half time jungle influences, we've steered in a more vibe-oriented direction - standing on the shoulders of giants such as Silkie, Martyn and 2562. This side of 140 is simmering nicely, with a whole a raft of producers such as Mercy, Ago & K-LONE all coming into their prime, and many more on the rise. What's also exciting is seeing that minor-7th aesthetic growing in popularity amongst more established producers, across the genre spectrum, evident in tracks such as Sorrow - "Iscariot", Ivy Lab - "Gomeisa" and Flava D - "Tell Me". Vibe and groove oriented music is undoubtedly growing, and I like to think we're a small part of that.
Any plans to take the label to America?
Maybe next year if circumstances permit. Come holler at us.
Pre-order Groove Booty Vol. 4 here.