How Murkz, TRC & Subzero Helped Usher In Bassline’s Revival

In many ways, bassline/4x4 was ahead of its time. Big personalities, bold fashion choices, and sugar-rush anthems built for the dancefloor—it was heaven sent fo

murkz subzero trc bassline revival interview

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murkz subzero trc bassline revival interview

In many ways, bassline/4x4 was ahead of its time. Big personalities, bold fashion choices, and sugar-rush anthems built for the dancefloor—it was heaven sent for TikTok and the social media age. Bluetooth and Infrared were all well and good, but the golden age of mid-2000s bassline just didn’t have the infrastructure to support its untameable energy and the insatiable appetite of the ravers who loved it so much.

But it’s a new day, and the genre is currently having a revival up North and in the Midlands, thanks in part to legendary producers and DJs like Murkz, TRC and Subzero, who have been putting into action the plans they’ve been formulating since 2020.

The seed was planted during lockdown, when Subzero’s Instagram Live commanded audiences of thousands—including celebrities such as Ghetts and Watford captain Tom Cleverley—but over the past 18 months, things have really started to heat up. Raves were the first part of the plan, but things have grown far beyond that into a multi-faceted stable they call 4 The Bassline Culture.

It feels cliched to call what Murkz, TRC and Subzero have created a “movement”, but given the huge swathes of support they have across the country, the instant and intense reactions every announcement gets and the support they have from their peers, it’s hard not to agree. Back in November last year, they put on an enormous event in Birmingham called The Wobbler, with themselves as headliners along with sets from bassline icons like Burgaboy, Bassboy and Trilla Jermaine Trilloski, side by side with new gen talents like DJ Rawns. It wasn’t just its popularity that should give bassline heads cause for optimism—its slick execution suggested the Yorkshire-born genre’s future wasn’t going to be anything like its past.

4 The Bassline Culture has the benefit of experience as well as new-gen energy to keep it sustained. More than an event series, it’s almost its own ecosystem. The YouTube channel hosts bassline classics, premieres new music from up-and-comers and legends alike, and hosts all the content that might have otherwise faded into the ether, simultaneously preserving the past and pushing the future.

We caught up with Murkz, TRC and Subzero to get the full lowdown. 

“We’re very humble individuals, but we can say with our chest that—since lockdown—there have been a lot of other bassline events that have been popping up off the back of the buzz that we created in lockdown.”—Subzero

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COMPLEX: You guys have been working together for years, but what made you want to launch the 4 The Bassline Culture platform?

Murkz: It’s started in lockdown, really. When we couldn’t leave the house, we started doing livestreams. Subzero kicked it off when he was doing livestreams from his bedroom and, slowly but surely, it began to pick up. We clocked what was happening and we were messaging each other saying, “Yo! Let’s not ruin this and step on each other’s toes. Let’s work together,” and raves were the next step. The name, 4 The Bassline Culture, it came easily because that’s what we were doing it for: the culture. It was for the people. From there, it just escalated into this entertainment brand, which can go so many different ways.

Subzero: It was just a natural response to the ravers that were loving it. They were telling us that we need to put a rave on, so we just answered what was being asked of us. 

So break down exactly what the whole enterprise does.

Murkz: I think the best way to describe it is, it’s a movement. It’s something for us, it’s something for the people, but it’s not just events. We’re artists ourselves—we make music, we release music. 

Is there going to be a label aspect to all of this as well?

TRC: Potentially, yeah, because we’re all about showcasing new bassline as well as the older stuff. We’ve got a lot of outlets, like the YouTube channel, and we’ve been making a Spotify playlist and building that up as well. So it’s definitely something that we’re looking into at the moment.

Bassline seems to be in a really good place at the minute, and not just up North. Would you say that you guys had a helping hand in this revival that’s been happening? 

Subzero: We lit a fire during lockdown, and we’re bringing that bassline buzz back. We’re very humble individuals, but we can say with our chest that—since lockdown—there have been a lot of other bassline events that have been popping up off the back of the buzz that we created. I just think it all boils down to execution, and what we’re trying to do is execute it in the right way. 

Murkz: It’s not quite at the stage where it was in the golden era, when it was charting and stuff, but it’s in a place that has more potential. We’ve learned from the past and we’re correcting our wrongs and moving a bit differently so it can have more longevity. We’re not trying to throw lots of names on the line-ups so we can make a certain amount of money. We don’t wanna be the biggest rave. We just want to be the best. 

Is gatekeeping a part of that? I don’t mean snobbery or anything, but to keep people aware of the difference between bassline/4X4, speed garage, 2-step, etc. 

TRC: To be honest, I think it’s good that all the genres can collide together. I like that you’re able to play a lot of genres together and make it fit because they’re all around that bassline/4x4 sound. It’s good for bassline because it puts it amongst other scenes and puts other genres amongst bassline. It can only help lift it up the same way it lifts up other genres as well.

Subzero: I love that it’s at that crossover level. Sometimes when you go out and you hear a DJ that might play multi-genre, you’ll always come to that old-school section where he might mix in a bit of garage, he might mix in a bit of funky house. You always get a bit of bassline in there, maybe some very old-school drum & bass or jungle, and it all blends. So as long as it stays on that level, it will be everlasting like garage and funky house. 

Will bassline always be a Northern sound?

TRC: I’ll put my opinion on it: I think the biggest reaction and the biggest following for bassline will always be up North. Obviously, it filters into different parts of the UK, going more South and into the Midlands, etc, but it’s always Northern.

murkz subzero trc bassline revival interview

Are you getting more attention these days, outside of the North as well?

Subzero: All over.

TRC: Look at the areas that we hit when we sell tickets for the event; we have people coming from all over the UK—literally. North, Midlands, Derby, Leicester, Nottingham, Cardiff, even France.


Murkz: We did a show in Birmingham and this journalist flew over from France that day. His name’s Flux. Big up Flux!

What do you think needs to happen in bassline for it to grow even further? Does it need more hits? More radio play? More infrastructure?

Murkz: I think the infrastructure it’s got is probably better than ever. I think it’s a case of just continuing what everybody’s doing. The more brands, the better it blows it up even more. It’s more outlets, it’s more people supporting, and the more people making new bassline the better because it’s more new music. Obviously, with the social media age, as we just kinda touched on, things can blow up overnight. So it could only take one song and it just blows it worldwide again. I think it’s got everything going for it. I don’t think I’ve ever known it to have an infrastructure this good. The way the brands are built now, in comparison to 2007-2010, is completely different. It’s very positive where bassline is heading.

In a way, I feel like bassline of that 2000s era was built for the social media era. You had big characters and those tunes would have flown on every platform. And they were kind of going viral the way people were sharing them on their phones…

Murkz: Imagine Burgaboy with social media...

What could have been!

TRC: What could still be!

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Who are some of the new names in bassline? Are you bringing people under your wing as part of 4 The Bassline Culture, or is that further down the line? 

Murkz: Yeah, in a way. In terms of new bassline acts outside of DJs, there haven’t been that many. There are some new bassline DJs coming through, such as Rawns, Vamos and Palizé—they just get it. It’s good to see, because they’re dipping into this new market, they’re reaching the youngers and bringing them in. You can see them carrying the sound in the right way.

Subzero: They’re not quite the same, but they’re staying true to the roots of what we do and what we play with our event.

TRC: Jack Junior is another one. He’s dope! And you’ve got a couple of the old dons coming back and making new stuff now. There’s been a few new waves of different sounds that are a totally different pocket to bassline but still fit as well. So there’s Sammy Virji and Gentlemen’s Club that are in that kind of speed garage/4x4 pocket, which I think is great.

Subzero: I think what’s good with what they’re doing is they’re spreading the sound outside of the UK. I think Sammy Virji was in Australia or somewhere like that, and he was playing some bassline crossover stuff and the crowd were going crazy. We need to get to Australia!

Murkz: It’s important to pay big respect to the new wave of bassline. Guys like Darkzy, Skepsis...

TRC: Holy Goof, TS7 as well—he’s not new, but he’s making waves in those different pockets we just spoke about.

Murkz: You’ve got people like Bassboy who have kept going all the way through. You’ve got [DJ] Q as well. Even though there are people who say new bassline’s nothing like old bassline and so on, things evolve. By continuing to make a form of bass or bassline music, whatever you want to call it, it still helps to bring us this resurgence of the old-school sound that we’ve seen. That’s what got everyone excited again.

100%. And I think Subzero’s sets were central to that.

Subzero: The maddest thing is I’m very humble so I actually had someone pressuring me to do these sets. I didn’t really wanna do them, but I thought, “You know what? It’s one night. Let’s just have a vibes!” And it just went crazy from there and everyone was going mad. It relit my fire to produce music and bring music out again. When I did the mix for you guys, that was around the time I released “Powerless” with Sasha. So things were just flowing from there.

murkz subzero trc bassline revival interview

Subzero, when you did that first livestream, was it weird having no IRL crowd reaction, or was it just treated like a radio set?

Subzero: Yeah, it was weird, setting up decks in your room and stuff, but the main thing was trying to get the right angle…

Murkz: You were trying to fit your arms in! That’s why you couldn’t get the angle! [Laughs]

Subzero: [Laughs] But yeah, it was weird at first, but then it became a buzz because you’ve got live interactions. You get sucked into seeing how people are reacting as you’re mixing. You’d be making a mix and at the same time you’re looking over and seeing what people are typing or the emojis, so it was good once it got going, and I think that also added to the authenticity of it.

I think it made a lot of people realise how much they really missed it.

Subzero: That appreciation meant a lot, because we were doing little bits and bobs individually in the bassline scene before lockdown, but then when you’re seeing 200, 300, 400 people tuned into you and showing you so much love, it really encourages you. And you see some names in there that you’ve not seen for years. It was crazy, because at one point you’re seeing big names, like footballers, and people like Ghetts, and it was just a mad combination of people flowing through the Lives and we were just like, “I’m in my bedroom and I’ve got Tom Cleverley locked into my Live, bigging me up and sending me messages.” It was crazy. It was a nice feeling.

Murkz: Individually, you couldn’t really see what people were saying. You’re so in the moment, you don’t even notice whatever’s happening on your phone—you’re just going sick on these decks in your living room or your bedroom, but it really went up a level when us three came together to do one. We still weren’t really allowed to travel or go to other people’s houses, but me and Subz were in Manchester and we just said, “Fuck it!” We jumped on the motorway and set up in T’s living room. We had a WhatsApp group, talking every day, setting stuff up, planning events, planning releases. We made a song together called “Lipsin Riddim” in about two days. Them two made the beat, I spat on it, and T mixed it down, but then we saw that when we pulled together to do the actual Live, everything just fit. Then we had a spare phone so we could see interactions and type back. Everyone felt it and that’s why it’s ended up where it is now. The Lives brought us here together, basically.

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Subzero: We see people in our raves from the Lives! That journey has been insane. The fact that they were with us on the livestreams and now we’re partying at these events together, and they’re literally at the front of a stage, it’s sick!

TRC: We shared the moments in it because it even got to a stage, especially when we were doing Lives together, when we realised we were actually an entertainment brand. We had people messaging us saying how much we cheered them up by doing them. Like, they were going through stuff but tapping into the IG Live made them feel better. That’s when we knew we were really onto something.

Murkz: I think every time we’ve done something together since lockdown, it reminds us we’re onto something—every set we finish, every decision we make, every rave we put on. I also think it works because we actually love bassline. We’ve all gone off and done all sorts of other stuff since 2007, but it lives deep inside us and I think because we make sure that’s at the front of everything we do with 4 The Bassline Culture, that’s why it’s going so well.

murkz subzero trc bassline revival interview

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