DSF: A Visual Ethnography

Hey guys,

My name’s Mike, and I’ve been a member for about a month. I’ve been listening to Dubstep for five or six years and am a fan of the scene on a largely cultural basis. I love the narrative of things taking off in Croydon, how radio stations were jacked to broadcast sounds, and how some of the DJs I know and listen to today started out back then. I’ve also been trying to pinpoint the time when Dubstep took off in the United States and how that affected the genre overall (although this is a largely subjective debate, if any thread’s are dedicated to this please enlighten me!)

I’ve been observing the forum since joining in order to create a visual ethnography of sorts for myself and have a couple questions for the OGs on here, if any of you are down to help me out. I sincerely appreciate any time you guys have to throw my way. Without further ado:

  • Does anyone here on the forum know each other in real life? (I am not looking for information on real-life people, just if anyone sees each other outside of interacting on the web)
  • Have there been any real-life meetups in the past for DSF members? Nightlife (shows, club gigs, etc) or non-nightlife events.
  • Has anyone who currently uses the forum been here since its start in 2005?
  • Following on that question, has the vibe/function of the forum changed since then? If so, how?
  • Have any artists launched their careers using DSF?

Again, thank you so much for your time, anyone that can help me with these Q’s! I’m on a mission to prove this is a community in the truest sense. Any questions about me or my background, hmu.


Re: when the sound took off in the US: I’d say 2007-2008.

re: IRL interactions - yes, met up w/ some heads from here a few times for local shows. Didn’t know any of them prior to DSF.

re: forum old-timers - I’ve been here since Feb. of 2006. There’s a small handful of hedz from 2005 still here.

re: vibe/function changes - absolutely. Besides the scope and fragmentation of the sound accelerating past the point where “your dubstep is not my dubstep” for a lot of people, the current DSF is a little less of a resource for finding dubstep-related info (releases, events) but arguably just as much of a community. The demographic has also become younger and younger all the time. You didn’t argue with too many 14 year olds back in the beginning… :badteeth:

re: career launches - yes, although others can probably speak to this more accurately than I.


Most of the Uk lot know each other yeah, a few have over the course of this forum moved in together in different citys and all sorts
Myself, @pete_bubonic, @Riddles, @ch3 @kay @finji @Johoosh @RKM @TrendyGrime @Lye_Form @Muncey
Thats missing more that now dont use the forum so much or I cant link cos I cant tag more than 10 people, to give you an idea…

Bunch of us have been to Scotland, Switzerland and Amsterdam together not to mention god knows how many festivals and nights.

We (me and riddles) run a night with Ch3 doing artwork
That has kind of been the London meet up since System is pretty infrequent, outside of that DMZ and most “Big” dubstep nights will have us all out.
Couple of guys from New york off the forum came to ours for the preDMZ 10 house partyalong with guys from Poland etc.

Some of the guys linked have Im sure. I didnt till like 2010 or so.

So yeah meet loads of people, gone to all kinds of mad shit cos of this forum.


yeah its pretty jokes that I meant some of my best mates on a forum for dubstep haha.
So many people come out and there are always new people popping up here and there.

For artists “launching” through here, I don’t think so. Like historically all the big guys were on here and even now a fair few people who are “big” are on here, but I don’t know of any examples of people getting picked up on here then suddenly blowing up. I don’t think people really blow up anyway in underground music these days (via a forum anyways). All the people I know have grafted for ages and it gets noticed more over time.

1 BigUp

this might sound funny

but for an insight into how this forum has changed find a producer/dj who used to post here a lot and just stalk their posts (you’ll have to go on the old forum)

it’s interesting to see people who are big names now talking with other producers and labelheads in threads from 05 about reaching dmz birthdays or talking about that mad new tune loefah played that goes ‘skeng’- then this place was a real hub and an integral part in pushing the dubstep scene when it was still tiny, and i always find it entertaining finding yet another dj or producer i didn’t know was ever into dubstep with a few hundred posts from '07
that’s not the case at all these days- social media’s taken away the ‘need’ for this place tbh but it’s still a good place to find good electronic music and chat to people that are really into their tunes

i’m sure in the past people have got tunes picked up off here back when it was more of a necessary part of the scene, like the production section used to be one of the top ones on the net and that drew producers here that weren’t necessarily ever that into dubstep (ie objekt - u can find out some serioussss production knowledge by reading his posts)

brostep+futuregarage/house+social media deaded this place in varying ways though, so don’t expect kode9 and scuba to still be digging through dubs threads looking for releases

that’s just my take on this tho only been about here since 2013 ish


some do, most don’t…but the core group of truheds would be able to recognize each other in a masked orgy despite having never met or seen a formal picture. the online dubstep seen is mostly dick-pic based imo.


met up with ninjas on multiple continents

i was able to randomly recognize harkat in amsterdam based off the shirt he was wearing lol


Haha fuck off you did. You met up with @Lye_Form in the USA right?

1 BigUp

Been on here since January 2008. Remember DMZ summer blaze down in July that year - loads of dubstep forum folk from US side came down. We also used to organize meetups called ‘Secret ninja radio’, streaming live from various places. Went to a London one (still lived in Finland at that point) where I met a few forum members in person for the first time. A couple of guys I met there are still my friends until this day, although not on this forum anymore - hello, Badger and Dubluke! (or Burial, as we have managed to collectively convince a prominent UK paper one day; who remembers this one?) We also held the radio in Brighton, Leeds, Sheffield etc and also on US side, iirc.

As I have never produced, for me this was a place to hang out with people that were into music in general. Quickly became apparent it wasn’t just about dubstep at all, as a lot of folk is into all kind of stuff that I am into, including completely unrelated genres. A group of us became good friends and even if we don’t live in the same city, we see each other on regular basis - a lot of it is nights and gigs, but we do other stuff as well. @Johnlenham and I even have semi-regular dinner rounds, haha. All in all, over the years I have probably met more than 40-50 people, out of which I’ve got a handful of good friends today.

There is at least one UK/US marriage (and a baby!) that happened thanks to the old forum. They are doing awesome.

The vibe has always been changing. Used to be more lively and varied, but you can still find good bits nowadays. To be fair, I mostly log in to see if a couple of people are still around and how are they doing, as I have never had a chance to meet them irl but still oddly care to see if they’re good.


no wasnt even aware he was around, would be a shame if it turns out he was in LA or something

1 BigUp

I met up with lye in SF and kai as well. Safe dutes.

1 BigUp

Yeah i did LA for a bit @Phigure (Venice Beach anyway) didn’t realise they were your ends! for some reason i thought you said you were from Minnesota or Nebraska something.

I have met a load of people off the forum now actually, Cyclopian actually got me a booking in SF which was sick (even though went completely wrong at one point where the “MC” decided to take over the mixer and move stuff about randomly).

My girlfriends from Romania so when i’m over there i meet up with @ultraspatial

When @danny_scrilla came over managed to meet up with him when he played at the Silver Bullet.
Also went to see @skimpi play there a few weeks ago.

And yeah i tag along to bristol for any excuse really to meet up with everyone @Johnlenham listed.

TBH everyone off the forum has been safe as, even Mason.

1 BigUp

Thank you all so much for the feedback! If anyone is able to answer the following questions too I would be unbelievably grateful:

  • Do members traverse relationships from DSF to other parts of the web? (i.e. Facebook, Reddit, SoundCloud)
  • What would you say the “goals” of DSF were when the forum launched in 2005? What would you say they are now? Collective, community-wide goals for using the forum!

swear 2 god this dude is a cop or something


Just a student. If anyone inbox’s me their email I’m more than happy to send the final version of what I’m working on to them!

haha yeah I have and loads of DSF people on Fb/Twitter/Whatsapp/Insta/SC etc
I dont fuck with snapchat but thats a thing as well.

All the gang be safe!

Finally met @Lye_Form at last Converge after a few years sending dubs/mixes to each other - he’s built

Met @Muncey at the System at Shapes - he drinks loads

Need 2 stop manhandling @TrendyGrime’s face when Goth Trad tunes come on at dances

I still associate Hobson’s face with an Irn Bru x WKD appearing in my hand shortly after

Missing Los Particlos Jimenos @particle_jim original king of The Dome

@ch3 @Johnlenham are always about in the London town - highly recommended people

1 BigUp

Haha! But I’m surprisingly a bit of lightweight.

Pretty much echo everybody elses statements, met some great people off here… looking forward to meeting more! Really gutted I can’t make Converge next Friday, first one I’ve missed all year!

if I go will someone fight me irl?

1 BigUp

i was just joshin tbh. Srs that would be so shit