Reid Speed's Dub Step Breakdown

By  | 

Reid Speed with headphones held to her ears
Dubstep: Steroids and Bass

Dub Step rests in safe hands with Reid Speed.

You know the L.A.-based DJ from her association with drum-n-bass, but she’s found dub step not only more palatable to audiences, it’s a more accepting culture than the insular drum-n-bass world.

And now, Play Me Records, which she founded in 2009, holds the position of top American dub step label on Beatport. Its offshoot imprint, Play Me Too, has just released a compilation of up-and-coming producers from around the globe called Play Me Too Presents The New Blood Of Dubstep.

From Play Me’s third release, which hit No. 25 on the Beatport dubstep chart, each label release has cracked the Top 100. Standout releases have included We Bang’s “Smash The Floor,” Cyberoptics’ “Geisha,” the “Bare” EP from Bare, and J Rabbit & Tremourz’s “Sexy Party”—which has been on the dubstep chart since it came out fall of 2010.

Along with various members of the Play Me stable, Speed will embark on the Bass Monster tour, which will run from spring to summer of 2011. Even though many of the dubstep producers are holdovers from the drum-n-bass era, she says, there are essential distinctions in the DJing approaches.

“Drum-n-bass was a different thing,” says Speed, who maintains an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre’s music. “You went to a record store, you listened to a pile of records, then you’d go home and you practiced for hours. I spent 30 hours a week listening to new music and two hours burning, organizing, and putting my CDs together.

“Because the rate of new tracks is so immense, it’s not the same [with dubstep]. It’s more about filtering out than it is about learning the music. The intro is 27 seconds, you’ll be out at a minute and a half. It’s about mixing fast and rapid turnover tracks.”

There is a mutual respect between U.K. and U.S. dubstep producers, she says, but there remains a marked difference between the styles.

“The U.S. took everything the U.K. did and pumped it full of steroids and bass,” states Speed. “‘Brostep’ is the derogatory name for it—all testosterone. But that’s what the kids want to hear. They want the filth, the LFO wobbles, the crazy synths and basslines. That’s where we’re pigeonholed, that’s what we’re known for, and that’s cool.”

– Lily Moayeri