Joe Nice on Why Denver Has the Nation's Smartest Dubstep Fans

Every year, dubstep promoter Sub.mission celebrates with a massive party called Bass Invasion. This year's party will take place this Friday and Saturday night at the Fusion Factory in RiNo. Friday’s set is headlined by Ganja White Night, Kaiju and Mesck, and Saturday features Le Lion, The Greys, Sleeper and Joe Nice.

"Denver, in my opinion, has the most educated and nuanced dubstep fans in North America,” says Nice. “When you play Denver, you have to know people there know the artists; people there know the tunes. And much of that is not only the people in Denver who know the sounds; a lot of it is everything Nicole [Sub.mission's Cacciavillano] has done over the past few years. It is more than just a community – it is an industry. It seems strange to say that, but there are multiple events, there are so many people involved with dubstep and bass music in Denver, and Nicole is the focal point of all of that; she is the center of that universe, and it is a beautiful thing to see.

“When I play Denver, so many people tell me they listen to my show, saw the documentary I’m in, saw an interview,” he continues. “When people go to see an artist, they know what they are getting, and it is good for the people who attend the party, who support the party, because they know they are going to see something fresh, and the artists going there know they can’t half-ass it. Denver is serious about their business. Denver knows what is going on with dubstep and bass music. You can’t play the set you played another night in another city and expect that to go over. You can’t play dubstep from a year ago or six months ago. You have to be fresh in Denver. You have to bring the new stuff. There’s a difference between having your A game and having your A-plus game. Denver demands an A-plus, valedictorian type of game.”

Nice also feels that Sub.mission is integral to the success of a strong underground dubstep scene in the city. “Organizations like Sub.mission are important because with anything in life, whether it's school, whether it's carpentry, whether it's dental surgery, whatever it is, there has to be a leader, there has to be that focal point, that person, or idol or organization that you look to and say, ‘Not only do I want to be as good as that eventually, I want to be better than that,’ and Sub.mission is that to this side of the planet for dubstep,” he says. “It is celebrated because it is one of the longest-running dubstep parties in not only North America, but the world. It is a regular party, so the supporters know when they can come see quality electronic music.”

As far as the strides dubstep has made since the turn of the century, Nice sees the genre taking off in new directions because of its now-global diffusion. “The biggest change I have noticed in dubstep is the globalization of the sound,” he says. “Dubstep is no longer this London-centric or United Kingdom-centric sound. There are more producers around the world making dubstep. For me, that has been the biggest change. It’s no longer this guys from London, Bristol, Manchester. Now it’s these guys from Montreal; Istanbul, Turkey; Helsinki, Finland; Paris, France; Los Angeles, or New York City, etc. The cradle of the creation has become decentralized, and that is biggest thing that has changed over the past few years.”

Nice will be taking the stage from 3 to 5 a.m. on Saturday night (and into Sunday morning), spinning some of the freshest and most cutting-edge dubs around. Friday-night festivities begin at 10 p.m. and end at 3 a.m., and Saturday night goes from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.. The event is BYOB and takes place in an art gallery and warehouse.

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Addison is a Denver-based writer specializing in metal, dubstep, cannabis and LGBTQ issues. She also contributes to OUT FRONT, CULTURE and New Noise magazines. Addison is author of Wicked Woman: Women in Metal from the1960s to Now.