Easily Japan’s most underrated dubstep producer, Dubtro is on the verge of blowing up across the underground community, and deservedly so. Clinical releases on Minstep Music, Back To Chill, and a collaborative feature on Karma’s most recent appearance on Innamind, have carried him far and yet, for this writer, feel too few. Quality is the name of the game for Dubtro, who has never felt the pressure or the need to put out a record just for the sake of remaining relevant. Patience then, is evidently what his followers will need to endure if they wish to get their hands on more of his material. Perhaps a bold and calculated move from the young beatmaker, whose cosmic compositions can be found on regular rotation at the monthly Back To Chill sessions hosted in the heart of Tokyo. Like Mala and co, the event’s head honcho and pioneering legend of the genre, Goth-Trad provided a platform for his country’s bass hungry enthusiasts to share common love for the sub heavy frequencies that unite them. Among the crew is Dubtro and close friend Karma, who has taken the scene by storm with his never-ending supply of exclusive dubplates and reworked VIPs. Guidance and support from the aforementioned has undoubtedly helped Dubtro off his feet as a newcomer, and ascend the ranks as one of the scene’s most promising talents. Moreover, the crucial success of BTC ultimately led to the foundation of its label which released a colossal compilation, “MUGEN” at the close of 2014 featuring 10, all killer no filler tracks from a tight-knit selection of sub engineers who have been closely linked with the event since its initial debut in 2006. Consequently then, Back To Chill will celebrate its 10th anniversary later this year in September. With some new releases confirmed on the horizon, I pinned down Dubtro for a quick chat and he kindly supplied us with an exclusive dubplate mix.
TRUSIK: Easy Yu, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. How are you?
DUBTRO: Easy brother. No problem, I’m good thanks.
TRUSIK: “Flee in the Fog” your collaborative track with Karma came out on Innamind last year and was well received by your fans. Are you happy with the response it’s had?
DUBTRO: Yes of course. I’m very happy because this tune is really important to me.
TRUSIK: It’s a special record in the sense that both you and Karma go way back and have known each other for a long time. Could you tell us a little bit about how your paths first crossed, and how encouraging it’s been to have a close friend like Karma supported by the biggest names in the industry?
DUBTRO: I’ve known Karma since he was a teenager. We first crossed paths about 4 years ago when he sent to me a message on SoundCloud. I think he was naturally going to be supported by the bigger artists. I trust in his music very much.
TRUSIK: Building on the previous question, having watched domestic forces such as Ena and Goth-Trad ascend the ranks and place Japan firmly on the map, to what extent have they been instrumental in your inception and involvement with underground dance music, and at what point did that draw you into building beats?
DUBTRO: Goth-Trad is a pioneer of music, and always challenges new things. I get a great stimulus from his outlook and work ethic.
TRUSIK: From your first release on MindStep Music in 2011 to your recent release on Innamind, how would you say you have progressed in your approach to music production? How much of this has contributed to the development of your current sound?
DUBTRO: Basically, nothing has changed but life experiences have been reflected in my sound over the last 4 years.
TRUSIK: You’ve collaborated with Karma more than once, is this an area of production you enjoy doing? Do you feel that it aids your own development as a musician as you share and discover new ideas with other producers?
DUBTRO: Definitely. There are always new discoveries. I have some new collaborations with him, which haven’t been played in my sets yet.
TRUSIK: The “MUGEN” compilation was an incredible showcase of music from the new guard breaking through and the already established. There’s a few talented producers making moves in Japan right now who I’ve only recently discovered. Is it fair to say the compilation has played an important role in expanding awareness of these artists to a global audience?
DUBTRO: Yes! MUGEN is a really great album. It got a lot of great press about it. I’m also very happy that Goth-Trad started a Back To Chill label.
TRUSIK: You played b2b with Karma at “Back To Chill” last year and also celebrated it’s 9th anniversary in September. How did the session go? What are your thoughts on the state of the underground music scene in Japan at the moment, and how important has BTC been as a platform for Japanese DJs and producers?
DUBTRO: I had a really great time and played a great set. The underground music scene is very small in Japan but Back To Chill is a special night for exposure of the music we promote.
TRUSIK: What can we expect from you in 2016, is there any other forthcoming material, interesting projects, or up and coming music gigs you can inform the readers on?
DUBTRO: I’m playing at Back To Chill every month. I’ve also got new releases planned but it’s a secret for now, sorry. More information soon come!
TRUSIK: Take us through the mix you put together for us.
DUBTRO: The mix is my usual style including dubplates from myself and Karma.
TRUSIK: Thank you for your time brother, are there any final comments / shout outs you wanna share to wrap things up?
DUBTRO: Like I said, new releases dropping this year and I hope to do a UK/US Tour. Hopefully see you soon bro!
TRUSIK: A track… by your favourite new artist: KARMA – Bumba you’re currently opening your sets with: DUBTRO – Iron March you give the rewind treatment every time: DUBTRO & KARMA – Leo