Dubstar

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Dubstar
Blackwood10.jpg
Sarah Blackwood, Dubstar vocalist
Background information
Origin Newcastle-upon-Tyne
England
Genres
Years active 1992–present
Labels Food
Associated acts Technique, Client
Website www.dubstarofficial.com
Members

Dubstar are an English band,[1] performing mostly dream pop and indie dance music, as well as occasional pop ballads and, on later releases, guitar-heavy rock with an industrial influence. The group was formed in 1992 by Steve Hillier and Chris Wilkie in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Sarah Blackwood joined in 1993, replacing Hillier on vocals.

"Stars", the best-selling single by Dubstar, received a wide variety of play time in clubs. Many remixes were also created of this song and it was covered by metal band Lacuna Coil on their 2000 EP Halflife. "Stars" allowed Dubstar to achieve American recognition.

Career[edit]

Formerly known as The Joans, Dubstar were initially a two piece band, with Chris Wilkie playing guitar and Steve Hillier singing and playing keyboards. Gavin Lee joined The Joans in the Autumn of 1992 and played drums and, later, bass guitar before leaving to pursue a career at British Airways the following year. Performance artist and musician, Mark Greenwood[2] also played bass in the The Joans for a number gigs in the summer of 1992. Sarah Blackwood was invited to join the band in August 1993 after her boyfriend accidentally left a cassette tape of her singing in Steve Hillier's flat in Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Blackwood replaced Hillier on vocals in early 1994, though he remained a key member of the group.

Dubstar appointed Darlington based record producer and talent manager Graeme Robinson as their manager after Robinson had seen them play in a sparsely attended Newcastle club in March 1994. Robinson renamed the band and provided studio time and produced independent demos of seventeen songs which he brought to the attention of former Sounds journalist, Andy Ross, who promptly signed the band to his Camden based label, Food Records. Ross engaged the services of Pet Shop Boys and New Order producer Stephen Hague to co-produce a number of tracks with Robinson for their critically acclaimed debut album Disgraceful (1995), and commissioned an advertising campaign featuring Robert Steel's controversial "pencil case vulva" artwork.

The album charted well on release in July 1995, and by January 1996 Dubstar had arrived in the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart with "Not So Manic Now";[3](originally recorded by Brick Supply) followed by a re-released "Stars" which marked Dubstar's UK chart zenith. Hague produced a second album, Goodbye (1997), in his upstate New York barn studio. A US album release (also called Goodbye) on Polydor Records, combining tracks from both the first and second albums, also emerged in 1998. The third original Dubstar album, Make It Better, was released in 2000, with EMI releasing a 'Best of' compilation in 2004.

Blackwood joined the band Technique to replace Xan Tyler as singer for a European tour with Depeche Mode in 2002. Shortly afterwards, Kate Holmes, the other member of the band, and Blackwood decided to write together and formed the new group Client.

Posts in 2008 on their official Myspace page stated that the recording of their fourth album was underway.[4] However, in November 2008 they made a post to their Facebook group stating that Blackwood would not participate, and the future of the album was up in the air.[5] Blackwood and Wilkie have worked together in the interim, as Blackwood's first solo album, 2008's Acoustic at the Club Bar & Dining, features Wilkie on guitar; the seven-track live recording was released exclusively online, and consists of acoustic versions of Dubstar and Client songs, plus covers of tracks by The Smiths and New Order.

On 12 April 2010, the band released a cover version of "I'm in Love with a German Film Star" for an Amnesty International project. Interviewed by Andrew Collins on BBC 6 Music that afternoon, Blackwood confirmed that the band were back together and would be going into studio to record tracks for a new Dubstar album, although she would continue to also record with Client. However, in December 2010, it was announced that Blackwood had left Client and a new member was being recruited to front the band.

Personnel[edit]

Stevo Pearce managed the band after Graeme Robinson, during the years 1997 and 1998.

Discography[edit]

Dubstar discography
Releases
Studio albums 3
Compilation albums 1
EPs 1
Singles 9

The discography of Dubstar consists of three studio albums, a compilation album, an extended play, nine singles and six songs exclusive to compilation and soundtrack albums. All of the group's work was released by Food Records with the exception of their compilation album which was released by EMI alone, due to the closure of Food Records in 2001.

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title UK
[6] [3]
Certifications
(sales thresholds)
1995 Disgraceful
  • Label: Food Records/EMI
  • Released: October 1995
  • Notes: re-released with bonus remix disc 1996
30
1997 Goodbye
  • Label: Food Records/EMI
  • Released: October 1997
18
2000 Make It Better
  • Label: Food Records/EMI
  • Released: August 2000
112[7]

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

The following singles were released in the UK by Dubstar, via Food Records:

Year Single UK
[6][3]
Album
1995 "Stars" 40 Disgraceful
"Anywhere" 37
"Not So Manic Now" 18
1996 "Stars" (re-release) 15
"Elevator Song" 25
1997 "No More Talk" 20 Goodbye
"Cathedral Park" 41
1998 "I Will Be Your Girlfriend" 28
2000 "I (Friday Night)" 37 Make It Better

Extended plays[edit]

  • The Self Same Thing (2000, Food/EMI)[3] (chart-ineligible EP)

Exclusive songs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Note: An American indie hip-hop artist has released some tracks and video via the Internet under the name "Dubstar", but is not connected to the band in any way.
  2. ^ Mark Greenwood Official site
  3. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 172. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "dubstar.com". Dubstar. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  5. ^ Dubstar's Notes Facebook "Sarah has now decided (at the 11th hour) to not do anything with Dubstar and to concentrate on Client. [..] Chris and Steve [..] are currently figuring out how to move forward through all of this".
  6. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - Dubstar". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 
  7. ^ "UK Chartlog - 1994–2010 Asher D – Dyverse". zobbel.de. Retrieved 2015-07-07. 

External links[edit]