- Text by Jack Richardson
Dubstep took the world by storm when it thundered into mainstream music culture in the late 2000’s. But that, of course, was not the beginning of the Dubstep story, and the South London roots that birthed the genre are very much alive.
In a new video from Airbnb as part of their ‘Live There’ campaign, Dubstep producer and Magnetic Man member – DJ Artwork – introduces us to his South London club scene.
Starting out on Surrey Street Market in Croydon, where in the 1990s Artwork and his friends lived and worked around the famous Big Apple Records, he reminisces about the grapes he used to fire at the passers-by below. Artwork had a studio on top of the shop, although the booths he recorded in have been lost to the urban jungle.
DnR Vinyl in Croydon, however, was a shop that survived, and if you know what to look for, it’s a museum for the scene’s emergence. “Record shops were like tiny islands of good music,” Artwork explains as he flicks through LPs with friend and fellow dubstep pioneer Skream.
Elsewhere, in Rye Wax in Peckham, we hear about how a sense of community is one of the most important things to foster in modern record stores, allowing like-minded fans to come together and celebrate the music they love. Rye Wax is also notable for hosting tiny gigs for emerging artists and established artists – a little known secret for those of us who live for those intimate performances.
Communities can be pulled together through music, but sometimes it’s the music that creates a community in the first place. Speaking to Artwork in Canavan’s Pool Hall, Bradley Zero describes how he took a small snooker club and started putting on music nights twice a month. Unlike some places closer to the centre of the city, South London has managed to sustain and even grow its small club scene. “In the South, people are doing it,” we hear. “They’re putting parties on in weird places.”
One of those is Bold Tendancies, an annual summer programme of visual art, music, theatre, literature and food, all within a (once) disused carpark in Peckham. As Artwork and Bradley emerge on the rooftop, groups of locals sipping drinks from Frank’s Café watch the sunset over Canary Wharf. “There’s so much on at the moment, so you’re not going to see it all,” runs Artwork’s closing statement, “but just get amongst it, you know?”
Check out more from Airbnb’s ‘Live There’ campaign.