Territories Represented: North America
Crusader of all things bass, Martin Knowles - or as we know him, Emalkay - has proven himself to be one of Dubstep's most formidable characters. He has cemented himself as a pivotal figure in the scene, playing a vital role in igniting a movement within the sound in 2009 which eventually became the modern Dubstep sound. His influence is unmistakably apparent in so many emerging artists and songs today, it's something he is very proud about.
It all started in his hometown of Birmingham way back in 2002 where he, with the help of his family of MCs, would scorch the airwaves weekly on pirate radio station, Silk FM. It was here that his love of dubplate culture, bass and DJing grew and it wasn't long before he had his first outing in the form of a limited white label EP in 2003, built in the bedroom with fellow radio DJ, D.e.e.p. It was dark, energetic and pushed the boundary of what was the popular underground sound of at that time, which we now know as Grime. Trademarks that have since become synonymous with his name throughout his career right up to this moment.
More grime and proto-dubstep releases followed soon after but It wasn't until 2007, with Dubstep still in it's infancy that he gained prominence with his gut-twisting roller, "Mecha". What followed over the next 2 years were a slew of releases that were received with great acclaim and gained him a great deal of recognition all over the world. "Explicit/Heroics" in 2009 being a good example of just how far his sound had come and yet as uncompromising as ever. By now he was playing regularly across the UK and Europe and creatively this became a significant driving force behind his music. It was then at the end of 2009 that, wanting to do something bigger and bolder, Emalkay was ready to unleash his next weapon, "When I Look At You". Voted Dubstepforum's best track of '09 and described by Pitchfork as "Irresistable" and by Clash Magazine as "a monster", it was a track that shook the genre from it's very feet. Some have since called it a game changer but Martin, characteristically grounded as always, described it as "A tune that needed to be made."
By this time, it should be noted, Emalkay was enjoying a highly successful remix career. His reworks of Pendulum's "Watercolour" and Faithless' "Sun to Me" in 2010 along with his more dark and rolling transformation of Miike Snow's "Silvia" the following year showed the world just how explosive and innovating his approach could be. The successes of all this enabled him to bring his sound to some of the biggest festivals around the world including Glastonbury, Bestival, EDC, Tomorrrowland and Dour Fest to name but a few. He also frequented the notorious London club, Fabric. It was actually his experiences there that inspired him to write the 2011 shocker, "Fabrication". A track that still hasn't ceased to find it's way into the sets of bass music DJs ever since. This was also the year of the long-awaited and much anticipated album, "Eclipse". By capturing the darker tendencies of his earlier output and combining it with the dance floor energy he came to love, Emalkay had managed to craft something truly original and yet somehow reminiscent. His flirtations with jungle and hardcore proved to be very popular, with "Crusader" garnering radio play from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and had ravers reaching for their chests as their ribcages rattled from the sheer weight of the bass line.
Knowles' remix magic struck yet again with his bass-soaked rework of Deliah's breathe in 2012. As well as troubling dance floors across the board, this song would later become the theme song for UK's popular TV show, Dynamo. After parting ways with his label later that year, Emalkay struck up a partnership with long time friends UKF to unleash two big hitters, "Bring it Down" and "The Line" (featuring his long time friend, Glen Boden on vocals). The two proved to be hugely popular and based on the previous successes with the channel, in the following year AEI (co-owner of UKF) and Emalkay joined up to form a new label "Bring It Down Records". Since then, Emalkay has kept up his refreshing and hard-hitting approach to bass music with his EP "For the People" in 2013, followed by an explosive remix EP and "Tomorrow" in 2014, a collaboration with Dubstep legend and old friend, Caspa.
With an announcement of an album in the works and a firing technostep remix for the Glitch Mob just dropping, 2015 looks to be a very exciting year indeed for the bass bringer from Birmingham.