Chomping the top off a bottle of fizzy 2016 with his snappy triangular uppers in January, Never Say Die’s lone shark Megalodon bit into the year with the brutal Watch Me on Never Say Die Volume 4. He’s kept the year tightly clenched in lockjaw ever since.
LockJauz, too – after several years of requests and demands, bass music’s biggest sea dogs finally found time to hook up for the killer Shark Attacks:
In fact the year’s been soaked red with Megalodon’s blood lust. He captained Black Label XL3 mix (complete with his own Crack Yuh Neck), his My Selecta EP took us in four fresh sonic directions and he’s just torn the last month to shreds with his Dutty Skank and Lazer Torpedo.
Wrapping up his most prolific year to date with a UKF podcast, we caught his own take on the year and how dubstep has fared in 2016.
2016 According To Megalodon…
“2016 was sick. We’ve all been told time and time again that dubstep was “dead” but this year has been testament that dubstep ain’t dead at all. We’re here. We’re doing our thing. We ain’t going anywhere.
It went through its mainstream phase now we’ve all gone back underground and taken it in all kinds of directions. It’s like it was before the media explosion. You can do tunes that are all over the place and have faith that people will embrace it whereas the last few years there’s always been this feeling of ‘well is this marketable?’
It’s been great to see the labels all establishing their different sounds and collectives in the scene. Obviously I’m going to say Never Say Die have killed it the most but you can see these really solid crews and collectives like ours in a lot of other labels – Circus, Owsla and all the guys who have their place and have a defined sound that no one else can touch.
It’s also been exciting to see new guys like Dion Timmer and Stabby coming through and getting international looks and lots of healthy attention. That’s such a relief to see that dubstep isn’t being governed by the old heads are still controlling it and there’s room for young people to come through and change the scene.
That’s how a genre stays fresh… Which, from an artist point of view, is the hardest thing we have to do. You really have to pay attention to what the kids are making in their bedrooms because we’re spending time on the road and have this other stuff going on that distracts us from the music. Those new guys coming through are coming up with ideas we don’t have time to make. They’re breaking new ground all the time and we have to pay attention and keep up.
There are a lot of guys doing this too because the scene has become even more accessible than it was back in the days. Now you can find all the tutorials online. Record labels are opened up to new artists, the internet has made it accessible to teach people how do it and you have the older heads embracing the new guys – all these things are helping us totally rejuvenate the scene.
Of course we’re not in some perfect dubstep utopia yet. For example, it’s still very hard to make a tune at 140 nowadays and this is for all kinds of reasons. As dubstep became more of an EDM based genre they needed to make it dancey. Dubstep wasn’t a headbanging thing when it started and now it certainly is. There are moshpits and kids are shaking the gates like crazy. It’s much more of an event now, rather than underground club nights, so there’s lots more hype around the party. The more hype, the bigger the show… And the bigger the show, the more DJs want to go hype, so the faster they go. It’s a vicious circle because we all still feel like we should be going at that speed – so looking ahead to 2017 it would be amazing if we could branch out even further with even more hip-hop-oriented stuff, deeper stuff and weirder stuff.
We need to stop being so divided by little niches. Before it would be like ‘oh you like dubstep? Let’s be mates’ Now it’s like ‘which dubstep do you like? Oh you’re into that sound? Sorry about that…
We’ve become very genre-fied. I’d love for us to move away from that and have respect for the whole scene. I’d love to make a deep tune and not only have my fans embrace that as much as a tear out tune but have the deep guys accept it too. I see all these comments online with fans dissing on different sounds and different channels and a lot of these people don’t realise the bigger dudes came in through the deeper stuff. New kids might not see original foundation guys like Mala as important but they should – those guys who set the blueprint and template are even more important now than they were back in the day.
Another thing I’d like to see more of is promoters supporting the sound more in the UK. Here’s the difference between the US and UK… English crowds are much more likely to go nuts to a tune they haven’t heard before. Whereas a US crowd will be more prone to enjoy hearing a sound they know. But on the flipside you guys in the UK move too fast and are all too fickle. The minute dubstep blew up in the US you all said ‘fuck that!’ and got into house music. But there’s a huge following – as you know – but there’s no home for it right now.
It’s the same in Europe. For a while Europe was Mecca for guys like me. It was a place with very open minded crowds who let us experiment with our sound really push and develop what we were doing. And there’s no better time for us ALL to be doing this – whether it’s this side of the Atlantic or yours… Right now while the world feels like we’re taking a step or two back, people still need that outlet, they still need the music. So this is our time! Electronic music’s main message is ‘fuck it all, right at this moment let’s have a good time’ – people need that. So let’s come together a little more next year and build on what we’ve achieved this year musically.”