Drumstep, as the name would imply, is the love-child of dubstep and drum & bass. Basically, it’s half-time DnB but with the characteristics of a dubstep track. Drumstep is usually 170bpm but can be anywhere between 160-180, same as drum & bass. The genre developed in the mid-2000s and has since gained in popularity with names such as Pendulum, Delta Heavy, and Crissy Criss producing drumstep tunes. Without getting too technical, drumstep creates the illusion of a slower tempo by altering the structure of the typical DnB rhythm, for example by placing a snare on the 3rd beat instead of the 2nd and 4th as is normal for drum & bass. However, drumstep also has heavy dubstep influences and follows the same melody patterns, just at a faster pace.
One of the best examples of the genre is Rob Swire’s remix of Pendulum’s ‘Witchcraft’. You’ll definitely hear the dubstep wobbles in this one, but notice the drum and bass speed. Lots of remixes and VIPs end up being drumstep versions of the original track, just like with this one.
The VIP for Phantom Sage’s ‘Rupture’, for example, is another really great example of drumstep. The first drop is purely drum & bass while the second is purely dubstep, but the tempo change from 170-140 is what characterizes this one as a drumstep track. You can hear the elements of each genre really clearly in this one, and yet Phantom Sage blends them together flawlessly.
On the more chill side of the genre is The Brig and Umperia’s track ‘Siren’. This one has more liquid drum & bass vibes, but still with those distinct dubstep melodies. Despite being a lot more serene, you still get the bass coming in on the drop like with dubstep, but over a faster bpm. As you can see, this fusion makes for a really unique sound, but the genre is still quite diverse!
Another classic example is the Bear Grillz remix of Excision and The Frim’s ‘Night Shine’. Of course, you get the really heavy dubstep filth, especially with Excision’s sound, but sped up to 174 bpm. You’ll also start to notice drumstep tracks that are more similar to one genre or another, just like this one has stronger dubstep influences, and less of a DnB feel to it.
Music is constantly evolving, and new genres emerge all the time! A lot of genres come out of the fusion of others, and drumstep is the perfect example of that. Two of our favourite things are dubstep and drum & bass, so the invention of drumstep was love at first listen.
Be sure to check out the other drumstep tracks in our Dubstep/Drumstep Playlist on YouTube, and don’t miss the other pieces in our on-going genre series! We’ve covered Moombahton, Electro House, Glitch Hop, and more so far, and come back next week to see which genre we cover next!