DJ Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 1 Visits Tempe Tonight For UK Thursdays

BBC DJ and EDM tastemaker Mary Anne Hobbs.
BBC DJ and EDM tastemaker Mary Anne Hobbs.
Shaun Bloodworth

Then Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland decided to erupt and everything went to Hell.

Much like Frightened Rabbit and other UK-based performers, Hobbs had to postpone grabbing any jet planes back to her native Britain. So instead of spending three weeks at home before returning to the US for her most recent tour, the 45-year-old suddenly had nothing but time to kill.

There's been a silver lining to the dark clouds of poisonous volcanic gas, however, her extended holiday has allowed her more gigs in cities across North America (including presenting special broadcasts of her BBC show along with LA dubstep DJ crew Low End Theory).

Here's the kicker: The 45-year-old also experienced another dramatic spat in the not-so-friendly skies while flying into LA earlier this week. Thanks to a computer crash coupled with a fuel shortage, the flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Las Vegas. Yikes.

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Its not going to stop her from boarding a plane to Phoenix for her gig tonight at Cherry Lounge in Tempe, where Hobbs will guest star in this week's edition of UK Thursdays. Given her status as one of the world's premier tastemakers of EDM (as well as a longtime proponent and champion of such bass-heavy genres as dubstep and grime), Hobbs is a natural fit for the event and will spend tonight weaving a thumping mix of music alongside such local dubstep aficionados as HavokNDeed.

Phoenix New Times spoke with her earlier this week via telephone about her recent experiences, which you can read about about after the jump.

New Times:I imagine you're not a big fan of Icelandic volcanoes right now.

Mary Anne Hobbs: Actually, I feel very blessed that the volcano went off in the way that it did, because it allowed me a month in this glorious country. I'm probably the luckiest refugee in the world right now. The only slightly tricky bit was the fact that obviously I had thought I was coming in and out of America only for about a day and half to play at Coachella, and then return to the UK for three weeks before this US tour began. So I literally only packed a pair of socks and an iPhone. Now, after four weeks I can't remember all the the times I've moved from various different motels, and people's floors, and tents. It's just been absolutely relentless.

NT: But there's been a bright side to all the hardship, hasn't there?

MAH: It's certainly been an absolutely memorable experience being refugeed over here. I've gotten to play a huge number of extra shows that I wouldn't have done ordinarily and got to visit some cities for the very first that I've never done before. I got to broadcast two Radio 1 shows out of Los Angeles. I did the "Volcano Refugee Party" with Flying Lotus and all his Brainfeeder crew. Then, last week a "City of Angels" special with Matthew David and Daddy Kev and the Low End Theory boys. It's been a pretty special time, just trying to make the most out of an international travel crisis, really, and turn it into something really positive.

NT:So you were already booked to perform in Phoenix before the volcano situation?

MAH: That's correct, and I'm really looking forward to it because I've never been to Phoenix before. It's always really exciting when you first set foot in a new city and you're working with an audience you've never performed for before. Those are always the nights you never forget, the buzz of flying into a new city. On this tour I've been to several places I've never been to before. In the last few days I've played in Atlanta, I've been to Canada. And all of those gigs have been absolutely spectacular.

NT: And it allows you a taste of each city's DJ scene.

MAH: Yeah. In America, every single state I've visited has got an identity all its own [and] a scene all its own. Each one is so completely different. It's always really fascinating to see what's happening locally.

NT: And local DJs probably provide you with their mixes and tracks since you're a major tastemaker?

MAH: Correct, but I've been trying to encourage people to bring music to me on USB sticks rather than CDs, because it's way more practical. I've only got a finite amount of space in my suitcase that I can fill. You tend run out of space for vinyl and CDs very quickly when you're traveling as I do, sorta from city to city every single night. But it's good for your muscle tone dragging all these things halfway across America, that's for sure (laughs).

NT: You're considered to be one of the first champions of dubstep. What does the genre mean to you?

I think it's more of an umbrella term now; it's kinda less specific than it was a few years ago. I think really, dubstep represents a really spirit of freedom of music, it represents globally a lot of what bass music is considered to be.

NT: Why do you think dubstep has become so popular around the world?

MAH: I think, really and truthfully, it's because there are so many different textures of the music, so many different producers working in every corner of the globe and every single artist is drawing in a different set of influences.

NT: Such as?

MAH: Well, at the polar ends of the spectrum you have artists like Distance and like Vexed who are very much inspired by hardcore metal. If you speak to an artist like Distance, he will tell you like System of A Down and Korn are hugely influential in terms of the way he built his bass. Similarly, Vex'd will tell you that they're massively influenced by the likes of Sunn O))) and Mike Patton's more avant-garde band. Then you have others artists, who draw you really deep rich dub textures, people like Coki and Mala from Digital Mystikz. There's almost every conceivable form of influence drawn into the sound, so what you get is a completely multi-textured spectrum of music. There's something for everyone within that spectrum, which is why dubstep as a whole has become so popular.

Mary Anne Hobbs will headline UK Thursdays tonight at Cherry Lounge in Tempe. Local DJs HavocNdeeD, Living Human Being, and Xian1 will also perform. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $10-$20.

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