Forward thinking talent, Subb-an gives his take on the underground house scene…
Subb-an has been pathing his way through the underground house scene releasing cool cutting edge music alongside Kiki, Adam Shelton and Santos Resiak, plus a string on remixes for people like Kiki, 2020SoundSystem and Manuel De Lorenzi. It seems that Subb-an’s productions has been showing up on the Crosstown Rebels’ radar and lead to the release of what can only be described as a deep, soulful, mood setting piece featuring Anomaly Jones.
Inlight of Subb-an’s latest release on Crosstown Rebel’s, Guerilla Sounds took the opportunity to probe Subb-an about his work with Crosstown Rebels and his place in the music scene…
How did you first get involved in music?
For me, it was mainly radio then I progressed onto music magazines and record stores. It was before the Internet had really taken off and finding music through the radio was how I started to get a basic knowledge that soon evolved.
How did your involvement with Crosstown Rebels come about?
I met Damian three to four years ago when he invited me down to London for a chat, over the years my production matured more and I started to play out more. I was then taken on by The Rebel Agency and I worked on making an EP for the label and a Rebel Podcast. I knew a few of the guys on the agency and it was all within the same circles so it was a more organic process when the time was right.
Your latest release “Misleading” is a real testament to a forward thinking sound, where did you get your inspiration from?
I found the vocals first which inspired the whole setting and mood for the track, and its definitely moody. Her voice is deep, sexy and soulful and soon as I heard it I fell in love with it. The lyrics are deep and I wanted to create and produce something to reflect that so I used a deep bass, a lot of reverb and some synths that cut right through in the club. I wanted something that in a club environment really catches you but still has the drive to make you want to dance like crazy. The reverb moves around the club so really excite things.
The so called, “new house sound” that people are talking about, do you really think it’s new, or that it has been around for a long time but dance floors have just become more open to hearing sets that cross genres and boundaries and so it’s become more popular?
I don’t think its new no. It’s more an adaptation of sounds and genres that have been around for years. I do agree people are more open-minded but I think that has come with how strong the house, techno and electronic scene has become. Its a lot bigger now so there’s more scope to try new things and more audience to appreciate it.
Why do you think this change in attitude has come about and how has this new ‘openness’ impacted the way you play, if at all?
As I said before I think a lot of it is down to there being a much bigger audience. I can certainly try new things; if anything I mainly notice that not every gig is the same. One night you can see the crowd is completely different to the last night. It’s important to have your style and sound but you need to be able to cater in different environments, things move fast but you need to stay true to what you play.
This is an exciting point in time in the evolution of electronic music, the sound that is becoming prevalent is crossing age boundaries, you go out and you can’t predict the kind of set you’re going to hear, tracks are generally a lot more interesting and although they’ve been around for a long time already, a new ‘core’ of DJs pushing this sound has come to the forefront, not least the Crosstown boys – do you share this enthusiasm and how does it feel to be labelled as one of those people?
I would say for me personally, I just enjoy what I’m doing. There has been a big transition over the last few years whether it’s for the good or whether its for the bad time will only tell. I think its good that there is a lot more music but it comes with drawbacks such as too much sometimes, and this can reflect in the quality of music. However I’m a massive supporter of great, well produced music and people moving forward
Whereas DJs used to be able to make money from releasing mix CDs, club mixes are all over the net and by the time a mix gets into the shops people have been listening to the tunes for months, possibly up to a year. Damian Lazarus recently talked about the release of a new Maceo Plex track having to be brought forward and a new edit even made due to it being ripped and so many already having a copy. How do you think the commercial challenges can be addressed?
Well these things are important, and things have changed a lot. These things can be sorted but just by finding new solutions. I was talking to someone the other day about how much I used to love buying a double pack compilation CD, it was great and it’s a shame this has been lost. You can still get them, for instance Dan Ghenacia’s ‘Sound of Paris’ is amazing, but the whole download culture has lost that specialness of the CD compilation
In what ways do you think UK clubs are different to how they were say 5 – 10 years ago and what is your favourite club to go to as a punter?
Hard to say really, I’ve only been in clubs for 5 years, so have no idea what they were like 10 years ago. The main thing I notice is that there are a lot of smaller parties in ‘spaces’ not nightclubs. But it’s hard for me to say. When I went out years ago I went to big clubs and I reckon these are still the same. My favourite places to go to at the minute have to be Half Baked in London, Katerhaltz in Berlin, DC10 on the right parties and Panorama Bar again on the right parties.
What direction do your want your music to take in the future?
You will find that out when you hear it
Is there anyone in particular you would really like to work with?
Oooh, loads of people. Here are a few: Martin Buttrich, Tom Trago, Jamie Woon, Morgan Geist, The Whitest Boy Alive and Hercules & Love Affair.
What do you have planned in the near future?
I’ve just done a new release for Silver Network and Saved. I’m also working on remixes for James Teej’s label, something for Maceo Plex and a remix for Get Physical. I’ve got some amazing new releases on One Records from artists such as, Chris Carrier, Ahmet Sisman, Nico Las, Yakine, Jef K. Also a tour coming up in America in November/December featuring some Rebel Rave events and summer dates at Kehakuma at Space, Cocoon Frankfurt, the new Bar 25, Watergate, and Sankeys.
Interview: Adam Fleckney
26 Aug @ Limetree Festival, North Yorkshire, England
27 Aug @ Powder Your Nose, London, England
28 Aug @ Below, Birmingham, England
03 Sep @ Substanz Underground, Glasgow, Scotland
10 Sep @ Festival De Energias Renovables, Gran Canaria
14 Sep @ Sankeys, Ibiza, Spain
16 Sep @ Watergate, Berlin, Germany
17 Sep @ Upgrade, La Ruche, Lausanne, Switzerland
23 Sep @ KaterHolzig, Berlin, Germany
24 Sep @ Connected, London, England
30 Sep @ Them Good Stuffs, Dublin, Ireland
01 Oct @ Be Cool, Barcelona, Spain
07 Oct @ Cirque Bonheir, Paris, France
08 Oct @ Harry Klein, Munich, Germany
15 Oct @ Double Trouble Vision, London, England
21 Oct @ Souloco, Edinburgh, Scotland
22 Oct @ Efir Club, St. Petersburg, Russia
29 Oct @ Below, Birmingham, England