Interview with DJ Wubson

DJ Wubson is a electronic DJ who goes to Clark College in Wooster MA. He’s performing in Hamilton basement this Saturday! The facebook event is here and his Onesheet page is here. I asked him some questions and got back some answers.

Walk me through your music-making process: both things like programs used and also general artistic habits.

There’s two sides to being an electronic musician, spinning is one half while production is the other. I use Serato Scratchlive because I mix with vinyls and it gives me the most control over what I’m doing. Because I’m still in the dojo for mixing I haven’t really started to tackle production…yet. Give me a few months and I plan to start messing around with Ableton.

As for general artistic habits…well…I like to party and I smoke a lot of blunts. Seriously though, my mindset as a DJ is one that focuses on the crowd. That’s where I get my energy and inspiration from. I go into a set with a general idea of what feeling I want to share and a few tricks up my sleeve, but the rest is improv based off what I think the crowd is feeling. I’m no rockstar DJ; people are there for the music and because I can mix it, not because of me.

I really enjoy some pop sample choices from your Dubsex collections Onesheet page. To Live and Die in LA and How Low were personal favorites. But it seems like you limit pop samples to just a few over the 20 minute period how do you choose which songs to feature?

The mixes I put up online are meant to be checkpoints…snapshots of what I’m currently playing around with in my set. I’ve gone through a lot of different stages with the mixes I’ve put up online and even though I’m still just getting started, I’ve only recently begun to establish what kind of sound I like to play. I’ll pull ideas from any of the mixes I release if I think the crowd would dig it, but they’re just samplers. I limit it to 20m because I know how hard it is to find the time to commit to much more than that. Again, back to thinking about the crowd. I can’t make a mix longer than what I could promise someone else I’d listen to you know?

A lot of my friends listen to my mixes while they’re multitasking and don’t want to mess with the iPod too much; homework, working out, partying, etc…but by keeping it at 20m it’s just short enough to keep them from looking at the iPod and saying “Damn, there’s still 30m? Next!”.

I heard through the grapevine that you were a rapper a bit ago. Is there crossover between making and performing dubstep music and rap musi

I can spit a little bit, nothing too crazy. You can download it here if you want, it’s just a remix album I did last summer. It got a few good reviews…one of the songs (Canvas) got dropped on a mix-tape alongside an early release of Kanye’s “Monster” and DJ Shadow’s management team put my opening track on his website for a little bit this past summer. It’s not very danceable, but I’m proud of my lyrics.

Two of my closest friends here at Clark are B-Boys and they schooled me on the 4 Elements of Hip-Hop after they heard me spit one time. The MC, The DJ, The Dancer and the Graffiti Artist are all part of this one culture of Hip-Hop…that mindset of contributing to something larger definitely carries through in my focus on the crowd, so when I switched roles from the mic to the decks it didn’t seem so strange to me. In a way I think it actually took some of the pressure off from performing, I think being articulate in your words is harder than communicating emotions through sound.

What is the Clark College/ Worcester electronic music scene like?

Worcester’s EDM scene is blowing UP right now! There was a period of time here not too long ago when there was a different EDM event to go to every night! Things’ve started to slow down as it’s gotten colder, but there’s a lot of talent out here. I think that dubstep’s taken off so much in New England because of its love for Heavy Metal, with the Palladium’s history of super brutal shows & the metal scene that’s already established here it just makes sense that Wu-Town would love it.

Are you Team James Blake or Team Skrillex (as per)?

Daaaamn…that’s a tricky one. Wintertime always gets me into a mood for more chill music, so I’ve started mixing a bit more progressive stuff like Mr. Blake into my set…but to go back on my love for Skrillex would be the worst form of betrayal I could make as a fan. My girlfriend did a study abroad this past semester and when I visited her we went and saw Skrillex on part of his first European tour. I had been mixing in my friend’s room just for fun up until that point and all of us in my crew were really nervous about how dubstep was going to go over when we played our first house party…I felt a little pressured to focus more on electro. That night in Brighton convinced me to say “Fuck it. I’m playing dubstep.” And holy shit it worked!

I think that the argument between the two is pretty silly…Blake is Dubby Dubs, Sonny’s Wubby Wubs. They’re different ends of the dubstep spectrum and there’s definitely a time and place for both. One’s the reggae of EDM, the other’s the heavy metal.

Blake’s right about dubstep to an extent though…a lot of songs on Beatport sound like they’re just trying to out-do the song I auditioned before it, but he’s a pretentious fuck for being so dismissive.

Do you think the ‘future of music’ is all electronic?

All electronic? Never. There’s always going to be a demand for live instrumentation, even if it’s just for nostalgic value. Hell, I’ve helped book Irish Folk Dancers and that shit’s way old-school. Instruments will never disappear completely…but it’ll be really damn interesting to see how much more electronic they become or if EDM rises to become a tertiary genre alongside rock and hip-hop in America.