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Subterranean frequencies -- a quick blah, blah, blah with Bristol bassman Pinch (Tectonic), playing Beijing this Friday at Dada bar.
By Oct 9, 2012 Nightlife

Founder of Tectonic Records, Bristol’s Pinch is widely recognized as one of the key producers and label chiefs to create and define the genre of electronic dance music, dubstep. From its inception in South London in the first part of the last decade (or a bit earlier), dubstep has emerged as a world-wide force, filtered and translated into difference voices and national languages outside the UK, and has lately come to directly influence the course of mainstream pop and R&B.

In 2007, the year seminal dubstep artist Brittany Spears released her wobble-tonk "Freakshow" track [Jive], Pinch’s own album Underwater Dancehall [Tectonic] was released to wide acclaim, and it’s stand-out single "Qawaali" is widely regarded as one of the watershed moments in the development of the genre.

Since last playing in China (he's been twice before to Shanghai), Pinch released a collaboration album with another bassmuuussicc master, Shackleton, called Pinch & Shackelton, out on Honest Jon's.

Click here for an older mix Pinch did for RA.

Here's another mix he did as sort of an intro to his label, Tectonic. 2562, Distance, Distal, and more on that one.

Sub-Culture pres. Pinch this Friday at Dada. 50 beans to get in. Line-up: Pinch (Tectonic, UK), Yauman, Drunk Monk (Sub-Culture, SH), Sickstar + guests.

SmBj peppered Pinch with some Q's via email ahead of this shaker on Friday.


SmBj: You've played China quite a few times over the years. What's your favorite thing about coming to China? Have you seen changes here over the years?

Pinch: I love playing in China. The crowds have been so responsive to the music I've played -- it's great feeling! I really enjoy the food I've had in China and all the people I've met. I get the feeling that the pace of progression in China is so fast -- there have been new skyscrapers put up every time I've visited -- I'm looking forward to see what else has been built when I come this time!

SmBj: Have you had a chance to listen to any music come out of China?

Pinch: Not so much -- but I'd be interested to hear...

SmBj: Hows life in the UK these days?

Pinch: Same old... raining a lot at the moment!

SmBj: What sorts of sounds are you hearing in underground UK dance music? Anything fresh going on that's taken you by surprise? What sorts of music are you writing these days? What sorts of things are influencing your writing?

Pinch: I'm increasingly interested in the new mutant house/techno music coming out of the UK at the moment and I've been making a lot of it myself. Labels like Swamp 81 are killing it right now!

As well as the house/techno tempo stuff I've been making I am currently working on a full LP in collaboration with one of my musical heroes, Adrian Sherwood of On-U Sound fame, which is a mixture of various different tempos and vibes. It's sounding really great -- I'm very excited about the project.

SmBj: I read about the recent Subloaded 8th birthday party. You played a b2b set with DJ Hatcha that was a history lesson on "classic dubstep and grime". What sorts of tracks did you play? Can you comment on the overall direction of that history? How do you reckon the music progressed and changed?

Pinch: This is a big question that you could write a book on! I'll stick to the easier part... We both dropped lots of early classics and unreleased tracks from the 2003-2006 period of dubstep -- when it was raw and experimental!

SmBj: Speaking of retrospectives, you're releasing "MIA: 2006- 2010" this November, which features a collection of your non-Tectnonic releases since 2006. How do you trace the development of these tracks? What sorts of shifting perspectives do these tracks illustrate?

Pinch: I'll have to leave that for the listener to decide. Hopefully people will hear a progression in my musical development and not think that it went downhill! You can see in the early period I was interested in a kind of 'dark wobble' sound, later a more techno-influenced vibe and then a more kind of 'wonky beat' vibe... I think by the end of the CD there's a mutant combination of these influences!

SmBj: Looking back at "Underwater Dancehall", how well do you feel album holds up after six, seven years?

Pinch: I think there are still people about who find the tracks relevant. I hope it stands the tests of time!

SmBj: How do you rate the world domination of "dubstep"? Ever see that coming?

Pinch: No -- I don't think anyone did for a long time either!

SmBj: How do you react to the increasing mainstream influence of the genre? Do you see that as co-opting the music or diluting its impact? Or do you see the mainstream rise of the genre in a positive light?

Pinch: It bothered me a bit a few years ago but I'm long past that now. I think it's just important to focus on the things that matter and to me that's more about the music itself -- keeping things progressive and forward thinking -- experimenting and going with the flow. I'm not so interested in who can make the most money and be the biggest superstar...

SmBj: Does it make your life harder to describe yourself as "dubstep" when a good percentage of the world has a very different definition of what that word means?

Pinch: I guess I'd describe myself as 'influenced by the early period of dubstep music'..

SmBj: How did the Pinch & Shakleton album come about? How much of a challenge (if at all) was it to work with Shakleton?

Pinch: I am good friends with Sam and we both had a lot of fun making the album together -- it was a pleasure from start to finish. I'm really happy with how the album sounds and I've had a lot of people comment that it's a very special album for them. You can't ask for more than that!

SmBj: What's going on with Deleted Scenes?

Pinch: Watch this *space* : )

SmBj: Whats going on at Tectonic? What are the new releases coming out that people should pick up?

Pinch: Just dropped a new 12" from Vivek, next one is Roska and after that, Distance. Buy them all -- they're great!


Pinch plays Dada bar this Friday. Line-Up: Pinch (Tectonic, UK), Yauman, Drunk Monk (Sub-Culture, SH), Sickstar + guests. Cover is 50rmb. Starts 10pm. Check out his soundcloud here.

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