UK Tech-House Sensation Subb-an Recounts His Breakthrough Year
Over the last twelve months, the young UK native exploded onto the scene out of nowhere and already boasts an auspicious list of credits. Highly-charted releases on top labels like 2020 Vision, Mothership, Crosstown Rebels, and Bpitch Control -- not to mention the launch of his own One Records imprint along with renowned DJ veteran Adam Shelton.
And of course, Subb-an has also jumped headfirst into the international party circuit, rocking dancefloors across Europe as he continues to cement the reputation of his singularly groovy, energetic live sets. He has yet to play North America, however, which is why Miami will get a very memorable experience at the Electric Pickle's free party this Friday night. It's a thank you to all the Pickle's die-hard regulars.
We caught up with Subb-an on the cusp of his Miami debut performance to talk about this year's success, his new label, and his M.O. in the studio.
New Times: 2010 has been a huge year for you, getting your work picked up by top labels and becoming one of the most buzzed-about new artists in the international scene. How long have you been active and what can you tell us about your musical development leading up to this year's success?
Subb-an: It has been an amazing year for sure! I've got some great tracks in the pipeline and have been working on some super projects this year -- a lot to be excited about. I would say I've been 'active' on the scene for a few years now, but behind the scenes. I've been devoting love and time for music for the last 10 years. From my early teens, I've had such a passion for electronic music which has grown over the years to a much broader spectrum ranging from funk and soul, hip-hop, and the very early disco sound.
How did you first hook up with Adam Shelton and what was the idea behind launching One Records?
I met Adam in 2007 at one of his Below warehouse parties. I can remember Ivan Smagghe was playing. Soon after, I became a resident at the night so I started working closely with Adam. As time went on, we felt it was a good idea, as a natural progression, to start the label, based on where we were at the time as artists and the connections and relationships we had built up within the industry to that date.
Do you think making it in the EDM scene depends on who you know?
I think it does help, yes. But at the same time, you only know who you know from getting out there and meeting people. If people like what you do and your persona, then the relations start to build from there. Personally I can remember from the ages of 16 or 17 having advice and support from industry guys. Since that age I've met more and more people and some great friends, that have all helped in some way or another. It's important to realize that EDM needs people to be supporting each other, so we can have great music and great parties. Why else would we do it?
How do you typically approach a track from start to completion, and what is your M.O. in the studio?
It varies from time to time. The obvious is to make the beats and get the groove and then go from there. I do like to work in the way of selecting and making a lot of sounds first to get excited about. And then once I got a good folder, it's time to get stuck into that and making ideas. Other times, it can be nice to get some melodies down first and then write a track and groove around that.
What have been some of the highlights of the year so far and what do you have in store for 2011?
Highlight of the year has to be my gig at the Glastonbury festival. The experience was amazing on a level I can't explain. I was in Berlin for the Bar 25 closing this year, which was very inspirational. Again, it had a similar magical essence to the party in the same way Glastonbury did. A more recent highlight has to be the One Records party at Lo*kee in a disused leather factory in East London with myself, Adam Shelton, and Jozif. When everyone is on a level together, enjoying great music in such an expressive way, you cannot help to get caught up in it. There are a lot of trendy parties where people are not necessarily there for the music. But maybe -- and this shows -- Lo*kee certainly wasn't that!
What can Miami expect during your performance at Electric Pickle?
I will be playing live, so it will be all my forthcoming material and a collection of my sounds over the last year. I like to keep things on an uptempo level.
Subb-an. With Will Renuart, Stravinsky, Patrick Walsh and Special Guests. Friday, November 19. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. Free with RSVP at residentadvisor.net. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-456-5613 or visit electricpicklemiami.com.