Sarasota bands have been gaining traction around the indie music world for quite some time. But one aspect of our multifaceted music scene — electronic music — has remained essentially underground in comparison, at least from an outsider's perspective. Aside from the world-renowned DJs that graced area venues during the past two Vinyl Music Festivals, top-notch spinsters have primarily bypassed the Suncoast in lieu of the big-name mega clubs in Miami and Tampa.
Thankfully, one local DJ who goes by the name Shock to the System plans to begin remedying that reputation starting this Friday. SttS is the moniker of Jake Dubber, who has steadily risen to become one of the area's most sought-after DJs since breaking onto the scene five years ago. (He won “Best DJ on the Suncoast” in last year's Creative Loafing reader's poll.) Lifted from a Fear Factory lyric, Dubber chose the name Shock to the System as an ode to the metal influences he incorporates into his mixes. His heavy pulsing style also lends to the word “Whomp” — a term widely associated in local circles with SttS shows.
Dubber's specialty is an electro sub-genre known as dubstep, which is characterized by heavy driving bass lines and aggressive down-tempo drum beats interspersed with a wide array of samples and occasional live vocals. The beautiful thing about dubstep is there really isn't any boundaries to where DJs can go with it, and due to the popularity of recent album mash-ups, its prevalence has been expanding rapidly.
That's what makes Wick-It the Instigator setting up at Pastimes this weekend kind of a big deal. After releasing a mash-up album last year called “The Brothers of Chico Dusty,” which melded music from The Black Keys' “Brothers” with vocals from OutKast rapper Big Boi's “The Son of Chico Dusty,” Wick-It effectively exploded, garnering praise from a number of national blogs and music mags.
“I actually know Wick-It because I played a show with him in Nashville about two years ago,” Dubber says. “He blew up pretty quick with the mixup of Black Keys and Big Boi after it was featured in SPIN and it won MySpace album of the week. But most of these guys aren't too expensive, as long as you catch them on the way up. And they can bring a lot to Sarasota.”
Dubber is now looking to bring big-name dubstep acts to Sarasota on a monthly basis as an expansion of his long-running “Death to the Dancefloor” concert series. Already featuring local and regional DJs at Pastimes every third Monday, he will now be adding a second “Death to the Dancefloor Presents” edition, which will host a different national DJ on a Friday or Saturday every few weeks.
This Friday marks the kick-off of this valiant new venture, with Wick-It being supported by local scene newcomer Nasty Nat (known from Dubber's “Nine Four WHOMP!” shows at The Blue Owl), as well as Fort Myers' Dubsonic, whose regular Tuesday “Mixtape the Party” events at the Indigo Room are famous throughout South Florida.
Shock to the System will also be releasing an original two-track EP in the upcoming weeks, with all lyrics written by Dubber and featuring the vocal prowess of Rose Sexton. So even though we have some heavy hitters on the way, make sure to seek out our homegrown dubstep, too.