People with Passion: Chris Hemstreet, dubstep DJ

People with Passion

Chris Hemstreet, Dubstep DJ

Interview January 11, 2011

Chris Hemstreet, left, with Bandit partner Sean McCarthy

Dubstep DJ Chris Hemstreet comes to Chicago’s Subterranean Friday, January 14 with the Furthersound Dubstep tour. Here, in a discussion with Performer Mag’s Jack M Silverstein, Hemstreet lends his own definition of dubstep, and describes his deep passion for the music.

I’ve always had a passion for heavier music. Once I started DJing, I felt like that’s what I really wanted to play. Not a whole lot of people were playing dubstep, and the people that were playing it didn’t really have the same kind of taste in the heavier music that I did. I started spinning a little bit more electro kind of stuff, and that’s not really what I was looking to do. I wanted to play heavier electronic music. Once I came across dubstep (laughs) it snowballed from there.

I didn’t know a lot about dubstep, and I’ve been looking into it, but define it for me.

It’s kind of the heavy metal of electronic. It’s really heavy. It’s got a lot of wobble to it. The bass synths that most dubstep uses have a wobble. It’s not just one hit. It kind of retains its sound and then repeats from there.

Dubstep artists started in London. It’s a brew of garage and grime music, and jungle. It’s like drum and bass, but a half step. It’s 140 BPM, while drum and bass is about 180. So it’s a little slower. It’s a half step. Dub – step. It’s got that dub, like reggae, heavy-bass influence, while having a half step of drum and bass.

Check out video from the Wolf Pack’s 10.30.10 show at Kinetic Playground.

I asked this question about a year ago to an electro pop duo, and I want to ask you: they talk about, you know, “Jazz music has a soul.” Or rock and roll has a soul, or the blues, or hip-hop. A purity. Does dubstep have a soul?

I think it does, but I think it’s very new. There’s people that come up to me all the time who love it, and that seems to happen more often than others. But there are those people who come up to me and are like, “Oh, it’s not really my thing. It’s not for me.” (Pause) Which is fine.

But you know, it’s a newer music genre. There’s a lot of room for development. The sound that is out right now is not where it’s gonna be in a couple years. It’s a new genre, but I feel that the passion behind it and the people involved, the artists, the producers, all that kind of stuff, they care so much about it. This is the genre they were hoping would get big because this is the kind of music that they’re interested in. So it is newer, but there are a lot of people who feel really passionate about the genre, and just want to see it get bigger and bigger. If that’s what you call a ‘soul,’ I’d say yes.

For details on Furthersound Dubstep tour, check out their event page on facebook.

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