The bass drops and wraps around your chest, hitting hard and slow, but the drums are quick, varied and hit you right in the face. Welcome to dubstep.
The new genre, which emerged from British grime and electronic music in the early 2000s, has gained popularity in the U.S. over the last five years and continues to grow in cities like Champaign, which will play host to Dubstep Massacre 3 on Friday, April 24 at Cowboy Monkey.
“Each DJ gets 35 minutes to work with,” said DJ Belly, one of several area DJs playing at Friday’s event. “It creates an exciting level of energy because we’ll be playing all our big stuff.”
Dubstep Massacre 3 is the third local dubstep event this year presented by 217mafia.com, and will showcase the different styles of DJ Mertz, DJ Belly, DJ Substr8 and Mobius, starting at 11:30 p.m.
“What will strike people that haven’t heard dubstep before is the bass, because it’s far more pronounced than what people are used to,” Belly said.
Dubstep is characterized by heavy bass, syncopated drums and sparse rhythms. Although the music is mostly instrumental, it showcases influences of hip-hop, reggae and indie rock within the layered beats.
“For me, it’s all the genres I’ve ever liked stuffed into one,” DJ Mertz said. “It’s got so many diverse elements.”
According to Mertz and Belly, the second Dubstep Massacre on March 28 drew a heavy crowd from Eastern Illinois, and they are expected to road trip to Champaign for this event as well.
“The thing that shocked me was that so many people actually knew these tracks and were getting excited,” Mertz said. “We couldn’t have done this five years ago and the internet has been a huge influence.”
Dubstep fans and intrigued readers alike can check out DJ Belly’s blog at http://www.dubselecta.blogspot.com for more information on upcoming local events, recaps of past events, and mixes, or tune into http://www.dubstep.fm to get their dubstep fix. Better yet still, check out the music, DJs and fans live at Dubstep Massacre 3.
“If people want to look for what the next exciting musical sound of town is, it’s this right here,” Mertz said.

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