Canadian dubstep producer Distinct Motive sat down to give us the inside scoop on his viral tracks, his steady rise to fame, and more.
Distinct Motive has been steadily building his empire within the dubstep community for the past decade, and 2023 was a year full of milestones for the rising star. As an amazing talent who’s been in the game for years, it has been inspiring to see how much the support for his music has exploded as of late.
Early in his career, Distinct Motive gained support from collectives like Deep, Dark, and Dangerous and Drama Club Recordings, but now, even tastemakers Zeds Dead and Subtronics have caught on to his unique style. It’s easy to understand why after seeing the high-energy crowd reactions to hit beats like “Shake Junt,” “Snakes,” and “Blueberry” from the Canadian producer. Among all of his recent hits is his newest track, “Mellow Man,” which blew up like no other after lingering as a highly-chased ID for months.
Still sitting in the top tracks on Beatport’s 140/Deep Dubstep/Grime Chart three weeks after its release, “Mellow Man” will surely go down in bass music history for the hype it caused. Before he could get too far into the year, we sat down with Distinct Motive to learn more about this track’s impact, his rise to fame in the scene, and more, so keep reading for the full conversation!
Stream Distinct Motive – Mellow Man on Spotify:
Hey Distinct Motive, thanks so much for chatting with us today! Dubstep fans have known you for years, but it’s safe to say that you really broke out of the underground last year. What has the transition been like as you’ve risen up into the more mainstream side of the scene?
Since I started the Distinct Motive project, my goal has been to bring my sounds to the masses. It’s been ten years of hard work. I’ve seen a lot of acts come and go in that time, and the quick rise to fame doesn’t last long in many cases. My transition to the larger events/crowds has been slow and steady, and I’ve never had any management or team behind me pushing my sounds. I’ve just let the music do the talking.
My main focus has been building a solid community around Distinct Motive, Using platforms like Twitch, and doing meet-ups at shows. It’s all about the community, meeting the people, and appreciating them for their support. Without them, I’m nothing!
You have a very dedicated, rapidly growing fanbase. Between blowing you up on TikTok, nominating “Snakes” as Duploc’s Dubstep Track of the Year, and bugging their local promoters with “book Distinct Motive,” how important was this surge of support in 2023 to you?
At the end of the day, I’m extremely lucky to be in my position. I’ve always just made music for the fun of it, never had any set plans for making “bangers.” The music just gets made, and if people enjoy it, that’s just a bonus. There are no expectations. As for the surge in support, it’s been an incredible journey; I’m excited for what the future holds.
This year, you finally released “Mellow Man,” one of your most beloved IDs. Can you speak to the impact this release has had on your career and why you chose to release it on Deadbeats?
I’ve had a few tunes in my career that have had a “break out” moment, and I never thought I’d be able to top the ones I’ve made before. That being said, Mellow Man has definitely changed my life. The amount of support my DJ friends and music supporters have shown for this tune is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. To release it on a Canadian label alongside Zeds Dead, that’s just the cherry on top. Thanks to the Deadbeats team for believing in the music
As you grow, how have you chosen which bookings to take or decline based on your overall vision for the project?
Of course, that’s the nature of the journey. I’m always keeping the bigger picture in mind. I want to play my music to the masses, and I’ve been educating for years and want to continue to do so. Some of the first Distinct Motive supporters may turn their noses up at some of the lineups I’m on, and that’s okay. I’m still playing the music I want, plus a larger audience is getting exposed to it. It’s good for everyone! There can be elitism surrounding the more stripped-back sounds, but at the end of the day, we are all just nerds listening to computer music. Have fun!
Besides heightened exposure to the genre, what do you think has shifted since the pandemic to make those bigger crowds more receptive to 140 music?
I think the pandemic and the huge surge in Twitch streamers during that time gave a lot of people an opportunity to lock in and experience new sounds. The Deep Dark & Dangerous Quarantine Sessions were an amazing glue for the scene during that tough period. I find that as people get older, their tastes in the sound mature, along with the overall experience of going to a rave.
The CO2 cannons and counting down before every drop become stale after seeing it at every show. Maybe instead of the big reverb washouts, we can let the tune ride, and the people can get into a groove! I mean, we are there to dance, right? If you are into that, I’m not hating, enjoy! It might not be for everyone. That’s all I’m saying. That’s the great thing about music: there’s room for everyone to enjoy, and I’m thankful for the promoters who are booking a good mixture of DJs with different genres/styles.
What is your take on the “dancefloor is dead” argument recently circulating on social media?
They obviously haven’t been to a Distinct Motive Show then. [Laughs] All jokes aside, in a lot of the shows I’ve played this year, people are not standing still; they are enjoying themselves. Now, when it comes to big outdoor festivals, you’ll find the inflatable crew having a relaxing time at the back of the dancefloor, and I don’t blame them; four-day music festivals are an absolute marathon. You need to relax, but of course, just do that where it’s safe. Many times, I’ve been walking through crowds when it’s dark, and it’s a bit of a maze.
But a main factor most people would say is the overuse of alcohol and drugs, people losing their fine motor skills and bumping into you, awareness of your surroundings, etc. That can bring the vibe down big time, so enjoy it in moderation! Be safe!
Do you cater your sets differently based on what you feel the crowd will be like or the festival’s aesthetic? For instance, if it’s a crowd of sound system heads at a smaller festival versus newer fans of yours at the Tacoma Dome.
A Distinct Motive set is an ever-changing vibe, I’m a big fan of going with the flow alongside going into the big bag of doubles and crowd favorites too. I always start with a plan of two to three songs and then see what the crowd is doing from there. That’s been the most satisfying for me.
Finally, this chat wouldn’t feel complete without asking what you have on the horizon for 2024 after such a huge 2023. Do you have any exciting plans you can share or hint with us?
I’m going on a tour bus for the first time with Subtronics; that’s gonna be COOL! I’M PLAYING RED ROCKS! I’m doing a co-headline tour with The Widdler, and I think it’s about ten dates so far! I’m working with the DDD team on something special, something BIG!
And I’m playing a whole bunch of new cities alongside coming back for some wicked headline and support shows throughout the year. I’ve got about 30+ gigs lined up so far. And it’s not even February yet! It’s insane to me. Thank you, #bookdistinctmotive crew!
But of course, MORE NEW MUSIC! And maybe some MERCH? Thanks for having me! Much love!