Tag Archives: Dubstep

Ray Volpe’s Emotional Dubstep

Ray Volpe

At a Guitar Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ray Volpe is scoping out equipment that he wants (a mini keyboard) and the items he’d rather skip (speakers with insufficient bass). Traditionally, Guitar Center is a prime location to witness wannabe guitar heroes flex their control over 16th notes. But the dubstep producer skips past the stringed instruments; he’s listening for the electronic crunches made by kids using the store’s equipment to stretch their production muscles. Volpe is only 19, but is already seven years deep as a producer—years beyond messing with a Guitar Center demo kiosk. Eventually, he makes his way over to a trio of younger teens he finds working on a demo, their beats far more rap-influenced than the emotional dubstep that is Volpe’s specialty. He plays them some of his own music and strikes up a conversation, trying to assess how serious these kids are about production. As it turns out, they’re serious enough to agree to exchange some beats with him.

Earlier in the day, Volpe explained what brought him to producing. “I used to edit Call of Duty montages,” he says. “Which is really lame, thinking back—but that was my shit.” It was through those YouTube gameplay compilations that Volpe discovered the music of dubstep producers like Big Chocolate, Dirtyphonics, and Skrillex. Eventually, the soundtracks began to speak to him more than the game.

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Duploc Taps Into the Deeper Side of Dubstep

Pieter Grauwels of Duploc

“There’s no local community here. The Internet was the only way.”—Pieter Grauwels

Growing up, Pieter Grauwels never had much exposure to underground music. Living near Hasselt, a small town in the Flemish part of Belgium near the Dutch border far from the nightlife centers of Brussels and Gent, the only regular live music nearby was of the mainstream, middle-of-the-road variety, which failed to capture his imagination. That all changed when a friend introduced him to dubstep in his late teens. “There was something about the music I became obsessed with,” he says. The songs he’d heard were on the more accessible end of the music, which by then had found mainstream pop appeal.  So Grauwels did what any respectable youth from his generation would: he went “digging.” After a few nights spent on the internet, he found new dimensions in the sound—deeper and more experimental releases that created within him with a desire to get involved. Five years later, he launched his own label, magazine, and podcast, Duploc. “The first uploads I came across were very heavy, but then I discovered labels like Deep Medi,” he explains, referencing the label founded by British dubstep pioneer Mala. “I learned about a deeper side of dubstep. That’s what we’re trying to promote [with Duploc].”

A law student, currently finishing the equivalent of his master’s degree, Grauwels launched Duploc in 2012, while he was still in high school. First, it was a YouTube channel, then he moved on to arranging free digital compilations and, in early 2015, Duploc graduated to a proper label with a release by Münster-based producer and sound system builder Noclu.

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