The most relevant edition of URB magazine is its Next 100 issue, which every year profiles 100 up–and-coming DJs, producers, and bands. Seattle's scene has historically done well, with Plastiq Phantom, Lusine, and former resident Jeff Samuel all getting nods. This year Seattle is represented by techno veteran Jerry Abstract and dubstep evangelist DJ Struggle.

Abstract has long been a known entity, entrenched in the techno world and profiled in various Stranger pieces over the years. Likewise, Seattle's other recipients had already received their share of critical praise by the time they were chosen. DJ Struggle, on the other hand, is more of a mystery, seemingly coming out of nowhere to receive URB's accolade.

DJ Struggle's inclusion stems from the attention focused on dubstep, his genre of choice, as well as his boundless enthusiasm for the music, as evidenced by his three online mixes in less than a year's time. Dubstep's cavernous bass and skittering rhythms have percolated in London for years, but 2006 saw the sound peeking out from the underground and making inroads in the American club landscape.

The genre's mongrel beginnings (it pulls from dub, drum and bass, techno, and electro, among others) found producers and DJs approaching it from a few different directions, but mostly drum and bass. Struggle—aka Shawn Krali—came to it through house, electro, and a long musical hiatus. He began buying records in 1995 but stopped listening to electronic music not long after his 1999 arrival in Seattle.

Since then, Struggle has done all he can to sing the praises of dubstep, with an increasingly full slate of DJ appearances, the aforementioned mixes, and even trying his hand at production. Both "Absorption" and "Order 66" avoid the style's typical ominous overtones, with the former's tambourines and faster tempo lending the track levity and the drums revealing a definite techno heritage.

"For the first time, I'm feeling driven to produce something that doesn't sound like anything else, that pulls from my influences, the things that gave me the love of dubstep," he says.

While spreading the gospel, Struggle is wary of the hype that currently surrounds the genre. "There are lots of skeptics, because it's come out of nowhere after being underground for five years," he says. "Everybody's heard the word and some say 'I'm already sick of dubstep and I haven't even heard it.' But I hear more people getting really into it. I'm getting a lot of positive feedback. People are nodding their heads, and there are always a couple of people really stoked, saying that they've never heard anything like it."

Since electronic music is in constant flux, dubstep's future is left in the hands of its most creative proponents. "I don't know where it's going, but it just gets more and more diverse," says Struggle. "I don't know that dubstep will still be around, but I think it will spawn some new things. I see the potential in it. I really just want more people to hear it and understand the sound."

DJ Struggle plays Fri April 20 with Albert Joseph, Let's Go Outside, and 214, at the VIP Room at Neumo's, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467, 9 pm, $7, 21+. His new Baltic Room monthly, Subsistence, starts on May 13.

Get Out!


DJ Garth

San Francisco's DJ Garth has almost two decades of experience under his belt, helping to solidify both the San Francisco house scene and the sound that's become synonymous with the West Coast. He's also had plenty of time in front of Seattle audiences, and should once again prove that what he's doing with his DJ sets and his label—Grayhound Recordings—is pushing the boundaries of not just house, but dance music in general. See Sound Lounge, 115 Blanchard St, 374-3733, 10 pm, $5/$10 after 11 pm, 21+.


Coming on the heels of his Deep Dish partner Sharam's edition, Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia recently released his own installment of the Global Underground mix CD series. Featuring tracks from Simian Mobile Disco, Carl Craig, Booka Shade, and Nitzer Ebb, the disc defies expectations with its breadth. This Seattle visit is in support of the mix and will hopefully involve a similar diversity. Last Supper Club, 124 S Washington St, 748-9975, 10 pm, $15 adv, 21+.


Mr. Supreme, SunTzu Sound

For this month's Safari, SunTzu Sound are joined by Mr. Supreme. He'll be leaving the hiphop at home, flexing his crate-digging muscle with a set of house, disco, and funk plucked from his legendary record collection (50,000 pieces!). With a collection that large, he could probably play an entire evening of zydeco if asked, so it's all but certain that he'll bring the heat. Baltic Room, 1207 Pine St, 9 pm, $7/$10 after 11 pm, 21+.