About 9 months after my initial Tweet saying “trench still sounds cooler than riddim tbh”, and my blog article detailing my suggestion for a potential name change, I wanted to take another look at the topic and reflect on the state of “Trench” as a name for the sub-genre.
I took the name change seriously initially because there was an overwhelmingly positive response to my Tweets. This response led me to the conclusion that the majority of fans and artists of the genre were in favor of the change, when in reality the polls and Tweet responses were biased since a considerable number of people who saw them were my own followers, and therefore not necessarily representing the scene as a whole.
That being said, I believe accusations towards me of claiming authority and deciding for everyone were not justified. Even though I was initially joking about how “Riddim is now called Trench”, the article on my website was carefully worded as a suggestion rather than a decision made for everyone involved.
There are a few things I want to address that didn’t go as expected, or that I didn’t foresee.
One of the goals of the new name was to alleviate some confusion about what defines the sub-genre and what differentiates it from Dubstep. However, since there were (understandably) many people who didn’t agree with changing the name, there were now two names with overlapping definitions, which may in some cases have created additional confusion. Occasionally, I have been confused myself about whether to only refer to the more modern sound as “Trench”, or also to the early tracks of the style, so sometimes I was struggling to communicate efficiently because I wanted to avoid the term “Riddim” at all cost.
I think the best course of action in either case may be to educate—in a respectful, well-intended, non-elitist fashion—about what defines a genre in our personal opinions; in an effort to categorize for the purpose of making it easier to find similar music and like-minded people.
Division, Opposition, Anger
Although I wanted to avoid creating a divide within the scene (as stated in my blog post), in some cases I did see people emotionally fighting for their “side”. Occasionally, people would attack those using the name “Trench”, which, I think, is completely inappropriate, but should still be acknowledged as an adverse effect of the change.
Cultural Appropriation? Suitable Name?
Another issue I had brought up originally was that the genre name stemmed from the patois word for “Rhythm”. Reflecting on this, I haven’t heard from Jamaicans about whether they feel like using the word for the Dubstep sub-genre name is cultural appropriation. But purely in terms of whether the name is suitable; after hearing the arguments of people favoring the name “Riddim”, I do agree that one of the genre’s defining characteristics is its unique rhythm, so something related to it is an obvious choice for the name.
I was also accused of having been one of the advocates of the name “Riddim” when it first came up, and I will say that this is true. At the time, I thought having a name for the sub-genre in general was a good thing, so I supported it. I believe I’m allowed to reflect on my past actions and change my mind based on new knowledge and experiences.
I’ve been enjoying using the term Trench for my music. I think that the name is fitting for the modern sound that is still focused on flow, but uses a mixdown much closer to heavier styles of Dubstep; similarly to how Getter originally intended the usage of the name. It’s been fun to think about what defines the genre in my eyes, and through that, to once again realize what a wide range of styles there is within the genre of Dubstep.
The Future / Conclusion
I am undecided about what I’m going to call my own music in the future. However, I will stop avoiding the term “Riddim”, and use it when I feel like it helps when communicating with others. I’m sure some people might perceive this as a form of betrayal, or an admission of failure, to which I can only say: First, I really appreciate those of you who have been believing in the vision, but I too am human, and there are things I’m not able to foresee. As I said: I believe it should be acceptable to change our minds as we live life and grow. Secondly, the name change was meant as a suggestion, not a rule. So, naturally, everyone (myself included) can decide what they want to do. I appreciate those of you who have been respectful and who have been approaching the topic with an open mind, ready for conversation and debate!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so please feel free to drop a comment below.
Christian / INFEKT