The Bug @ Xlagoom, Belgrade

Dubstep has been slowly hypnotizing the UK masses over the past years with its syncopated rhythms and heavy bass drops. Hailing from south-east London, the genre has come out of the UK garage and 2-step scenes. Impact chats to internationally acclaimed Dubstep artist Kevin Martin AKA The Bug to see how the sound of London’s South East matched post-Communist Serbia.

It’s been a rainy day in Belgrade, but now, late afternoon, waiting in the beer garden outside the club, Xlagoom, the pumping break-core beats and the sound of the artificial waterfall make it hard to believe that we are in the cultural centre of the capital. The Eurovision song contest is happening tonight. There could not be two more contrasting events.

The Bug (Kevin Martin’s first solo project), is renowned for his aggressive violent beats that hit you harder than you can say BASSLINE and suck you into a world filled with sweaty, infected people, but pretty much anything is possible in this city. The poster announces The Bug as a ‘dubstep pioneer’ but it is questionable as to whether he would agree with that, as in previous interviews he has shown a fairly critical point of view regarding his association with the ‘new’ musical genre. And that’s understandable, considering that he is working on several different projects and his music did not originate though the same roots as the dubstep superstars Skream and Benga.

Talking to him, it is crystal clear that he is making music for music’s sake. He told me that the best gig he ever played was in a little Kebab shop in Berlin, in the backroom where there was space for about 120 people but around 250 were there for the set. The police managed to finally break it off after 3 attempts. The Kebab shop had to close down afterwards. Heavy.

Kevin does not want to be categorised just because he enjoys a heavy bass line, or as he puts it, ‘get sucked into the epicenter of dubstep’. Dubstep has become a surprisingly massive success, a genre that started off mainly in Croydon with the help of Steve Goodman AKA Kode9. Since 2005 (after the success of Skream’s Midnight Request Line) hype surrounding the dubstep scene has been continually growing, gaining international recognition. Kevin told me that he actually only got into dubstep when he was interviewed by the infamous Kode9 who told him about this ‘new thing’ he was working on. He asked whether Kevin wanted to try out what it would sound like to mix some of his stuff with what Kode9’s ‘new thing’.

Mainly, Kevin plays together with Warrior Queen (who is known currently for recording her own album), but he also does his own sets, which for him means that he can be ‘more selfish’ and play heavier tunes. Kevin points out that playing with Warrior Queen makes it easier when you are playing abroad because crowd reactions are harder to predict when you’re on your own, and you don’t know how the crowd is going to react. ‘An MC is much more exposed to that than the DJ is.’

This was the first time that an internationally-known dubstep-orientated DJ played in Serbia and everyone well loved it. The atmosphere was just absolutely perfect when he dropped ‘Killer’ in this grimey, dingy cave, you could feel this flow of energy hitting everyone: two hours of complete madness, those who didnt know The Bug before this set are surely not going to forget him so quickly.

For information on Dubstep nights in Nottingham, check out Futureproof – and Wigflex –

Laura Wolfs


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