140 is a new photography zine from dubstep podcasters Deep Tempo, “documenting our culture on 35mm” (their own words). Rob Smith sat down with Deep Tempo, aka The Roving Dread and Cuttah, to learn all about it and everything else they’re up to…
Your Deep Tempo podcast was born from hours of dubstep-related chat in the pub. Why was a print zine the next step?
It stemmed from the many sources I used to read to stay up to date with the scene, ceasing to exist. The ones that do occasionally feature a dubstep article these days only ever cover the big names, yet there’s so much more going on! After thinking about it long enough, I felt strongly that someone should be covering these moments/artists and having made the connections with the podcast and already attending many events, I felt compelled to do it.
Your zine is predominantly photography-based; was that always the intention?
I’m storytelling with photography. Plus, I’ve never been an academic. I’ve only ever known how to write in my own voice, typically with some slang. I have dyslexia, so I have always learned best by being practical, getting stuck in and giving things a go. So I’ve taken that approach with most things I do. Why write it when I can show it?
The photos in your zine are all shot on black and white film. Have you always been into film photography, or was the zine your introduction to it?
I went to Leamington College and was lucky that photography was a part of my course and I could use the darkroom to get experimental with developing film. I spent three years there doing that on and off, but after college, I never really returned to photography for any focused time or projects. I’ve always been a nighttime crafter, whether after work, school or college. To this day, a decade later, after work, I do my side projects that involve all sorts of creative practices and skills. Becoming a DJ/podcaster has led me back to photography and printmaking and I’m sure it’ll lead me on to something else.
What will you bring to our Independent Print Market?
I’ll bring 140 zines one, two and three, including some of the last few remaining first editions of zines one and two. Usually, I only create one merch piece alongside each zine, but for the market, I will bring new bits.
Can you pick out any photos from any of your zines as favourites of yours?
Tough question! My favourites aren’t necessarily the most technically perfect ones but I’ll just mention one from each zine so far.
Zine 1: The group pre-drinks photo (p36) in a tiny pub courtyard. I couldn’t even get everyone in focus but it’s the people in the shot, a great bunch from the Netherlands, Austria and Germany, that I’ve now met up with at several events.
Zine 2: Goth-Trad (p7) at Outlook UK festival, just because I’m a complete and utter fanboy of his sound. Knowing how he thinks about crafting a set and moving a dance floor, capturing him as he cues up a fresh cut was just the pinnacle for me.
Zine 3: At One Love Formosa Festival in Taiwan (p51/52). Every party & event needs someone to be the first on the dancefloor. I managed to capture this guy while he’s lost in the music, first on the dance floor and right up close to the sound system with everyone else standing quite far back behind him.
With FWD>> returning with an event at Printworks, do you feel like there’s been a recent renewal of interest in dubstep’s roots?
Yes and no, it depends on where you’re talking about. Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend that night as we had a booking abroad but it would have been cool to experience. Outside of the UK, I think there’s lots of new interest, people learning backwards from the current sounds dubstep has inspired.
People did travel from all over to go to that night but I think the real underground nights and newer producers still lack a lot of love they deserve. I personally would have loved to have seen some younger, fresher producers on that FWD>> main room lineup. But that’s our mission with Deep Tempo. We’ll keep shouting about the “little fam”.
Deep Tempo/140 have recently started a Patreon. What can fans of the zine find on it?
We’ve recently decided to give our top-tier members on the Deep Tempo Patreon free copies of all future zines. There are other tiers for early access and discounts on zines and merch too. I’m also looking at doing some live streams around how I put the zines together and photography chats etc.
The chat element of your podcast is what makes it stand out from other Dubstep mix podcasts. Did you want to keep the zine more visual than chat or editorial-focused?
Yeah, with everything else I have going on, it’s the easiest way for me to serve my community in a way that I feel is currently lacking. I’m a big believer in doing things in whatever way helps you express yourself in a consistent way. Using whatever tools I have access to and skills, I have or am willing to learn.
What’s the most interesting event dubstep has taken you to?
Really all the events covered in zine three across Japan and Taiwan. But if I had to pick one, I would say Nagoya, Japan. Before the trip, I knew of the Taiwan crews doing events and had long followed the Tokyo scene. I hadn’t heard of the Nagoya Bass Lab crew before though, so when Yudai invited me down to play, I was stoked to visit a new city in Japan. It was a fairly quiet mid-week set, but everyone there was so welcoming, super funny, and, most importantly, enjoying the music.
Favourite VIP you’re both into atm?
Leftlow – Cluedub VIP. Mashes up the dance every time. The original came out in 2019 on System.