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Underwater love

Scuba dives deep into Berlin bass

Like the sound of garage that it evolved from, there was a time a few years ago when dubstep seemed like, if not a London thing, then definitely a UK phenomenon. So when producer Scuba, aka Paul Rose, moved to Berlin, home of all things techno, in 2007 it might have seemed a rather perverse career choice.

Cut to the present day, however, and Scuba's new compilation, 'Sub:stance', (released on 25th January by Ostgut Ton), marks a year in which his club of the same name has celebrated the first birthday of its monthly Friday night residency, at the infamous Berghain. Dubstep has entered waters previously only patrolled by techno, and it's Scuba leading the way.

"It was a pretty wild stab in the dark to put dubstep on in an enormous club," he admits, initially surprised to have been offered a Friday night. "When we went to meet them we were expecting a Thursday or a Monday! The fact it's done well is amazing."

While he cites record shop Hard Wax stocking dubstep as having a huge influence, "it's vital as it's such an institution in the city, and got it noticed in the wider music community," it's his own roots discovering dance music through '90s techno that shine through in both Scuba's productions and Sub:stance's diverse line-ups, capturing the imagination of all manner of fans of electronic music.

"We always try to have a proper dubstep DJ playing, like Distance, but we also have more 4/4 DJs. Martyn played pretty much straight house when he was there," he explains. Old school techno dons Stacey Pullen and Dan Curtin even joined Appleblim when Panorama Bar also opened for their birthday.

The mix represents Scuba's sets over the last 12 months, emerging from the deepest, dubbiest depths of Sigha before hitting the post-rave and two-step of Joy Orbison and Untold — all three signed to his superb Hotflush label — but it also packs in the dark glitchy techno of Surgeon and Instra:mental.

It's this schizophrenic identity that's given birth to SCB, his alter-ego for "much slower, straight ahead house and techno. When I'm not playing a Sub:stance set, I tend to play more house tracks, so SCB stuff would fit in those kinds of sets."

While this ability to effortlessly transcend genres is what makes Scuba so compelling, constantly shifting into uncharted territories makes finishing an album particularly challenging.

After scrapping much of his first album before rewriting it, the clichéd 'difficult' second album seems to be proving just that.

"I've done it again!" he says. "I have a mastering appointment booked for next week so the computer is on at the moment. I'm thinking I need to finish a few tunes!"

In the meantime, however, the album launch on 15th January at Berghain sees Kode 9, Martyn, Shackleton and Pangaea amongst those helping him to continue bringing the bass to Berlin.