Introducing Dubcore: From Jay Sean to Breathe Carolina, A New Genre Is Born


Yes, I was shopping at a Tilly’s, that Orange County-based chain that slangs surf-and-skate clothing to middle and high schoolers. More importantly, though, is that Tilly’s has in-store music video playlist that is ripe with the latest in teeny-popper fare. It was here and in the middle of a seemingly innocent electronic-infused emo song that my ears picked up a familiar wobble bass–the defining characteristic of the dubstep sound.

Breathe Carolina, from Denver Colorado, make party music on GarageBand that has been categorized as both electropop, and crunkcore. Their influences run deep in the post hardcore scene where throaty, screaming vocals and intense mid-song breakdowns are the norm. But their music goes forward, into the electronic realm, where pop hooks and dance music can be made without instruments.

They crossed the dubstep threshold with a cover of Bangra-R&B artist Jay Sean’s 2008 song “Down,” which for those who have never had the pleasure, is a song so catchy that it gets stuck in the inner depths of your brain for weeks. Two minutes into Breathe Carolina’s version, however, the harmless cadence of “Down’s” upbeat chorus fades away and the Autotuned vocals begin to growl, “Take it down low.” A wobbly, bass-fueled breakdown ensues for about 15 seconds before the growler returns with the bridge (rapped by Lil Wayne in the Jay Sean original). Is this dubcore? What about Skrillex, who used to sing for post-hardcore band From First to Last? Is the heavy wobble bass of dubstep the next step for breakdown-hungry fans?

Check out Breathe Carolina’s cover here. The dubstep comes in at around 2:20.