A decade of many styles


RTRFM Presents Many Styles

Henry Sims, Reporter

Ten years is a long time in music. 

The underground dance music scene in Perth circa 2009 was certainly different to the landscape today. 

In the musical landscape left in the wake of jungle’s sudden downfall and a stagnant UKG scene, a new and innovative sound was pioneered in clubs and flats throughout South London. 

It was called dubstep – a distinctly British style of dance music, largely punctuated by two-step drum patterns and heavily influenced by sound system culture in Jamaica and the West Indies. 

Starting in the early 2000s before rocketing into the dance consciousness after Mary Anne Hobbs’ legendary ‘Dubstep Warz’ broadcast on BBC1 in 2006, the style had come to Perth and had been championed by DJs in Perth almost immediately. 

As it goes with any genre of dance music, it quickly mutated into a vast number of different sounds and styles. In the US it took on a brutal, high-energy feel, devoid of any of the influence from the Caribbean and increasingly made to be played in massive, garish nightclubs and arenas.  

But in the UK and Europe, some artists had taken it in a softer and more melodic direction. 

This style was first described as ‘post-dubstep’ and later, by many as simply ‘bass music’: a catch-all term used to define certain styles of dubstep, UKG, grime & house amongst other genres. 

Punctuated by a sound from the likes of Kode9, 2562 & James Blake, Perth had a hunger and a drive for this newer sound, with tours and gigs being regularly organised by local promoters in venues like The Bakery (R.I.P, gone but not forgotten). 

Perth community radio station and cultural institution RTRFM did not take long to catch on, and in June 2009 a new show called Bass Check debuted with a focus on this constantly evolving style of music. 

The evolution is just as apparent in the roster of presenters. 

Local DJ Jaxon Lamond was only 13 when Bass Check first went to air but has been hosting the program since late 2017. 

“[Bass Check] provides an opportunity to play music I love and don’t really have a release for anywhere else.

“It’s cool having a specialist program where you can play music in the hope that people with similar tastes might be able to listen in and enjoy it as much as I do,” he said

Ten years on, and the station is gearing up to celebrate the show and the station at large with their gig Many Styles at Si Paradiso on the Saturday May 4. 

With 27 DJs over three spaces, it’s an ambitious combination of all kinds of dance music – and some of the Bass Check hosts will be taking over the specially curated basement stage to celebrate ten years of Bass Check. 

DJ Darcy Love is a presenter on Bass Check, as well as one of the faces behind Empathy – a new series of shows in Perth sound casing dance DJs in a smaller club environment. I spoke to him ahead of the gig to hear what being a presenter on RTRFM means to him. 

“As a DJ, promoter and lover of music, RTRFM gives me the opportunity to share what I love. The sense of community means I feel a part of something special every day I’m there.” 

Darcy was just as positive about playing at Many Styles. 

“It’s an extension of that, being given the opportunity to combine my activities outside of RTRFM, alongside like-minded members of the community with the collective aim of growing together and supporting independent broadcasting in Perth.” 

RTRFM Presents Many Styles is on Saturday May 4 at Si Paradiso, 446 Beaufort St, Highgate.

Tickets are still available.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.