Even though he no longer lives in the country, it’s hard to imagine what London’s musical landscape would look like without the influence of Scuba, born Paul Rose. The Hotflush label head, DJ, producer and promoter cut his teeth with jungle and techno equally in London, eventually becoming involved with local pirate radio and some of the formative club nights in dubstep. Rose and his label’s early activity in the London scene led to a long-standing association with the genre, but he quickly proved versatile as his own productions (and Hotflush releases) began to extend into the wider realm of electronic music.
Wanting to get in touch with his techno roots, Rose made the now-standard move from London to Berlin in 2007. The city’s cold winters and post-industrial landscape easily matched Scuba’s own distinctive production aesthetic, which he showed off on his first two albums recorded in the German capital, A Mutual Antipathy and Triangulation in 2008 and 2010 respectively. These two records showed the nubile Berliner increasingly incorporating techno influences into a bass-heavy, multi-genre sound, met with almost universal critical acclaim. During the same period, Rose’s successful DJ career reached new heights, even playing Berlin’s legendary techno temple Berghain, home to DJs like Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock.
Rose’s infiltration into Berghain soon took on unprecedented prominence, landing a Friday night residency with his own quarterly SUB:STANCE night, which has not only featured some of the biggest names in bass music but also resulted in an eponymous mix CD on the club’s influential techno label, the first and still only one of its kind. It wouldn’t be any exaggeration to say that Rose’s DJing has become as celebrated as his music, with his speedy but careful style cutting through genre barriers with remarkable ease. Recording and DJing techno under his SCB guise, Rose has become known as a techno DJ as much as a “bass music” DJ. His 2011 DJ-KiCKS installment showed off his mastery of all dance music genres, and received plaudits from all angles. Audience reception has been just as vocal, with Scuba occupying the #25 spot in the readership-voted Resident Advisor Top DJ poll for 2010 and 2011.
All the while his Hotflush Recordings label has blossomed into a veritable juggernaut in underground electronic music, releasing everything from techno (Sigha, George FitzGerald) to some of the most experimental and important music of the past few years by artists like Joy Orbison, Untold, Mount Kimbie, and Sepalcure. One of the label’s most recent triumphs was also Rose’s himself, in the form of the third Scuba album Personality. Following on the promise of his controversial-but-ubiquitous trance-baiting single “Adrenalin” in 2011, Personality showed off a vibrant new world for Scuba, stretching his legs out into everything from prog house to drum & bass to techno with an arsenal of rich synths and melodies. An album that Pitchfork called “stylishly retro, all coated in a futuristic 2012 sheen.” It’s his most accessible and high-profile release yet, and represents a new chapter in Scuba’s continued climb to the highest echelons of electronic music.