Have you ever wished you could somehow be a part of a movement that would revolutionize the world of music? How many times have you caught yourself listening to the Beatles, wondering what it would have been like to be listening to those very same sounds back in the early 60’s, when the entire genre of rock as we know it was essentially being pioneered? Well, while I haven’t yet found a reasonable way to bring these time transcending dreams to fruition, what I can tell you is that interviewing Mary Anne Hobbs, queen of dubstep, brought out a feeling in me that I can only imagine would be the very same I would have gotten interviewing those four, had I been born a few decades earlier.
If you don’t know her, she is the…, you need to…, you deserve a…, I should…, you are awful.
Kidding. For those of you feeling a little left out, Mary Anne Hobbs is one of the Beatles of dubstep, and essentially one of the most significant reasons that the genre has made it out to the ears (and also the chests, feet, and perhaps even the nostrils) of the world today. She is among the first to have picked up on the genre, and thanks to her having debuted the Dubstep Warz series on Radio One in 2006 (Did I mention she’s been a Radio 1 dj for over fifteen years?), the world is now in love with what might otherwise have never left its cozy home in Bristol. Long story short, this is an interview worth reading.
UhOhDisco: You’ve been affiliated with Radio 1 for quite some time now. What kind of music were you into before dubstep emerged?
Hobbs: Genre is not important to me at all.. i’ve always loved unique and elemental music of every type.
UhOhDisco: These days it’s easy to see how people can migrate to the world of dubstep so easily; The surge in the popularity of dance music and “electro”over the last few years has made the transition a no brainer, but the music world was a different place back in 2006 when you started the Dub Warz series. Can you think of anything in particular that caused you to make the leap?
Hobbs: I responded to dubstep in the same way as John Peel responded to punk.. i was so overwhelmed by the sound that it changed the trajectory of my life and my BBC Radio1 show.. i didn’t abandon the other forms of music that i love at all, but i did become a global evangelist for dubstep.
UhOhDisco: Were there any artists that were particularly influential to you at that time?
UhOhDisco: Considering the world of dubstep and a lot of electronic music in general has come to be known as one dominated by men, what is it like being a woman in the midst of it all?
Hobbs: Quite wonderful.. some my very best friends in this industry are men and i get nothing but love, support and respect from them.
UhOhDisco: You’ve been called the sort of “maternal figure” of the dubstep world. Would you agree?
Hobbs: I’m nobody’s mother.. what i do, is nurture a lot of young gifted producers that i love and really believe in.
UhOhDisco: A lot of people seem to think that dubstep won’t be able to last as a form of dance music because it appeals more to men than to women. Any thoughts?
UhOhDisco: The last show I went to I saw 12th Planet and ToddlaT, and during both of their sets, a good number of people started moshing… in a club. I had never seen this before. Do you think moshing is an appropriate response to dance music?
Hobbs: Dancing is freedom of expression… there’s no reason to censor it.
UhOhDisco: Is dubstep a wave you can see yourself riding out indefinitely, or are you already looking for the next big thing in music?
Hobbs: Electronic music moves forwards in thousands of scattered steps every day.. my mission is all about progression.
UhOhDisco: Do you notice a big difference in the way people react to music in America as opposed to England, or even Europe in general?
Hobbs: There’s always something very special about playing in America.. it feels like you are in The Beatles.. there’s such a hunger for fresh British sound.. my first tour here in September was one of the greatest experiences of my life.. you can see my diaries at http://www.xlr8r.com.
UhOhDisco: How do you feel about people like Rusko, who’ve taken dubstep in a poppier direction by working with more melodies and vocals?
Hobbs: Good luck to him.. every artist should be the master of his own destiny.
UhOhDisco: What’s your favorite tune at the moment?
Hobbs: Joy Orbison – ‘J. Doe’/’BRKLN CLLN’ (Doldrums)
UhOhDisco: Is there a track that you can’t do a set without?
Hobbs: Something by Jakes.
UhOhDisco: Tell us something we probably don’t know about you.
Hobbs: I can’t walk more than 10 paces in high heels.