Anyone else getting bored of the ‘dubstep is dead’ argument?
In the wake of yet another high profile article suggesting the genre needs ‘resuscitating’ we caught up with UK trio 50 Carrot, Coffi and Soloman, three of the many artists who prove that dubstep is far from dead… And will happily argue the case with you personally.
Known collectively as the Gentlemen’s Club, since being thrown together on one line-up in Belgium two years ago, the trio have taken the old school ‘crew mentality’ (something both Bad Company and Bryan Gee have been discussing on this site recently) and pushed each other to limits and locations way beyond their original expectations.
As the dust settles on their second annual Gentlemen’s Club Collection album, they reckon 2016 has kicked off with even more energy, excitement and enthusiasm than previous years. We caught all three of them together to find out about their roots, their future, the whole riddim thing and, yes, the dying state of dubstep.
Time to get formal…
Things appear to be popping for you Gents…
Coffi: Yeah definitely.
50 Carrot: Even in the last few months it feels like it’s gone up a gear! The start of the year just kicked off properly and it feels like we’re getting more and more serious attention.
Soloman: Like literally; Perth in Australia. Our New Year’s Eve show was one of the maddest we’ve had.
50 Carrot: The maddest show full stop. And we’ve had a fair of them! Australia just buzzing right now and it seems like we’ve got this crazy pocket of supporters there, especially in Perth. I don’t like calling them fans, supporters is a much nicer phrase. Anyway, it’s like our supporter base has moved from LA to Perth!
From Leeds to LA to Perth…
50 Carrot: I’d say it began in Belgium! That’s when we first played a show together. We all knew of each other before but never met. We all met and had a vibe. We just clicked.
Coffi: Long before Rampage! It was a really small show but fucking sick.
50 Carrot: We convinced Soloman to let his hair down. We got him drunk, had a laugh and developed it from there.
Soloman: I think Gentlemen’s Club was established six month later.
There’s got to be a story behind the name…
Coffi: We’re just a classy bunch! When we first started the name jumped out. We didn’t take it seriously until we knew we could make a run of it with the tours and releases.
50 Carrot: I just thought that was what you called your house anyway Coffi! We’d have chillers over his house, a whole load of us having a smoke and drinking champagne and shit.
I love the crew mentality: pushing and inspiring each other…
Coffi: Yeah definitely. Playing shows is all about that vibe; we all play three songs each and we’re always pushing ourselves to go crazier and crazier. The crowd feed off that too.
Soloman: It’s the same with productions too. One of us makes something we like and it makes the others go ‘okay, it’s like that?’ It’s all friendly though
50 Carrot: And always will be friendly. It’s all positive and the real winners are the music lovers and the people who come to the shows!
Trueness! Let’s deal with this ‘riddim’ business. It’s all dubstep to these ears!
Coffi: Ah man… Knew this was coming. We’re not keen on the term!
50 Carrot: People can call it what they want, as long as they enjoy it. I’m not even sure why it became a thing. My theory is that English producers were calling their tunes riddims, which we do, and some fans around the world took it literally and created this new genre. We all came through with dubstep, that’s the music we make but, like any producers, we try not to categorise it and just have fun making it and playing it.
What did you come through on, though? What’s your entry point?
50 Carrot: Rusko era, Caspa era, Benga and Coki and the heavier sound of Funtcase, early Jakes. The Others. We could go on for days… The heyday of that particular hype era.
I can hear hip-hop elements in what you’re doing too. Especially in New Presidents…
Coffi: You hear right. That’s a big thing for us at the moment, fusing our love for hip-hop with dubstep and bass music and do something different.
50 Carrot: We’ve got this endless list of rap artists we’d love to work with. But on a wider tip, I just want to bring in as many influences as possible. I don’t like the cliché kick/snare intro track where the focus is just on the drop.
Soloman: None of us do.
50 Carrot: So we’re trying to make things different tempos and different intros and make music that’s going to last!
So you try and take the craziness of the raves away from your mind when you’re making music?
50 Carrot: We try to! But raves are the biggest influence on ideas… The dancefloor is probably the main source of inspiration when it comes to the dynamics or technical ideas. But then when we’re all in the studio it’s a lot more eclectic.
The broader Gentlemen’s Club soundtrack…
50 Carrot: Yeah it depends where we are. If it’s Coffi’s house then it’s a lot of Yung Thug and rap. If it’s Soloman’s then it’s…
Soloman: Anything but dubstep because that’s what we’ve been playing in the club or making in the studio!
You need those outside inspirations…
50 Carrot: Totally. We would be very very boring without them.
Let’s talk tour stuff: the videos look fun… Any big dates on the horizon?
Coffi: Loads of shows planned but we can’t confirm them until promoters let us. The same for releases, we’ve got some big things ready but we’re not allowed to mention them yet.
What’s the maddest show you’ve had to date?
50 Carrot: We won’t name the country or the city but I know we’re all in agreement on this before I even start….
Coffi: It was interesting…. It was in a semi-derelict theatre and there was a leak downstairs.
Soloman: A leak? It was a flood!
50 Carrot: Yeah it was flood. And it was an after-prom too so everyone was suited and booted and in their finery. And they all thought we looked weird! The feeling was mutual.
Play many after-proms?
50 Carrot: Haha no, it was a legit gig but the prom happened on the same night so the kids turned out gig into an after-promo. Looking back it was fun. Weird. But fun. To be honest we’re all just grateful to go wherever. I didn’t think I’d make it out of my own fucking city when I first started. So to play events anywhere is pretty dope…
Where’s the main GC HQ, then? At one of your houses? Or a separate location between all of your places?
50 Carrot:It rotates to be honest. Most of our tunes are made at Coffi’s because he’s got the best location.
Coffi: Best location, maybe, but we don’t have much of a quality studio wherever we go!
50 Carrot: We don’t have much of a studio or any fancy kit full stop. Certainly compared to like Noisia or Funtcase or someone. It’s just laptops.
The Gentlemen’s Club Collections albums have become a nice annual project, bringing everyone up to speed…
Soloman: Totally. All the biggest tracks of the year on one release, just making sure everyone’s up to date.
50 Carrot: Either at the end of the year or the start of the year – so we start each year on a clean page and re-inspired.
Wrapping up now: Last time you guys were mentioned on this site Caspa said you were the future of dubstep. References don’t get much more authentic…
50 Carrot: Yeah I saw that! I was blown away.
Coffi: It’s an honour!
50 Carrot: We’ve had some great support from the older crew. We’ve spoken about friendly competition but there can also be unfriendly competition too. So having people be down to earth and be cool with us is really cool. It’s a relief.
So I’m guessing when the chips are down then the competition gets a little unfriendlier…
50 Carrot: From what I’ve seen on social media, yes. We’re lucky we’ve not really been affected by it, everyone’s been cool and we stay away from beef. Even if something’s shot directly or indirectly at us we stay away from it.
Coffi: We are 100 percent drama free.
And 100 percent proud of dubstep!
50 Carrot: Definitely!
Care to make a statement on its apparent death?
50 Carrot: Genres don’t die. Everyone’s said a certain genre dies at some point but they never do. We’re too interconnected now for any genre or style to die. So we’re very happy to continue on this road, we’re keeping everything very bass oriented and we’d advise you to keep watching the GC movement for more music very very soon…
Amen. Follow them: Coffi / Soloman / 50 Carrot / Gentlemen’s Club