Is Dubstep EDM

Is Dubstep EDM? From Basement to Mainstream

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Dubstep is a genre of electronic music that has gained immense popularity over the years. With its unique sound and infectious beats, it has captured the hearts of music enthusiasts all around the world. But what exactly is dubstep?

What is Dubstep?

Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music (EDM) that originated in the late 1990s in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by its heavy basslines, aggressive sound, syncopated rhythms, catchy melodies, and experimental elements. Dubstep draws inspiration from various genres like drum and bass, 2-step garage, and Jamaican dub music, creating a distinct sound that sets it apart from other genres.

  • What is Dubstep and Why is it So Popular? Discover the Dynamic World of Dubstep

History of the Genre

Dubstep emerged from the underground music scene in the UK during the late 1990s. It started off as a niche genre, with a small but dedicated following. Artists like Skream, Benga, and Digital Mystikz played a pivotal role in shaping the early dubstep sound. These artists experimented with different elements, blending influences from various genres to create a unique and captivating musical experience.

Its Place in Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Dubstep is often considered a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM). EDM is a broad term that encompasses various genres and styles of electronic music. Dubstep, with its distinct characteristics, has carved out its own space within the EDM landscape. It has gained mainstream recognition and has become a staple in music festivals and clubs around the world.

Party People on EDM Party
Party People on EDM Party

Defining Characteristics of Dubstep

Heavy Basslines

One of the defining characteristics of dubstep is its heavy basslines. The bass is the driving force behind the genre, providing a deep and powerful sound that resonates with listeners. The low-frequency vibrations create a unique energy that is both mesmerizing and captivating.

Aggressive Sound

Dubstep is known for its aggressive sound. It often features intense and distorted sounds that create a sense of excitement and adrenaline. The combination of heavy basslines, intense synths, and hard-hitting drums gives dubstep its signature aggressive sound.

Syncopated Rhythms

Syncopated rhythms are another key element of dubstep. The beats and rhythms in dubstep are often offbeat and unconventional, adding a sense of complexity and unpredictability to the music. This rhythmic intricacy is one of the reasons why dubstep stands out from other genres.

Catchy Melodies

While dubstep is primarily known for its heavy basslines and aggressive sound, it also incorporates catchy melodies. These melodies provide a contrasting element to the heavy bass, adding a touch of melodic beauty to the music. The combination of heavy bass and catchy melodies creates a unique and captivating listening experience.

Experimental Elements

Dubstep is a genre that thrives on experimentation. Artists constantly push the boundaries of sound, incorporating innovative techniques and unconventional sounds into their music. This experimental approach has allowed dubstep to evolve and adapt, ensuring its relevance in the ever-changing music landscape.

Comparing Dubstep with Other Electronic Music Genres

Dubstep stands out from other electronic music genres due to its unique blend of heavy basslines, aggressive sound, syncopated rhythms, catchy melodies, and experimental elements. While genres like electro house and drum & bass share similarities with dubstep, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Electro house, for example, is known for its energetic and upbeat sound, with a focus on catchy hooks and melodic progressions. Drum & bass, on the other hand, is characterized by fast-paced breakbeats and complex rhythms. While dubstep shares some similarities with these genres, its heavy basslines and aggressive sound give it a distinct identity.

Famous Figures in the Dubstep Scene

Throughout its history, dubstep has been shaped by influential figures who have contributed to its growth and evolution. Here are three notable figures in the dubstep scene:

John Peel

John Peel was a legendary radio DJ and music enthusiast who played a crucial role in bringing dubstep to mainstream attention. His radio show showcased emerging artists and underground movements, including dubstep. Peel’s support and promotion of dubstep helped it gain recognition and paved the way for its future success.

Mary Anne Hobbs

Mary Anne Hobbs is another influential figure in the dubstep scene. As a radio DJ and journalist, Hobbs championed dubstep and showcased emerging talent through her radio shows. Her passion for the genre and her dedication to supporting underground artists has made her an important figure in the dubstep community. Check this Q & A With Mary Anne Hobbs @ Reeperbahn Festival.

Flux Pavilion

Flux Pavilion, also known as Joshua Steele, is a dubstep producer and DJ who has made significant contributions to the genre. His track “Bass Cannon” became a dubstep anthem and helped popularize the genre further. Flux Pavilion’s innovative sound design and energetic performances have solidified his place as one of the leading figures in the dubstep scene.

Dubstep has produced numerous tracks that have become fan favorites and have topped the music charts. Here are some popular tracks and record labels in the dubstep EDM scene:

TrackArtistRecord Label
“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”SkrillexOWSLA
“Promises”NeroMTA Records
“I Can’t Stop”Flux PavilionCircus Records
“Bass Cannon”Flux PavilionCircus Records
“Cracks” (Flux Pavilion Remix)FreestylersNever Say Die Records

Conclusion: The Enduring Legacy of Dubstep

Dubstep has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the UK underground music scene. It has evolved into a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its heavy basslines, aggressive sound, syncopated rhythms, catchy melodies, and experimental elements. Dubstep’s ability to push boundaries and its distinct sound have revolutionized electronic music, making it an integral part of the EDM landscape. Its enduring legacy is a testament to the genre’s power to captivate and inspire listeners.


Is dubstep considered a mainstream music genre?

Yes, dubstep has gained mainstream popularity and is now a prominent genre in the music industry.

What are some other electronic music genres that are similar to dubstep?

Some electronic music genres that share similarities with dubstep include drum & bass, electro house, and 2-step garage.

Who are some other famous figures in the dubstep scene?

Other notable figures in the dubstep scene include Skream, Benga, and Digital Mystikz.

What are some popular dubstep tracks?

Some popular dubstep tracks include “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” by Skrillex, “Promises” by Nero, and “I Can’t Stop” by Flux Pavilion.

Which record labels are known for releasing dubstep music?

Record labels such as OWSLA, MTA Records, and Circus Records are known for releasing dubstep music.