Why I love dubstep (And don’t care what you think)
After the disastrous culmination of my four years at KU, I worked for two years in a restaurant in my hometown, wreathed in the overwhelming steam-heat of an industrial dishwasher and the grinding repetitive exertion of highly physical, highly exhausting work. Solitude seems the only appropriate company for a person whose world has just been rocked to its core, so it was solitude that I found. My closest company at the time were pair of immigrants who also worked in the kitchen, and who became my roommates, and my brother, who is the only person who could fully understand my experience, and who had helped me get the job. To drown out my confusion and fear and help me get through the eight-hour shifts washing dishes, I took to seeking out the deepest and most powerful electronic tracks, plugging them into my phone, and letting them wash over me while my body kept the dishes moving.
To many people, an adult saying he is a fan of dubstep comes across like a punchline, almost like saying you’re obsessed My Little Pony, or that you’re a lifelong fan and follower of Marilyn Manson. I get a bit self-conscious when discussing my more obscure musical tastes, because I start worrying that people will judge on the basis of those tastes. But, see, here’s the thing. We all have things like that. We all have strange, idiosyncratic obsessions and habits and and tics that we can’t explain or account for. I know that you do too.
What is the thing that gets your blood boiling and gets your brainwaves firing? What is it that you could talk about on and on for hours and hours? The thing that your friends, as devoted as they may be, can barely understand what the hell you are talking about when you really start to get on a roll? What is the thing that gets you so excited and passionate and consumed and possessed that you no longer think about anything else, about the fact that you are broke, and your girlfriend doesn’t want to talk to you, and that the U.S. government may or may not be on the brink of the next World War? Picture that thing. Now, draw yourself closer to it. It’s ok. People may think you’re weird. Don’t worry about them. They are just, to use the words of rappers and internet stars, “haters”.
Today’s offering is the song “The Void” by Konec, feat. Anna Yvett. After finding the song on Youtube, I was surprised and pleased to see that the video was distributed by UKF Dubstep, a channel that had previously produced some of my favorite tracks when I was working as a dishwasher two years ago. The song is sweeping and transporting, with Anna Yvett’s voice shimmering and shining over a pulsing, hyper-powerful mix that builds and builds like good dubstep should. Her lyrics explore a shattered world, and she sings “And we’re searching through the shrapnel/ for a love we lost and never had before.” This song has me imagining the post-apocalyptic earth imagined in Wall-E, where mindless corporate culture is the norm, and the chances of survival for genuine connection seem like a million to one.
Every dubstep track has some semblance of a “drop”, where the climactic build melts away, and the DJ lets loose with all the tricks he can come up with. The drop is an emotional release, a moment of catharsis, where all pretense is shed, and the music reaches its full intensity and power. Dubstep carried me through my time as a dishwasher because, regardless of what happens, and how unfair and uncomfortable and scary my experience continues to become in pursuit of the almighty dollar, there will always be artists and sounds that parallel and amplify my feelings of frustration and my need for catharsis.
As the production builds and builds and finally drops, I am comforted to know that somewhere, seated behind an impressive array of soundboards and digital mixing equipment, lies someone who shares and relates to my frustration and awe. Dubstep helps remind me that there is always more to learn and explore and test and create. That as low as I may feel, as desperate as my situation becomes, that in spite of my brokenness and self-defeating habits and frustrations and mistakes, I do have a purpose, and it will reveal itself to me. That I am not the only one who is struggling. That ultimately, people do care.