Do the Dub-Step
DJ Nasha and Udyan want to turn the new dark genre into a movement in India
In a country where every mainstream DJ plays Bollywood and hip-hop and every non-mainstream DJ plays minimal techno and house, Order of the Essence brings us the newest breed in electronica – dub-step.
Dub-step is a sound that emerged out of UK in the late Nineties with producers like El-B, Steve Gurley, Oris Jay and Zed Bias introducing elements of grime into the south London-based two-step. The genre’s feel is often dark with use of minor keys, samples, a propulsive, sparse rhythm, an almost omnipresent sub-bass and dissonant harmonies.
Order of the Essence formed in 2008 when DJ Nasha aka Bassociety (Buddha Bar VII, Subswara NYC), and DJ Udyan (ex-Bandish Projekt and now NUCLEYA), two pioneers of the Indian underground electronic scene, discovered their liking for similar music. “We started sharing our productions and ideas which eventually led to the formation of the duo a few weeks later. The idea was to make cutting-edge productions and deliver everything live on stage,” says Nasha.
The DJs combine cinematic expressions and bass-heavy sonics on stage. Blending world classical music with cutting-edge production and genre-defying rhythms, this collaboration merges extreme opposites into one whole. “What we do is like a hybrid of symphony/broken distorted beats/glitchy news channel recordings/noises/Bollywood singers/master musicians/industrial sounds/MCs – the list can be endless because we don’t want to set boundaries. We have spent enough time learning the art of dismantling music, sort of disassembling an existing piece of music and then reconstructing it with a completely different feel and vibe. It’s a mission for us to carve a new India out of electronica,” says Udyan.
Even though a typical Order of the Essence set would include some breaks and drum and bass, dub-step hugely dominates most of their sets. “It’s the underground movement of the wobble bass, nasty snare and dark soundscapes that is taking over. It’s one of those genres that you either like or hate. There is no in between and I love it. It’s new, fresh, dark and dirty”¦,” says Udyan.
Dub Step, unlike a lot of other genres of electronic music, does not stick to the usual four-to-the-floor pattern and more or less has a darker feel. The tempo is nearly always in the range of 138-142 bpm. “The production quality and frequency is on another level, so clean yet so dirty, there is so much space in it and the rhythm can go slow or shuffle double time. I think a lot of producers out there are excited about dub-step,” says Nasha.
Having already played twice at Mumbai’s Blue Frog recently, the Order of the Essence now plans to record and release an album soon and do as many gigs as possible. “We need to convert the clubbers. Every other DJ is playing similar stuff out here, so we definitely need support from venues that have the balls to promote alternative stuff. We are going to be more than aggressive on this project,” says Udyan.