Building Blocks: D1

Dubstep producer/dj Dwayne ‘D1‘ Marsh has been a fundamental contributor to UK bass music since the early noughties. As a youngster he secured a healthy musical education with school days spent mastering the piano and saxophone, and school nights spent at the seminal FWD>> clubnight, drawing influence from the likes of Horsepower Productions, Oris Jay and El-B. His early strain of gritty half-step productions were cut and played out by Youngsta and Hatcha, leading to a string of releases on legendary dubstep imprints Tempa and DMZ.

D1’s decision to hook up with Caspa’s Dub Police label in 2008, has led him to continue to deconstruct UKG, funky, jungle and dubstep, twisting each strain into unique takes on bass-led dance floor music. With his new EP ‘Flood Of Emotions’ featuring much-admired vocalist and former Future Cut front woman Jenna G penciled for release on March 7th, we emailed the man himself to discuss his opinion on the ‘post-dubstep’ label, his musical heritage and his interest in working with Adele.

Interview/ Josh Thomas

Your old man is jungle producer Michael Anthony Marsh, what kind of effect did being around soundsystem music from an early age leave with you?
Loads, my mum sang, my grandma sang, my dad played the guitar – music has always been a massive part of my life and been around me constantly, I think subconsciously it built me up to eventually make music.

We hear you were pretty nifty on the piano and sax as kid, do you still play instruments, and how did this stage lead to electronic music production?
I started playing the piano at 7 and started the sax when I was 12, when I started secondary school and I suppose what led me into electronic music was pirate radio, listening to what my mates were listening to and enjoying it and thinking “I want to get involved with this”. I don’t play instruments really anymore, I mean I’m always using a keyboard but in terms of playing the saxophone or the piano I haven’t touched my sax in about 3 years, and the last time I played the piano was on the floods of emotions shoot.

FWD>> has been a big influence for many bass artists, when did you start going down and what impact did it have on you?
15-16 dunno if I should really be telling you that! But I do remember coming home a few times from school and going to FWD>>. It had a massive impact, I knew instantly when I went down there I really wanted to make music and try to make a living out of it.

Are there any particular producers from this era that inspired you?
Horsepower obviously… Oris Jay, Zed Bias.

We understand that it was Youngsta that first started cutting your music to play out, how important was that exposure?
It was massive. Youngsta and Hatcha were the two big dj’s at the time in the scene that were just dj’s [didn’t produce] so people really took notice of what they were doing. Obviously Youngsta playing my stuff gave me a massive boost straight away which eventually lead onto releases for me.

After a long period releasing on Tempa, how did the hook-up with Dub Police come about?
I’ve known Gary (Caspa) for years and he had always been keen on me doing a release for him and at the time when I decided to move over to Dub Police I think I just needed a change. I think I was becoming stagnant, not really do anything and losing interest a bit, but Gary came along and was like ‘lets do this and see how it goes…’ and its probably turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

Your new EP ‘Flood of Emotions’ feat Jenna G is out in March, what was your plan for the release?
Well I made the tune at the end of 2009 so its been a long process! But getting Jenna on board and the amazing song she wrote was great, there was never really a plan – it just happened.

Do you have any more plans to collaborate with more vocalists?
Yeah most definitely I would love to work with Adele but I doubt that’s on the cards anytime soon, I think some of what I write is definitely more song based, I cant say I find it easier. I never force myself to write music I just let whatever is in my head come out.

Dubstep’s development has progressed with the amalgamation of elements from house, UK funky and techno. What’s your opinion on the term ‘post-dubstep’ and the pigeonholing of music?
I don’t think it’s good. I understand why people do it but I personally don’t think its good, it should just all be under one umbrella. I think there’s room for all types of dubstep and I would prefer to see more line-up’s that were diverse as well, that has a bit of everything that dubstep has to offer. I think the sub genres are just confusing and restricting as a producer, I make music that I like, that I would call dubstep.

Could you name-drop some producers/djs that have been catching your ear as of late?
Graphics and Subspace, both of them are making some really good stuff at the moment.

What have you got coming up release wise the rest of the year?
I’ve got a ‘Mystyle’ CD which should be out hopefully end of April/beginning of May and I have a remix I’ve done for the Count & Sinden coming on Domino, I have a few other remixes I’m currently working on at the minute, and I’m also working on some more stuff with Jenna, hopefully for release in September. I just want to get as much music and remixes out as i can this year.

‘Flood of Emotions’ feat Jenna G is released March 7th on Dub Police