The gas mask stamped on the cover of most Code of Arms releases is a symbol of the dark, toxic bass contained within. The music, says DJ Soroka, "is so nasty it might kill you." Indeed, the dubstep Soroka produces — and that of the Code of Arms label where he’s manager and A&R — is filled with bass that rolls around like electric storm clouds carrying acid run and thunder clap drums.
Soroka, whose real name is Will North, studied architecture and his first job in New York was building spaces used to show artwork at the Guggenheim. But his real passion was music, and he jumped straight into the deep end. "It was either do an internship at a firm or dive headfirst into music," he recalls, "So here I am." He’s now involved in music full time.
Before dubstep, he was interested in underground hip hop. In Soroka’s hometown of Amherst, Mass., he would make and sell mixtapes filled with music from CDs and compilations, and later those he found on Napster and Limewire ("but only for the underground stuff you couldn’t get anywhere else," the 26-year-old notes). "I felt like with all the bad commercial hip hop that was coming out, I had to spread the real dope."
He compares that music with dubstep today: "When I was a teenager, underground hip hop was the shit. There was the same excitement that you see today with dubstep." His growing involvement in the sound was completed when he paired with DJ Nebulla, who founded Code of Arms, and DJ Dore. "I learned a lot from them as to how to capture the dubstep sound," Soroka says. He just recently relocated to Bushwick.
Dubstep started on the road to becoming a global phenomenon in London at the turn of the century. It was rooted in the reggae, grime (a British style of rap), and the 2-step club scenes.
For New York-area dubstep similar to his style, Soroka says people should be on the lookout for Hellfire Machina, The Widdler, and Claw. He also mentions Liondub, Enkryption Projekt, Dave Gee, Trigon & Eshin, Enoe, and Lenny Dee as NYC DJs that are spinning similar music.
As for Code Of Arms, you can catch them in Brooklyn at their next Darkroom party on Feb. 13th, at their Bass Fueled Mischief party on Feb. 20th, or on Dubstep.fm every Friday from 5-7 p.m. starting this weekend. Soroka also has upcoming releases on Filthy Digital, Bassism Records, Gamma Audio, and Code of Arms — which recently switched its digital distribution over to Sony. Most of his tunes can be found on Digital-Tunes.net.
Below, we’ve included Soroka’s track "Doon Valley" for download, and his Wu Tang remix for streaming. The Wu remix includes three songs mashed into one. It’s part of an album of Killa Bee remixes paired with original dubstep compositions. The record was the brainchild of DJ Nebulla.
Soroka — “Doon Valley”
Wu Tang — “Pencil/My Piano/Firehouse (Soroka RMX)”