Subb-an: "It’s very easy to get stuck in the loop; gigs, crack on and do it again"

Words by: S Roberts
Posted: 10/7/17 10:18

One Records co-creator Subb-an is bringing one of his sought-after sets to Circoloco at DC10 on Monday 10th July.

In 2017 the Berlin based UK DJ has blazed a trail on some of underground house's most respected Berlin labels, most notably with a split release with Daniel Paul from Cab Drivers on the iconic Cabinet Records. His popular One Records imprint has also reached its 7th year, which is being celebrated with a collaborative EP release, with close friend and label co-founder Adam Shelton (ONE 041).

The imprint has served as a flagship UK label for most of its tenure and managed to attract edgier European house/techno acts of the ilk of D’Julz, Point G, Dan Ghenacia and Martin Buttrich. One Records events, born and raised at Birmingham's much loved Rainbow venues, have branched out with label parties around the world and their Off Sonar party has become an essential date in the Barcelona party calendar.

To conclude this year, Subb-an also has material lined up on the super hot Pleasure Zone and Constant Sound labels, and also teams up with Archie Hamilton and Enzo Siragusa, for a hotly anticipated release on FUSE Records..

We caught up with him ahead of Mondays gig.

Ibiza Voice - Subb-an! Thank you for talking to us! So firstly, you've had a really great run of releases this year, how much of a part has your move to Berlin played in that? You shared a studio with Cab Drivers, right?

Subb-an - Berlin has always been an eye opener and was exactly the reason why I decided to move so many years ago. Being in such a wicked culture and surrounded by so many great artists will always be inspiring and has had a massive influence when I play and produce music. Especially from a DJ point of view I always feel the most relaxed when playing in Berlin.

Spending time with Dan from Cab Drivers has been such a great honour for me, such a gentleman and someone who I've always been hugely inspired by. Time in the studio together, as you can imagine, was priceless.

IV - Moving to Berlin isn't easy, some fail and some succeed, what did you do to make your move work? 

SA - I wouldn't say I did anything specific, it comes down to many variables and for a lot of friends I know at the moment, it can be something as simple as finding somewhere stable to live. Like anywhere new it’s not an overnight process. Things take time. You need to see first if it works for you and then it goes from there.

IV -  What's life like in 2017 for a DJ in Berlin? What's good/bad about the scene right now? What's inspiring? What needs changing?

SA - I would say things are very positive, you have so many great parties throughout the year and especially during the summer months. There is something for everyone and as I said earlier, for me personally, I find Berlin one of the more relaxing places to play. No pressure, just play how you feel and the crowd will respect that and go with you.

IV - What's coming next in your release schedule? What gigs are you most excited about this summer? 

SA - Up next in the schedule I have a release on INFUSE followed by a collaboration with Diego Krause forthcoming on Pleasure Zone. Later on in the year I have a release on Constant Sound for good friend Burnski, and finishing the year with a collaboration with Enzo Siraguza and Archie Hamilton for FUSE.

IV - Can you remember the first time you went to DC10? Do enlighten us ahead of your gig at the club on 10th July!

SA - It was around thirteen years ago now, which would have been my first visit to the island, pure madness and it was absolutely amazing. I had no idea what to expect and to be honest I can still say to this day it has to be one of the best venues in the world.

IV - Whats the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?  

It was nearly fifteen years ago now since I knew I wanted to work in the industry, playing and producing music, and it certainly hasn’t happened over night. The hardest thing for me to get where I am today would be firstly breaking through and then establishing myself and my name as an artist and this is becoming more difficult to do nowadays. It seems like the scene is over saturated with artists producing and playing. This could be down to technology, or an influx of interest in electronic music, which is by no means a bad thing. If anything I feel the level of production of the music that gets sent to me is on such a great level. Full vibe!

IV - You've hit a purple patch of releasing on some of the best underground house labels? What's the story behind this?

Mainly building on relationships in an organic way. It was nice how the Cabinet release came about, after spending some time with the guys and them playing for us at our One Records showcases. We started to share music back and forth and a release came out of it, for me its one of my favourite labels and a label I respect massively, so a huge achievement for sure. 

IV - Releasing on underground music for vinyl labels is a lot tougher than making mainstream dance music, is it a more difficult decision to stick to your guns and the music you believe in?  

With any comparison in the music industry I think to be at the top of your game you must have to be doing a certain amount of graft or have been around for some time. Obviously of course there are certain exceptions, but on the whole most established acts underground or overground have been doing what they do for a long time. Personally it comes down to what makes you happy. Over the years I’ve learnt to just crack on with what you do and not get caught up in anything negative that in reality doesn’t interest you. When it comes down to it, if people are dancing and letting off energy through music, does it matter what music it is?

IV - Being a DJ must be character building…the uncertain future of not having a 9 to 5 or a pension? The physical and mental toll of touring? How do you stay grounded?

There are many up and downs with this lifestyle, the main thing being lack of sleep, which essentially affects everything and leads to poor decision making. Normally eating shit food and getting moody! However, I try not to talk about this side of the lifestyle too much, I’m not sure if it’s something people want to hear! For me, this is part of the job and the great life I lead. The thing that keeps me level headed is a good diet and regular fitness, (although it can’t always be done) for me this is paramount not only in what I do but in life. Number two would be being around the right people. This is so important and invaluable, without this you are nothing. I’m also a huge list maker, I have lists everywhere, my phone, my computer, my diary, on the fridge and in the studio, keeps me in check and in some ways makes you feel like your making some progress. It’s very easy with this job to get stuck in the loop, go to gigs, crack on, party, rest and do it again, it’s almost as mundane as the ‘eat, sleep, rave, repeat’  song!


Mr. G
Steve Bug