INTERVIEW: Modestep

We headed along to Sydney’s Parklife event over the weekend! After a huge day and a blockbuster set at the festival, Josh Friend of UK dubstep act MODESTEP sat down with us for a chat…

How are you liking Australia?

It’s really great. This is our second time down here and it seems to get better every time.

You guys come from the UK-the spiritual home of your genre, dubstep. Do you prefer playing to a home crowd or spreading yourselves to new horizons.

I don’t know if we have a preference, its just different everywhere you go. In the UK, its really gritty and rough, with lots of guys looking to start fights. Hardly anyone actually dances. In the US, people go nuts just dancing. Here, its kind of in between. But it’s all good

You guys bring a lot of energy to your live shows. Have you suffered any serious injuries?

Nothing too serious, but we’re getting hurt all the time. The other day I fell 10 feet and landed flat on my back. I’ve also got a broken finger. The other guys have their own problems. We don’t take very good care of ourselves.

What’s your routine at festivals? Are you checking out other bands or are you locked away in the tour bus?

We like to get out and about, see what’s happening. It’s amazing to get to play alongside some of the guys that influenced us growing up, like BENGA and RUSKO. We try to make it a hands-on experience.

What about warm-ups and pre-gig rituals?

There’s a lot of lunging. We try to limber up before shows. I won’t be any more vulgar than that.

You guys seem to be a pretty tight-knit bunch. Did you all grow up together?

Most of the band has been together a while now. Matt the DJ is my brother, and the other guys – we all grew up playing in bands together. We come from a rock background. It’s quite funny actually, so much of the current dubstep community has come out of the same areas. We all knew eachother back then and now…we’ll here we are!

How do you feel about people remixing your music? Do you see it as people re-writing/improving your song or just taking a different approach? Is it in any way an insult?

It’s just a different approach. We had a guy called TODD EDWARDS recently remix one of our track and we loved it. We definitely don’t see it as an insult.

How do you spend your down-time?

We don’t really get a lot of down-time. The last time we got to chill out was I think, a year and a half ago where we just hung out on a beach in France. It’s fine though, we love to be working.

I see JUSTICE is playing a ‘DJ Set’ at this years festival. Can you clarify for me and other ‘outsiders’ what the difference between a live set and a DJ set is, when the performer themselves is a DJ?

I don’t think there’s a general rule. It differs from person to person. For us, we try to mention it when we’re playing a DJ set so people don’t get the wrong idea. But I’m not sure about anyone else.

Are there any artists that have really blown you away lately?

Absolutely. There’s this amazing producer who’s coming out of the UK called DISMANTLE who I think is going to be the future of dubstep. It’s a really stripped back and much dancier style. There’s also another guy called CULPRIT and this whole movement in ‘Trap-Music’ that we’re really getting into.

Words by Dominic Sciberras

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About:

Growing up in a rural town in Tajikistan, I first discovered my love for music playing in a glam-bourine band called the Prosti-Dudes. Angelina flew me to Los Angeles where I opened an organic foods store and began playing the lute. Purple Sneakers were kind enough to hire me as part of their ‘Foster a Molester’ campaign and I have enjoyed the opportunity to write and contribute to their website.