[INTERVIEW] Legendary Dubstep DJ Doctor P at Mysteryland
The sun had long since set once Doctor P took the stage. The lights and smoke tore the sky and made it almost so bright it might almost feel like daylight. Doctor P was the last DJ to perform on the Boat stage at Mysteryland before the “boat raid” would bring in all of Bro Safari’s friends and colleagues to do a B2B2B2B2B2B2B2B2B set, with approximately ten DJs blowing it all away at once. But before the raid, Doctor P took the helm of the massive steamboat and made some serious waves at one of the most popular stages of the night.
“I’m shocked that I’m doing it [closing out the Boat stage], I can’t understand why they asked me to do it… I think I’m the only one playing dubstep [on the Boat],” Doctor P told Sensible Reason in an interview prior to his set that night. One surprising trait for Doctor P (aka, Shaun Brockhurst) is that he is incredibly humble—not something you’d expect from the legendary UK DJ who is the brains behind such bass music staples as “Tetris,” “Bullet Proof,” and “Sweet Shop.”
According to Doctor P, “The whole scene has moved into a more trappy direction but I just didn’t. Luckily I’m still here… Everything phases in and out over time: dubstep phased out and trap phased in, and I guess it’ll change. Dubstep still has its fan base, but it’s not like when it first came out–everyone was blow away by how crazy it was. But now, 5 or 6 years later, everyone is used to the sound of it so it’s not shocking anymore.” Still, the crowd was loving the change of pace—some rough and tumble dubstep that cuts through the trap and bridges old bass music with the new.
Interestingly, for Doctor P, the lights and the sounds of festivals are the catalyst for getting motivated to bust something amazing out in the studio: “When you’re sitting in the studio on you own in the quiet, you don’t really get the vibe. You can listen to other people’s music but it’s harder to get excited about it when you’re alone. I always go home to make music after the shows, because I’m in it and listening to it. It’s just inspiring being here; it’s not inspiring being at home watching TV and stuff.”
Perhaps Doctor P headed to the studio after his set at Mysteryland and found some inspiration. “I’m trying to get an EP together. I’ve been putting out singles for the last couple of years and I just haven’t done an EP–it’s time for me to do one. I don’t know what it’s going to be called, when it’s coming out or what tracks are coming out on it yet but I’m working on it.” After a hiatus since the release of his 2012 EP Flying Spaghetti Monster, that is big news for fans.
Doctor P is particularly known for his amazingly popular hit singles and a significant number of his tracks each have millions views on YouTube. So what is different for him between releasing tracks versus EPs? “With an EP you can get away with putting one or two weird things on there that wouldn’t have been singles, which is why I want to do one now. When you do a single there’s a lot of pressure that it’s got to be the best thing you’ve ever made, so I want to do an EP so I can get a couple of odd things on there. I feel like now I can get away with it. People would have been weirdly angry before if I’d released some weird music but I think now people have relaxed a little bit. They’re used to hearing different styles and different tempos.”
Despite being known for dubstep, Doctor P’s record label Circus (co-founded with other dubstep legend, Flux Pavilion) does work exclusively with dubstep artists, reflecting Doctor P’s interest in diversifying and exploring new ground. According to Doctor P, “We’ve got a set of rules [for producing a new track under our label]: you’ve got to be able to whistle it, it’s got to stand the test of time, it needs a vocal hook or melody hook, there needs to be production quality and aesthetic quality… We don’t really care too much about what it is, we just try to fit it to these rules that we think apply to all good music. We’re hoping that that will set us up as a quality label, rather than being associated with one specific thing.”
Still, Doctor P is human too, and he has his preferences—and that preference to make music. “We’re still growing the [Circus] team. We’ve got a team of 17 people and we’re looking for bigger offices in London… It was originally just three of us on there, but then it grew and grew and grew, so I’ve stepped away from that. It’s boring–running a record label is really boring. We’ve got a team now that I trust, they are good at what they do, so I let them do their thing and I just make music.”
Making music is something Doctor P was made to do. His set full on rocked the Boat and was an amazing way to end the weekend. The loud, cranking electronic sounds of dubstep pushed fans around, thrusting them this way and that. This stood in stark contrast to the man behind the music—the man we met in this interview—who is surprisingly humble, honest, and human.
Be sure to check out Doctor P at other festivals in the US this summer, including Paradise Music Festival, Global Dance Festival, Moonrise, and Backwoods!