Published Mar 19, 2010Today's oversaturated world of dub-step has unfortunately opened the door to a flood of mediocrity. But, with that being said, thankfully the true pioneers of the genre have been consistently pushing the sound into the leftfield, holding firm to their belief that bass music can be unique and not fall victim to the black hole of gratuitous popularity. Paul Rose (the label head at Hotflush Recordings and the man behind the Scuba moniker) has done an incredible job keeping his sound unique and inspiring since the inception of Hotflush way back in 2003. With his new album, Triangulation, Scuba sets a high bar with his unique hybrid sound that falls comfortably between the broken grooves of dub-step and the industrial soundscapes of techno. Triangulation is an incredibly diverse album: tracks shift and sway through a wide range of tempos and emotions. Scuba takes you on a wild ride with up-tempo tunes "Glance," "You Got Me" and "Tracers," which all utilize the familiar dub-step groove, but they're dusted with an added touch of nautical magic. Triangulation is a lesson in proper leftfield dub-step, one that's highly recommended for any fan of electronic music.
How has Hotflush as a label changed since its first release in 2003 to now with your new album, Triangulation?
The label is actually a lot closer to what we originally intended for it now than it was two or three years ago. It was never supposed to be just a dub-step label; we always wanted it to be more wide ranging than that and although it became synonymous with that whole thing there was always the intention to broaden it, as long as the music was distinctive enough to stand up to the other releases on the label. I have been really happy with the way it's developed over the last couple years especially, and now it's at the stage where we are releasing quite a lot of different styles, but retaining the overall identity, which is exactly what the aim was at the very start.
How has playing at Berghain in Berlin for the SUB:STANCE parties influenced your sound for Triangulation?
Doing the SUB:STANCE parties at Berghain has been amazing and it has definitely influenced my DJ sets. The crowd is incredibly open-minded, which isn't that common for dub-step-related events at the moment, although I have noticed that beginning to change in the last few months. The parties have felt almost like what the first bigger dub-step events in London felt like around 2005; you get a real sense of community and people just wanting to hear the music in its proper setting. Berlin has had a bass music scene for a long time and there were dub-step events long before we started SUB:STANCE, but no one had stuck their neck out and put on something big, so the party was initially a real opening for the sound in the city. It's been great that we've been able to keep that going and make the party into a really diverse musical experience, with all the different elements represented. In terms of the album, everything I've done in the last couple years has gone into it, and certainly what I've been doing in my DJ sets has been important. It's much more of a dance record than A Mutual Antipathy, which was partly a conscious decision on my part, but also just a general result of playing out in big rooms a lot more and the different perspectives that come with that. What can we expect from Hotflush in 2010? There are a lot of exciting things coming up, including the Mount Kimbie album, which is preceded by remixes of tracks from their first two EPs by Instra:mental, James Blake, FaltyDL, Tama Sumo & Prosumer and SCB. There's also new stuff coming from Sigha, Joy Orbison and a new signing to the label from New York, Sepalcure, whose first EP will be coming out in May.
What was an inspiration for you while putting the new album together?
I sat down to start writing in January '09 and it took until just before Christmas to finish it, so it was quite a long process and a lot of material got passed on along the way. One of the reasons that it took so long was that so many interesting things were happening in music last year that kept getting my attention. Even if something had a really subtle effect on how I was thinking about the album it might have meant that a track I was working on at the time wasn't going to fit with the way my thinking had changed, or occasionally something might have a more profound effect on the general feel of the album. The most important thing for me musically in '09 was the Autonomic podcasts that DBridge and Instra:mental were putting out. As an old jungle head it was pretty eye-opening that someone could make music at that tempo sound fresh again, but actually what had more [of an] effect on me was the fearless way they used melodic and stylistic influences in the context of music that sounded totally new. I had a conversation with DBridge where I was asking him what a track on one of the podcasts was and it turned out to be one of his and I said to him something like, "there's no way I'd have had the balls to make that tune, but it's the kind of music I've always wanted to make," which made him laugh pretty hard, I think. The combination of that and also spending quite a lot of time doing the SCB project, which is very unreconstructed house/techno stuff, in addition to the leftfield type of dub-step, which I was doing anyway, gave the three inputs into the album that make it pretty diverse, but in a way that's also coherent enough to make sense when you listen [all the] way through. (Hotflush)