According to nearly any breed of American electronic music fan, dubstep’s commercial explosion can be easily pinpointed as the root of all evil. In fact, the EDM era marked the beginning of a nightmare for record labels, radio stations, and (of course) parents as well as initiated listeners. But half a decade after Skrillex emerged on the scene, it’s clear that the phenomenon’s consequences aren’t all bad, after all. The movement catalyzed a powerful undercurrent as producers and their fans learned to combat commercialization with innovation.
A scroll through NastyNasty’s SoundCloud stream reveals that the artist does pre-date the EDM explosion. His tracks display the creative sophistication of an experienced producer. A consistent emphasis on immersive sub-bass suggests a background in – or at least familiarity with – dubstep’s original incarnations. But, unlike many artists who possessed the production skills to jump on the brostep bandwagon immediately when it passed through town, NastyNasty set off in another direction. Instead of following the formulas laid out for popular success, he dove into experimentalism.
For NastyNasty and his contemporaries, the structure of EDM presents a golden opportunity to break the rules. For those still lamenting dubstep’s mainstream moment, there is good news: it laid fertile ground for the development of experimental bass music. In fact, NastyNasty is a pioneer in the sub-anchored experiment now known as “trap”. His masterful integration of hip-hop sounds and samples with traditional sound system styles marks him as a true innovator of the aesthetic. Selections like those contained by 2012’s “LAZERBRAIN” rumble of the same gritty bass and heavy, hip-hop influenced sound popularized by artists like RL Grime and Salva.
Of course, the “trap” style was the next sound to receive a thorough hollowing from mainstream spheres. As a musician, NastyNasty’s trajectory was unaffected by the trend. He continued to push his limits as a producer, raising the bar for all bass music artists as he did. NastyNasty’s tracks don’t reflect fads in electronic music – they pave and expand on them. “Acid Bubblebath” is vaguely reminiscent of the international sensation Flume, but boasting more texture, depth, and a dirty vibe. Many of his tunes play out as a dystopian twist on glitch hop, featuring warped, funky beats that emphasize “glitch” over “hop”.
Despite the pervasive re-appropriation and commercialization of virtually every electronic genre in existence by the music industry’s profit machine, independent electronic music is thriving in America like it never has before. Fans are becoming more sophisticated, their tastes increasingly refined. It’s an evolution made possible by artists like NastyNasty, who prefers creativity to complacency. And, by offering an alternative to the easy, contrived music that now bores its first generation of fans, NastyNasty is on the brink of receiving the recognition he deserves.
Catch NastyNasty at the Emissions and Infrasound festivals this spring. Check out this page for tour dates, booking information, and more.