This time last year, a lot of people were worried about where dubstep where was at, and indeed, where it was going.

This was a concern brought on by hordes of johnny-come-latelys (many of ’em jumpers from the dark jungle ship) flooding the market with ill-considered, metallic sludge, and turning dances into heads-down, how-heavy-is-your-sub sausage-fests. Consciously or unconsciously, a loose cabal of forward-thinking musicians and tastemakers have distanced themselves from that rather dumb sub-culture, and they’ve done it through deed rather than speech. Being a genre or culture founded on principles of unity, no one wants to think that dubstep has divided musically, but only a fool would deny that the word “dubstep” has come to mean very different things to different people.

Right now, for the most interesting DJs and producers around – including Martyn, Ramadanman, Appleblim, Peverelist, Pinch and 2562 – dubstep is not closed or static, it’s something mobile and readily open to influence from, among other things, garage, broken beat and techno. Dubstep has always been mongrel in nature; hell, it draws its strength from its very cross-breeding – and the people still advancing the form are those who keep that fact, as well was the demands of the dancefloor, in mind.

Dave Huismans, aka 2562, deflects my question as to whether such a splintering exists, and if so whether or not he’s part of any particular splinter; but unlike, say, Shackleton, he’s not uncomfortable with the ‘d’ word:

“Sure, I don’t mind it; ‘dubstep’ was the sound that sparked the 2562 project to begin with. I’m easy with whatever bracket people put [my music] in, I don’t give it much thought…”

He’s comfortable with it because he knows his music is self-evidently as complex and far-ranging as the ‘d’ word itself. 2562’s debut album, Aerial, is released on Pinch’s Tectonic Recordings imprint next month. Named after The Hague zip-code where Huismans lives and works, the 2562 project is characterized by a post-garage skippiness, with rolling bass and hyper-edited snares learned from broken beat, a sense of space and echo learned from dub, and a devastating 4×4 anchorage and attention to detail from techno old and new. The result is more than the sum of its parts, an incredibly fulsome yet lean, natural-sounding, dancefloor-wrecking hybrid that’s found favour not only among dubstep heads but anyone drawn to fresh and innovative club music. So how would the man himself describe it to a normal bloke down the pub?

“‘Yeah it’s like funky dubby ofbeat techno with nuff sub-bass, guv.’ Erm, no, if anyone asks I usually start mumbling something including the words dub, techno and garage and then give up realising those signifiers mean nothing to them either.”

Strangely enough, broken beat, that most undervalued chapter in the evolution of dance music, is perhaps the most palpable influence on 2562:

“Yes, it’s one of the sounds I was experimenting with when I first got into production five years ago. In the early 00s it was very versatile and inspiring and I loved the syncopated offbeat rhythms from the likes of Dego, Aardvarck, IG Culture and Seiji. A lot of people seem to have this idea of noodly music when you mention broken beat, but there was some seriously forward-thinking, kick-ass music being made in the early days.”

Huismans made some rather kick-ass bruk tunes himself under the name Dogdaze. That project is now retired, but he continues to turn out incredible deep house and techno confections under the name A Made Up Sound.

“I started making tracks some five years ago, experimenting with various electronic and Detroit techno-influenced stuff, and a bit later broken beat as well, teaching myself how to make music in the process. A Made Up Sound is the longest going project, but I haven’t made much under that name recently as I’ve been concentrating on 2562. Now that I’ve finished Aerial, that may change, but I don’t know. Depends on the tempo, the role of the sub…”

Aerial has found its natural home on Pinch’s Bristol-based label, Tectonic. Pinch, along with fellow west country boys Peverelist, Appleblim et al, has done more than anyone to keep dubstep fresh, modern, and above all, agile; he’s also responsible for the genre’s first great album, Underwater Dancehall. Impressed by the label’s foundational dubstep releases (indeed, the heavy conga work-out of Skream’s ‘Bahl Fwd’ ancticipate 2562’s ‘Kameleon’), Huismans sent Pinch a demo, and released two singles, already considered classics: ‘Channel Two’ / Circulate’ and ‘Kameleon / Channel One’. He was drawn to what he calls the label’s “unique character”, and the fact that for Tectonic “the sound always comes first.”

Are there any plans to perform the 2562 material live?

“I have no plans to play live; I’m quite sure I enjoy DJing much more than I would enjoy doing a laptop set. My music is programmed, it was never the point bringing it ‘live’. Plus I tend to play out a lot of my own tracks, so people get to hear unreleased 2562 material anyway. When I play for a techno crowd I’ll select uptempo dubstep productions from myself and others, and mix them up with Detroit-ish techno. At pure dubstep gigs, although the emphasis is still up-tempo, I play the more meditative, slower steppers as well, depending on the vibe and the time of the night. As long as there’s some funk to it…”

And there, ladies and gentleman, is the rub: above all else, 2562 got the funk.

Kiran Sande



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