Whenever I talk to anybody who knows their shit about bass music (Friction, Kasra, Skream, to name a few), the first name they mention when discussing the preservation of the dubstep ethos is Distance. The Chestplate Records founder has been keeping it deep and dark for almost a decade while the world around him has melted and morphed under the neon glare of the mainstream.
Chestplate's output over the past seven years has been insular and uncompromising. That's why a sense of gravity weighed in when Distance reached way over the pond to sign L.A's Mesck as the first ever non-UK artist to release on the label. "The Chestplate sound is what pulled me into writing dubstep back in '07," Mesck tells THUMP. "It's that characteristically dark and energetic flow that's become a sonic trademark. They've stayed the course and continued to deliver that staple sound completely unswayed by whatever wave people are currently riding in the electronic music world."
Over the past couple of years, L.A in particular has experienced a quiet dubstep renaissance, and Mesck has emerged as a standout producer and DJ. "Around 2010 or so, the whole 'EDM explosion' or whatever you want to call it happened. Things got a bit saturated and dubstep became a dirty word," he explains. "Now that the big wave has crashed and gone back out to sea, we're left with those who are looking back to the deep, dark, underground roots sound like the MASS crew is pushing."
Mesck's tunes maintain the atmospherics and mood of the original UK perspective, while incorporating a technical flair and the tribal, percussive elements championed by the Deceast camp. In his own words: "I put a lot of emphasis on atmosphere, percussion, and creating movement through sound design, layering, and resampling. It's kind of like walking that fine line between headphone and dance floor music. I try to keep it somewhat dark and ethereal but at the same time you want that energy and weight that will give the sound system a proper workout."
If you need Jemayel, he'll be camped out in front of the bassbins - @JemayelK