Wednesday 30 September 2009

NME: Scene Report – Dubstep + Funky House = Funkstep

In the new issue of NME, Jaimie Hodgson explains how dubstep took over the world in 2009. But it's by no means the only exciting story in clubland. Something else, closely related yet utterly unique, has been taking shape in the shadows.

Last year music journalist Prancehall wrote an article for NME on the new sound that was set to take over, funky house (Fish Go Deep, Crazy Cousinz et al). That intermittently thrilling scene mutated into UK funky (more bass on the production, more MC-ing), which briefly threatened to become the most electrifying underground movement since grime...


UK funky acts such as K.I.G, Gracious K, Dotstar and Funky Dee all achieved viral popularity with their nursery rhyme/sing along/skank-themed tracks and videos.

And it was fun for a while - but it's since become more than a little stale. Where previously grown adults (25 plus, mostly women) would go to funky house club nights and get to hear deep/soulful/tribal house, now those same nights are heaving with young people (18 plus, predominantly men) jumping around the place to these annoyingly catchy, juvenile MC tunes.

Fortunately, all is not lost. A new genre is starting to percolate, spearheaded by recent NME Future 50 act Cooly G, along with kindred spirits Geeneus (owner of Rinse FM), Roska and Scratcha DVA. They’re calling it funkstep – since it blends UK funky sounds with a hefty dose of dubstep.

"To me funkstep is just the sound of funky house shaping into a more intelligent and sometimes darker phase," says Scratcha DVA. "This will happen when people like myself and others, who were maybe from a grime/electronic background, start to make tracks in that genre with the use of sounds we have. In 6 months we will see a major increase in big name dubstep producers making music around 130 tempos. I've heard loads already, watch this space."

A version of this appeared over at NME: HERE