Dub your pleasure

If you want to get technical about defining Dubstep — discuss things like beats per minute and syncopated triplets — we’ll be here all day. For local dub selector Manny Martinez, aka Intager, aka Zero, however, it’s mostly visceral.

“Dubstep is music made to be felt,” Martinez, interviewed via email, says. “It takes time to let that low-end bass resonate through your body. Then before you know it, you find yourself dancing.”

And he’s right: Thirty minutes after walking into the club for April’s edition of SA Dub, I found myself unconsciously nodding my head to the sound while the bass crept its way into my body. The heavy bass, two-step UK-garage rhythm, and general hip-hop/ragga feel conspire to make your body move. Dubstep is infectious.

SA Dub is a monthly showcase for Dubstep artists local and otherwise. It’s a joint effort by Intager, San Antonio DJ Stuart Holmes (aka Mr. Smith), and Sharon Milford.

“The concept started after several conversations between us and DJ Gunslinger, who has a weekly show on KSYM, about the need for a Dubstep weekly or monthly in SA,” says Martinez. “We had been traveling up to Austin and Houston to either DJ or visit Dubstep nights, and we finally said, ya know, we need something a little closer to home. San Antonio is one of the largest cities in the nation, and here we were spending more time out of our own city trying to hear it.”

A couple more definitions to get out of the way:

“We use the word dub in ‘SA Dub’ to refer to the roots of dubplate culture which have influenced bass-centered music such as Dubstep, Drum and Bass, Reggae and Dub,” Martinez says. A dubplate is an acetate-cut vinyl record custom-made for testing out tracks. “Essentially, our use of the word ‘dub’ means that you may hear certain tracks or sounds for the first time at SA Dub.”

The crowd at these events so far has been like a stack of dubplates — consistent only in its individuality.

“We’re not really attracting a scenester crowd so much, so I think that helps in allowing SA to build its own sorta flavor,” Martinez says. “We’ve tried to make each show a little different in look and feel and not play too much melodic or chaotic types of Dubstep. We always try to put the music first and don’t really believe in the concept of having one DJ at a huge 18-point font and all your locals at a 10-point font, either. We’ve tried to express this on our flyers and hope that people appreciate the message that in SA it’s all about the music, not the name.”

The dovetailing of local attitudes and what might be Dubstep’s underlying philosophy (if it had one) could explain why the genre has hit the Texas scene harder than many other types of underground electronic music.

“Texas naturally has a tendency to embrace anything big, and that includes music. Lots of the original Dubstep coming out of the state is reflective of that,” Martinez says. “Every city has its own vibe and feeling, yet we all work together and help support one another. It’s really because of that type of collaboration that whenever you ask anyone in the world about dubstep in the USA, they definitely know about Texas.”

In addition to SA Dub, Intager also represents one half of Eye-Ten Recordings, a Texas-made Dubstep record label. His partner, BadbwoyBMC, has been prominent in the state’s electronic music scene since the ’90s as part of Houston’s Purrin Lion Sound Flex Crew — a multifaceted collective that’s provided Texas with a solid jungle/drum-’n’-bass scene since 1995.

Eye-Ten Recordings’ next four releases will be out this spring and summer, with Texas-made Dubstep from BadbwoyBMC, Bukkha, Suma, F8, and Intager.

June 11, SA Dub will celebrate its one-year anniversary, Smash1versery, at Nightrocker Live, with an all-star Texas Dubstep Selector line-up consisting of guests from the past year. Artists from Austin (Mad Classy, Weight), Houston (Texas Dub), and San Antonio (Mammoth) will help SA Dub fill the bill at this no-cover show, and, as usual, the first 50 guests will receive a free mix CD compiled specifically for that night.

“We try to keep them truly underground, homemade-mixtape style,” Martinez says. “Copy them, print labels, and stick ’em all by hand. Not everyone has mp3 players, and it’s still easier to pop a CD in the car, or copy them for your friends. … It’s our way of saying thanks for the support.” •

For news on releases, upcoming SA Dub dates, or new mixes by Mr. Smith, BMC, or Intager, visit eyetenrecordings.com.

Manny Martinez, aka Intager, began SA Dub nights a year ago this month.

SA Dub’s
Fri, Jun 11
Nightrocker Live
605 San Pedro
(210) 256-3573