ShockOne: “I didn’t want an album of ‘Polygon’ derivatives”
The last week has been career-defining for Perth-bred bass specialist ShockOne. After years of finessing – “I’m either a perfectionist or a particularly slow worker” – his artist album Universus was released, swiftly heading to the top of the iTunes chart. He also returned to his hometown to kick off the launch tour, and it turned out to be “easily the most amazing show of my career to date”. In amongst the ShockOne whirlwind, we quizzed the producer on life in his second home of London, why dubstep’s creative streak is going strong and the buzz of finally finishing Universus.
Hey mate. How does it feel to be over in London when there’s so much talk at the moment about how much dance music blowing up in the U.S.?
It feels good! I think it’s important to remember that the only reason people are talking so much about dance music in the U.S. is because up until now it kind of didn’t exist there. Dance music and ‘rave culture’ being popular in the U.S. doesn’t make the UK and Europe scene any less vibrant.
I think dance music will always have an important place in UK, Europe and Australian music culture, whether it’s the hyped-up ‘now’ sound of whatever genre you want to choose, or whether it’s a bubbling club scene that isn’t reliant on dance music being in the charts.
People will always want to dance. They will always crave the escapism dancing provides, so it will always be there. The only difference is that there might be a bit less of it on Radio 1 or MTV. Popular culture is cyclical – things come and go. At the end of the day there will always be amazing music in the world, so I try not to think about it that much to be honest.
How do you feel dubstep’s tracking in 2013? Is the genre still moving forward?
I definitely think it’s moving forward. There are so many amazing producers making this style of music, it’s impossible for it not to progress. I just think its popularity is plateauing, which I see as a positive thing. I think we will see more experimentation within the 140 tempo, which is really what dubstep was all about in the beginning – for me, anyway.
I can hear guys like Dismantle, Funtcase, Skism, the whole Never Say Die Records camp and of course Nero, Skrillex and Sub Focus all pushing the sound in different equally interesting directions. I think it’s actually a really exciting time for the genre, though I don’t really like to call it a genre. That boxes it in, which defeats the purpose. Basically, you have a bunch of great producers all doing a bunch of different bass-focused stuff around (but not limited to) 140-BPM. You can’t tell me that’s not exciting.
So you have just released your debut album, but you’ve been in the game for ages. What made you decide to take that next step and release a full LP?
It took me a long time to feel like I was ready to tackle an album I could be happy with, and even then it took me three years to get it to the point where I was happy with it. I’m either a perfectionist or a particularly slow worker, or both…
In retrospect, in the beginning of this album cycle I think I wasn’t really the producer I needed to be to write the album I wanted to write. From the very beginning I’d said to myself that there was no point releasing an album that wasn’t going to make an impact, and that I wasn’t 100-percent proud of. Turns out it took me quite a while to achieve that.