Write-up and interview by Julien Breistroff.
Given Japan’s reputation for fostering niche cultures, and considering the nation’s decades-long relationship with reggae, it should come as little surprise that UK dance/bass music has found footing on the islands’ shores. Though Japan’s presence in dubstep may have come sooner – with Goth-Trad and his Back to Chill imprint and night – its grime scene has slowly grown to establish itself as the most cohesive representation of the genre in Asia. This status was recently cemented when Elijah & Skilliam tasked stalwart local MC Pakin with assembling an all star crew of Japanese grime MCs and DJs to record a showcase set for Butterz.
Among the artists featured on the resulting mix was Double Clapperz, a Production/DJ outfit consisting of Sinta and UKD. The duo have steadily made a name for themselves over the last few years, their tracks being played by a number of distinguished grime names. Spooky in particular has supported them since early, though Murlo, Boofy, and Impey have certainly helped to get Double Clapperz’ music played on radio and in mixtapes for Rinse, Radar, BBC Radio 1xtra, and Fabric. Coupling traditionally jagged grime drum patterns with a meticulously crafted low-end, their sound is as conscious a nod to grime as it is to soundsystem culture more broadly. The pair have worked extensively with local MCs and can count themselves among the most prominent contributors to Tokyo’s grime scene. With a white label dropping this June and the spotlight on Japanese grime growing ever brighter, Double Clapperz are poised to help bring their scene to the attention of grime fans globally.
Never straying far from the customary 140bpm, Double Clapperz’ Astral Plane mix progresses at a blistering pace, quickly and deftly blending their own brand of abrasive precision with hollow weightless cuts, dubstep, and hints of dancehall. Filled with unreleased beats, bootlegs, and exclusive vocal tracks, the mix is a thrilling glimpse into Japanese grime. Familiar ground is also provided as the duo pepper in released material from the likes of Commodo, Kahn & Neek, Ishan Sound, Murlo, Terror Danjah, and the Boxed crew – as well as an Astral Plane favourite, Last Japan’s forthcoming “Ascend” featuring AJ Tracey. We had the chance to ask the guys a few questions over the internet, and their responses (along with a tracklist) can be found after the jump/below the fold. In the meantime, turn your subs up and travel from Bow to Tokyo with this lesson in Far Eastern bass.