The Dub Rebellion: YouTube's Underground Bass Music Prodigy
The Dub Rebellion has blazed a path all its own while supporting and helping countless artists rise to fame and gain an audience on a global scale. Launched four years ago, the YouTube channel has grown to over 100,000 subscribers and 24 million hits, proving itself to be a pinnacle for the underground sound.
In honor of the channel’s four-year anniversary tomorrow, August 10, I sat down with the man behind the channel, Darek Desrosiers, to give us a first look at the birth of The Dub Rebellion and how it changed his life and many other bass lovers’ lives forever.
“The Dub Rebellion is a strong supporter of underground bass music and has always pushed to promote quality music that defines the genre” - Downlink
Recently, The Dub Rebellion received the “Silver Play Button” award for reaching 100,000 followers. What are your thoughts on reaching 100,000 followers and what does it mean to you?
The channel reached 100,000 followers in May of this year. Never in a million years I would have imagined something I created soaring to this level. When I started the channel in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing. I would just try to mimic what the other big channels were doing at the time (MistaDubstep, MrDUBandBASS, UKF, InspectorDubplate, etc). As time progressed, I formed my own identity and style with the new age of artists.
The 100,000 subscribers award arrived at my home last month and I was in utter shock. It arrived about a month and a half early and I opened the package with my family. The first thing I saw when I opened the package was the attached letter, congratulating the successes of the channel. I have the award hanging near my desk and it’s the first thing I see when I wake up each morning to remind me of how far The Dub Rebellion has come.
When did you first get into electronic music and what kind of stuff were you listening to in the beginning?
I’ve always liked electronic music for as long as I can remember. When I was a young teenager, I was pretty big into house music and happy hardcore music. I remember blasting low quality downloads of Clubland X-Treme Hardcore, which was a massive happy hardcore compilation that started in early 2000s.
Who were some of the first producers/DJs that you listened to?
There were so many producers that got me into dubstep. I got into dubstep in late 2008/early 2009, with the likes of Datsik, Excision, Bar9, Tomba, Shekel, Doctor P, FuntCase, Slum Dogz, Emalkay, 12th Planet, and so many others. Even to this day I find myself listening to the older classics more than the new tracks. There’s a certain memory that comes with each track that is hard to forget.
How did The Dub Rebellion start?
The Dub Rebellion started as something personal - a challenge for myself. At the time The Dub Rebellion began, there were so many other channels that were in the promo game that I was just a mere minnow in a sea of sharks. At the time UKF Dubstep was at its peak and no other promotional channel could even come close to the stats it was raking in. My thoughts were: “What is UKF doing differently than what I am doing?” With the motivation I’ve gained from that mindset, the rest was history.
When did you notice things start to really evolve and grow?
I started to notice a huge increase of support and traffic in early 2013. Views and subscribers per month started to double, triple and even quadruple as the channel started to gain the attention from some of the biggest names and inspirations in the scene. In May of 2014, I introduced a new layout to the channel which features an audio spectrum and a new intro.
Has managing The Dub Rebellion interested you in making it into a full-time career?
There is nothing I would love more than to make The Dub Rebellion a full-time career. It is highly satisfying to see artists’ careers flourishing right in front of my eyes, especially those who I have supported since day 1. Reaching 100,000 has been a milestone since the beginning, but now having my own team and office is my new goal. (One day) I hope to have my own office somewhere in California, with a full team that can alleviate some of the stresses that come with managing a channel with such demand for content.
“It’s hard to find people that are willing to go out of their way to promote good music, without people like The Dub rebellion music would not spread as quick to the heads and we might not get to hear all the wicked stuff the underground has been cooking up!” - Datsik
What’s the most difficult aspect of maintaining The Dub Rebellion?
The hardest aspect would definitely have to be finding time for everyone. Being that I have been operating The Dub Rebellion by myself, it has proven to be difficult to accommodate every artist and release. Most nights I do not get to sleep until 1AM and have to be up at 6AM the next day for work... it’s a very tiring process.
What do you enjoy about it the most?
The aspect I enjoy the most with The Dub Rebellion is being able to upload whatever I want, not having to follow any guidelines or standards. If you are a follower of the channel and are reading this right now, I am sure you can attest to some of the weird, “off-the-wall” uploads. Also, one of the most satisfying feelings is when people say that my channel helped them get through tough times; nothing is more humbling than knowing you’re impacting someone’s life in a positive way.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
The most important lesson is to stay humble and be appreciative of what you have. When I started The Dub Rebellion in 2011, I literally had 0 supporters. There were so many other channels that were doing the same thing I was doing. I still carry the same humble perspective even to this day.
“Darek reached out to me when I was just about to release my First Blood EP with SubHuman. He was really eager to support my music and has always left the door open since. To watch his channel grow from a couple thousand plays on an upload to hitting milestones like over 100k subscribers is a testament to his ear and the foundation of his position as a tastemaker. He's never been afraid to push something which might not exactly fit and I'm super appreciate for that type of bravery in addition to his passion to push good music. Long live The Dub Rebellion.” - Mayhem
How has your approach to managing the channel changed since you first started it?
I am very picky when it comes to the appearance of my channel, which is the primary reason why I have been running The Dub Rebellion solo for four years. It is very hard to find someone with the same view when it comes to upload appearance and style (trust me, I have been actively searching).
How do you feel about the way that electronic music, dubstep in particular, has flourished in recent years?
I think it’s pretty cool how the underground scene has gained more popularity over the last few years. Some of the artists who I supported since the beginning are now blowing up and playing huge festivals and shows. While some may say that “dubstep is dead” or “dubstep is stale now,” I see it differently. I see first hand how people push sound design to the next level, and I must say it is AMAZING.
“I love working with Dub Rebellion. I really respect what they are doing for the underground scene and what they represent. It's great to see such a well organized, well working channel get the exposure it deserves and here's to another 100k!” - FuntCase
What is your channel doing for the underground scene and where would you like to see it take off?
Tough question. While I’ve been approached by people saying that my channel “does nothing for the underground,” I do see how the channel fits with the underground. Many underground producers come to me for support each and every day. The amount of love and support for the underground shows how important the channel is to them. In recent years, many big-name artists have shown their appreciation for the channel, too, like Skrillex, 12th Planet, FuntCase and others.
"The Dub Rebellion is a classic. We always find new tracks by browsing on the channel. The selection is quite tasty and massive: they publish new tunes from established names like Megalodon or Eptic and also from talented unknown/newcomer producers. It's always surprising in a good way!” - Ganja White Knight
You have a music label with releases that have charted on Beatport, how did that come about?
Running a label was something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now. I’ve always wondered how it would be like to be the head of label, and now I know how stressful it is. Some days I feel like I want to tear my hair out, but our recent Krimer “Gamma” release has been #1 on Beatport Dubstep releases for the last few days.
Who are your top five artists at the moment?
There are tons of artists that deserve to be mentioned in this answer, but there’s a few artists that stick out to me. I would have to say Gh0sh, Krimer, AR the Bushmaster, Nostalgia and Creation. I’ve watched most of these artists grow from the very beginning and it is very satisfying to see how much they have achieved. Who knows... maybe you’ll see a few new exclusive tracks during the 4th birthday week celebration.
What does the future hold for The Dub Rebellion?
There are so many projects and ideas floating around in my head that it’s starting to get crazy. By 2016, I want to have my own event company, bringing out all the people that deserve to be in the spotlight. It seems like companies are sleeping on real talent and keep booking the same artists over and over. By 2016, I will be finished with my schooling so I will have more time to dedicate to events and other projects.
YouTube has always been a major influence when it comes to pushing out the newest and freshest music. Many of your favorite DJs today use it as a platform for song promotion and as a tool to search for new content every day.
This goes to show that if you take the time to look you will find dedicated tastemakers out there that are playing a huge part and are pushing boundaries to further the scene as much as possible, The Dub Rebellion is the channel to keep an eye on in the next few years, as it seems that the sky’s the limit with this project.