Skrillex didn’t smoke dub…

Articles // Sat 18 Dec 2021 - 01:51am

The rapid rise and fall of dubstep’s mainstream popularity through the early 2000s leaves many debating what caused the sharp downturn of such a community-focused genre. Over the years many have piled the blame at the feet of one man.

Sonny Moore, better known as Skrillex was a leading name in the wave of ‘brostep’ that rose at the demise of dubstep, leading waves of ravers to believe he was responsible for the hiatus of their beloved genre. This, however, is far from the full story…

As hard as it may be for some to accept.  Skrillex did not kill dubstep.

Tearout the lies

Before the bass heads murder me, it’s time for a quick history lesson. At the height of dubstep in the UK, producers started to experiment with new midrange basslines, moving away from the archetypal sub-focused sound inherited from the genre’s dub origins. This birthed the tearout sound that caught the ears of DJ’s like Skrillex, inspiring their mutilation of the dubstep. These sounds blossomed in the UK underground in around 2007…

‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’ – Skrillex

‘First of the Year (Equinox)’ – Skrillex

‘Kyoto (feat. Sirah)’ – Skriillex, Sairah

The same year as the smoking ban

This smoking ban is what truly started the decline of dubstep, where nights had previously had the whole crowd’s attention for the whole night moving through dubstep sub-genres with tearout tracks being brought out as the high energy moments in a set. The whole night was a community in a single room appreciating the music.

Following the smoking ban, the audience was now split between the smoking area and the dancefloor, forcing DJ’s to battle for the attention of ravers, increasing the number of tearout tracks and removing a level of community from the nights. These sounds, however, were ear-catching enough to draw the attention of a much wider audience than dubstep had seen before.


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Without the smoking ban, it’s likely we would never have seen such a boom in the popularity of tearout and the mainstream interest that followed. Within this descent from its heyday, Skrillex merely stood as a marker for when the old genre had finally run its course, not the knife in its beating heart.

It’s time bass heads moved away from the brostep hate. The underground will always be at odds with the mainstream for one reason or another, so stop wasting time with your pitchforks and spend it listening to the music we all love.