[Q&A] Mala: Music is Freedom of expression

Between the 9th and the 10th of January the Dubstep community around the world celebrated 10 years of  'Dubstep Warz' on air. On the same date the host of the Breezeblock Show on BBC Rdio1, Marry Anne Hobs, changed the world of electronic music forever- the radio pioneer presented a two-hour b2b set featuring MalaSkream, Kode 9 & The Spaceape, Vex'd, Hatcha & Crazy D, Loefah & Sgt. Pokes and Distance. This is when the world was introduced to the real sound of Dubstep and the power of this music

A couple of days after the 10-year jubilee we received the answers for our interview with the one and only Mala. We did our best to stay away from our trivial questions and decided to put something special on the table.  We haven't touched upon 'future releases', 'where will your fans be able to see and hear you in the future?' and things which are... always on the agenda. On the other hand we received interesting, valuable and very meaningful answers. You can read our interview with the mighty Dubstep artist in the following few lines. We hope you like it as much as we do!



Hi, Mala! Dubstep walked a long way from the Croydon studios to the big international festivals. How did Dubstep unfold along the way? What changed over the years?

Life is in constant motion. Cycles. Evolution.  So many people made a contribution in their own way. Everyone has a different story to tell.  I think its very difficult to answer this question.  What I saw change most is the different styles of ‘Dubstep' being created. The industry around the music also changed. I think it's fair to say this sound influenced many people, whether a producer, a dj or just a music lover.  The journey of dubstep travels far and wide.

Notwithstanding the ups and downs the genre saw throughout the years, Dubstep has always been a key element of bass music and culture. According to you, which are the chief suspects thanks to whom Dubstep has always been out there?

The Music Producers, DJ’s and promoters who are always ready to take risks by remaining originally creative and not conforming to the trends of today. Also massive thanks to our audiences who want to be challenged with new and unheard music.  

Deep Medi @ Boiler Room - The full Mala's set 

Do you sigh for the days gone by? Is there anything you would like to give back to Dubstep, something that no longer is, from back in the day? 

People like to say the Good Old days. To an extent, I agree, those early days were without a doubt a special time for everyone involved. 
Those memories and stories will live forever. However I gave thanks for the past and look toward the future. Time is now, and today we hear so many new and young producers making inspiring music.  I take responsibility and joy working and supporting todays movement.   This is what keeps me energised.  
Technology means the sound and the sound system should sound better, the internet means artists and audience can communicate directly.  
I wouldn't change or bring back anything.  I am excited about the future. 

Yup, Mala was an MC once. And infriquently still hosts Dubstep sets on the biggest festivals.

If you were able to go back into time, what would you change, is there anything you wouldn't let happen to the music? 

In my opinion, Music is Freedom of expression -  Maybe the only real freedom’s I have. I value this whole heartedly.  I encourage those I work with to find the confidence to be true to themselves. So they also feel free to express themselves freely.  I have no control over what happens. So what will be will be. 

More than 10 years ago you, Coki, Loefah and Sgt. Pokes launched DMZ. At what part of both your personal and artistic advance was DMZ created?

DMZ happened because it needed to. We all loved music, we were buying records, playing music at home, to friends, at parties, this evolved into making music. This was happening when we were just teenagers.  
It was a natural progression from bedroom to the clubs, from clubs to festival stages, from dub plates to starting a record label.  We were young, hard working, unified and fearless. Ready to represent what we stood for, ready to take on the world.   
We went against the trends and took risks. We just went for it… No Fear. No compromise.

Did you ever expect that DMZ would turn into what it is today and survive for more than a decade?

At the time it was never something I thought about to be honest. I don’t think the guys did either. As I said before, we just went for it. 
It’s funny to look back. Our first 2 record releases were refused by many record shops in London. Today those same records are sold for a over a hundred euros on Discogs. These things can never be planned or manufactured.

Big named magazines didn’t respect what we were doing and took a negative view of what we were doing. We all laughed back then… We had FWD>> We had DMZ,  heavyweight sound systems, exciting music and a positive community. I think the quality of the music and power of unity was the real driving force that carried dmz and this scene as a whole. 

Loads of people say that the smoking ban from 10 years ago left a big mark on the club scene in the UK. In what way did it affect the Dubstep scene and DMZ in particular?

2 main effects happened with the introduction of the smoking ban. I’m sure the effects were universal and not just dubstep or dmz related.  

1. People's health in clubs became better. Thats gotta be a good thing I guess.  2. The attention and focus from the audience became a little broken because those wanting to smoke had to leave the space the room etc. Distractions. Not so good. 

As time progresses, almost each genre alters and reaches some commerciality. How did you manage to shield Dubstep and it's original sound from the industry?

I didn't I put up a shield. 
But I know the music I play is different in vibration and formula we see and hear with most commercial music. 
So the music protects itself because of its very make up.  Everything has its time and space. Everything works in cycles. I just do what I do, with love.  

Where do you see Dubstep? What changes do you foresee?

Only God knows. I’ve never seen into the future. All I know is it’s important to be present now, helping to build and to be part of the future.


Meet Mala at Horizon Festival in Bansko, Bulgaria!

- Our Full Coverage

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