From the deepest corners of Japan’s chip-beat and noise scene in the early ‘00s to the dubstep phenomenon, straight from the streets of London, Goth-Trad (Takeaki Maruyama) remains one of the most conscious and influential producers in underground electronic music.
His breakthrough came with the Mad Ravers Dance Floor album in 2005, which lead to bookings outside of Japan. The resulting exposure caught the attention of DMZ co-founder and DEEP MEDi label head Mala, who got hold of Back to Chill, a half-beat 2-steppy grime-esque track with very distinct Eastern influences – so to say dubstep ‘avant la lettre’.
“Goth-Trad stands for an outstanding LIVE Performance… His is a deep original sound with a clear Eastern impact.”
Impressed by this Japanese producer, Mala invited Goth-Trad to the London-based events which were pushing the early dubstep sound – dances like Forward, DMZ and Soul Jazz.
Goth-Trad was into hip-hop/grime instrumentals at the time and found inspiration in London’s very own grime godfather Wiley. It seems the Japanese producer wanted to make the grime sound more dubby – while sticking to a 140BPM tempo. Goth-Trad’s sounds were raw, characterised by sudden switches in both rhythm and melody, often blended with orchestral influences. Mala and Goth-Trad kept in contact and played both in the UK as well as in Tokyo, where Goth-Trad started the Back to Chill night – an event mentioned with the same respect as Reconstvct in New York for introducing dubstep to the local population.
After (un)officially entering the ‘dubstep scene’ with one of his most progressive productions Cut End, Goth-Trad remixed tracks for artists like Distance, Mala and even reggae legend Max Romeo – while still releasing a number of solo productions.
Goth-Trad countered the commercialisation of the dubstep sound in 2012, redefined the meditative qualities by releasing the New Epoch album. Using the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 as inspiration, Goth-Trad built New Epoch as Japan rebuilt itself.
Takeaki told Resident Advisor:
“Before March 2011 a lot of Japanese people simply didn’t question the media or the government, they simply trusted them. Then after the earthquake followed by the nuclear crisis, hearing what the government and media were saying, a lot of people started to be aware that something is not going right, I think. They started to re-assess and question everything, even themselves.”
And that’s exactly what the producer did himself. He didn’t listen to the media or any other dubstep releases, but to the progression of his own creativity and thoughts about bass music. This may be why so many relate to Goth-Trad’s music – the level of ‘consciousness’ in his productions is cross-cultural, understood by almost everyone with or without a love for the 140 tempo…
Click to DOWNLOAD (60MB)
- Goth-Trad – Cut End [Deep Medi, 2007]
- Goth-Trad – Born to Know [Deep Medi, 2013]
- Goth-Trad – Anti Grid [Deep Medi, 2012]
- Goth-Trad – Airbreaker [Deep Medi, 2012]
- Pampidoo – Synthesizer Voice (Goth-Trad dub mix) [Greensleeves, 2011]
- Skream & Cluekid – Sandsnake (Goth-Trad remix) [Disfigured Dubz, 2009]
- Goth-Trad – Seeker [Deep Medi, 2012]
- Goth-Trad – Back to Chill [Popgroup Recordings, 2005]
- Goth-Trad – Sunbeam [Deep Medi, 2010]
- Goth-Trad – New Epoch [Deep Medi, 2012] 1
- Goth-Trad ft. Max Romeo – Babylon Fall [Deep Medi, 2011]
Many thanks to Dubjunk for putting #3 together
Big love to Dubbacle and Dubjunk for their help with this article
30 minutes of Bass education #4 will follow in two weeks – find the previous mixes here.