Distance isn’t entirely convinced. “It seems like everyone is getting into metal,” he says, dubiously. Unlike such dilettantes, Distance has metal in his blood. As a teenager, the 27-year-old producer from Bromley in Kent, otherwise known as Greg Sanders, was into Korn, Sepultura and Pantera. But what used to a source of embarrassment has now made him one of the most exciting names in dubstep. Tracks such as Cyclops and Traffic have been racking up rewinds thanks to ferocious riffs that sound like Black Sabbath gone rave. Actually, it’s the other way round: Greg’s sabre-toothed bass-lines are mostly played on an electric guitar, which he started learning when he was 11-years old.
Greg began producing dubstep before it even had a name. Not waiting to get signed, he pressed up his debut single, Trust My Logic, on white label in 2003 and sold a few hundred copies. His next track, Nomad, brought him to the attention of Hot Flush Recordings boss Paul Rose. Soon afterwards he jumped a queue of a hundred DJs to secure a slot on supreme east London pirate station Rinse FM.
His fame has subsequently spread beyond the dubstep scene. “Some people who get in touch with me on Myspace, you look on their top eight and it’s all metal bands,” he says. Meanwhile, when he played in San Francisco recently, he encountered a particularly enthusiastic fan. “He spent the whole set slapping me on the back and shouting, Distance, what the hell are you doing!”
Collaborations are planned with Skream, Pinch, Loefah and Vex’d, some to be released on his own imprint Chestplate. He won’t be lightening up any time soon. “There’s something in me that always goes for a dark atmosphere,” he says. “I even want to work with a proper metal vocalist one day.”
Distance’s debut album, My Demons, is out now on Planet Mu.
Written for the spring 2007 edition of Dummy.