When Distance rolled through Victoria and played at the Rifflandia Festival as part of his Canadian tour, I had the great opportunity of chatting with him. As someone who has been involved in the UK Dubstep scene before it even had the “Dubstep” label, Distance (also sometimes known as Greg) provided a very insightful look into the progression of the genre and his prediction on where it is headed.
For me, it was a chance to meet a DJ that I’d been following since my high school days and sit down with an artist I not only respected but also loved. Distance gave us some great insight on his upcoming projects, how he feels about Dubstep today and what his most prized album is – gasp!
Dub Selekta: Out of the shows on this tour that you’ve played so far, which has been your favourite?
Distance: I really shouldn’t say cause they’re all really good in their own ways. But I’d probably say some of the more memorable ones would have been Denver and last night in Vancouver. But you never know cause I haven’t done tonight yet!
Dub Selekta: Can you hear a difference in the Dubstep coming from North America vs the Dubstep being produced in the UK?
Distance: Yes, definitely. There is a US produced sound. Over here it went a bit crazy quicker and people started remixing pop tracks like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Britney Spears and MGMT. To me it’s a gimmick and most Dj’s in England wouldn’t touch those tracks. Why not just create something original?
Dub Selekta: With RinseFM receiving their broadcast license this past year, do you think that’s a testament to the major growth of the Dubstep and grime scene worldwide?
Distance: Kind of, but I think with RinseFM it’s mainly the fact that it’s been going for 16 years and has been responsible for many people breaking through like Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Roll Deep among others. It’s a station that always pushed and believed in new music. They were the first station to support Dubstep.
I had been sending in demos for months and it wasn’t until a few of the guys from Rinse came down to FWD that it finally clicked that Dubstep was getting a serious following. Within two weeks they put on myself, Hot Flush and Quiet Storm who is now known as Caspa. Within such a short space of time they put on about four Dubstep Dj’s but at that time it wasn’t even called Dubstep. It was just FWD music.
Dub Selekta: After Mary Anne Hobbs broadcast her Dub Warz special on Radio 1 a few years ago, did you personally notice a big influx in artists wanting to produce with you and get more involved in the UK Dubstep scene?
Distance: Ya, there were definitely more bookings and more interest in general. There was quite a bit of interest before then but I think when it was presented in that way of two hours with all of those artists who were all bringing in a unique sound, it made a big impression. It was like saying “This is new, this is Dubstep and there is nothing else like this.”
Distance: He’s not really up and coming but Tunnidge, which is the first guy I’ve signed to my label Chestplate. Previously all releases have been my own and he’s the first guy that I’ve brought in. There are some others that I’m into too; District, Lurka, Commodo and Science. I haven’t signed them or anything but they’re people that I think are making really good music.
Dub Selekta: When you’re producing a track, do you imagine the noise you want to make in your head? Or do you just play with the equipment until you find a suitable sound?
Distance: I normally always go in and see what happens. Whenever I’ve sat and thought “I’m going to make this style of track” or “I’m gonna do this” it never seems to happen. It’s better when you go in and just jam.
Dub Selekta: When can we anticipate your next release?
Distance: There are a few things being discussed at the moment but I can’t really go into much detail. I’m going to be doing more things with Deleted Scenes, my project with Pinch. We’re going to be doing more stuff together, perhaps not Dubstep-ie but different tempos. Trying to make music we like, no matter what style.
Dub Selekta: And the last question, what’s the most loved album you have in your record collection?
Distance: Aww, god. That’s really tough! Probably Cowboys from Hell by Pantera.
For more information about what Distance is up to, check out his myspace. He’s also got a mix that will be airing on BBC Radio 1’s Mistajam’s Dubstep Special airing on Saturday, October 16th, check it out here.
AND! Pinch (one 1/2 of the project Deleted Scenes) is playing in Van this weekend, check out the facebook event and hit it up!