Saturday 4 April 2009

Any Dubstepper worth their chestplate knows Mary Anne Hobbs is worth her bassweight in gold. A tireless champion of the genre for years, she has been pivotal in providing exposure for the Bristol dubstep community. Recently B365 had the opportunity to chat to her and this is what came out of that.

B: At the end of last year you featured the Bristol : Rise Up special which showcased 12 of the city's best artists. How important do you feel Bristol's producers are in the ongoing progress of Dubstep on a global scale?

MAH: I have been deeply inspired by the Bristol scene for the last 2 years.. I feel a real sense of community building.. and the power of people making closer links and working together to push the scene forward is creating real tangible forward momentum... The diversity of sound is really fascinating.. Joker's 'purple' neo-grime 80's influenced beats at one end of the scale - Appleblim's haunting, skeletal, minimal techno inspired soundscapes at the other...

B: You've been pivotal in the promotion of Dubstep for some years now, especially with shows like Dubstep Warz and Generation Bass. The scene is much bigger now - how do you feel about the ongoing growth of the genre? Some feel its increasing commercial worth is dividing the scene.

MAH: Man cannot hang in suspended animation.. If a young scene and sound does not evolve and progress, it will wither on the vine.. I see dubstep flourishing like a beautiful exotic Amazonian rainforest flower.. You can call me romantic if you like, but I'm also a realist.. The core principals on which the scene were founded still hold true, in spite of the great international success of the sound. The scene is completely self sufficient.. and, crucially, artists are the masters of their own destiny.

B: You've worked hard to get to where you are now. As a woman, have you ever felt your gender has been a hindrance in progressing within the music scene? Do you feel your rise in success is all the more rewarding if you have experienced ignorance in the past?

MAH: I've always been judged on my ability to deliver.. I have really valuable support and respect from the males i work closely with.. As far as haters are concerned.. they are powerless, insignificant and exist only in microscopic numbers, in fact most of my male associates suffer more abuse than me.

4. What can we expect from your upcoming sets? Was your recent podcast for XLR8R a good indication?

MAH: Yes i guess so... a great deal of Bristol beats and I'll be working in some of the deeply inspirational music I picked up on my trip to LA and SF for the West Coast Rocks special... you can check the film here:

B: Which moments in your career have been the most memorable?

"Dubstep Warz" in 2006... there was real magic in the studio that night.. I knew that the producers involved Digital Mystikz, Skream, Kode 9, Distance, Loefah, Vex'd and Hatcha would come with phenomenal beats.. but the scale of the response around the globe was completely overwhelming! Three years later, people still tell me every week "Dubstep Warz" changed my life...

I had a similar experience putting together the "West Coast Rocks" special for the show in January 2009.. the energy and passion and sense of invention among the community of LA and SF producers right now is so powerful.. and the response to that show has been incredible internationally!

B: Which new producers do you rate coming up through the ranks now?

MAH: Hyetal, Nosaj Thing, Mono/Poly, Samiyam, Take, Teebs, Exile, The Gaslamp Killer, Blank Blue, Dam-Fun and RasG, Daedelus, Daddy Kev, The Glitch Mob, EPROM, Bookworms, Clubroot, Paul White, Floating Points, Ikonika, Cooly G, Bullion.. the list is endless..

B: What can we expect coming up on the show? Any exciting developments on the horizon? Will there be another Rise Up special on another city?

MAH: I want to do a city focus on Glasgow next... But every week is thrilling... trust me ;)

B: What artists have has the most influence on your life?

MAH: The Sex Pistols who inspired me to run away from home..

John Peel who was like my surrogate father and embodied every principle i hold dear, he taught me how to live this life..

Kode 9, Flying Lotus and DJ Pinch.. they are masters of invention, but i also love them for their grace and the way they continue to nurture so much.

B: Any words of wisdom for those starting out in music or music journalism?

MAH: Charge at your dreams and never look back.

An edited version of this interview appeared in Venue Magazine.