When Ashique Subhan first heard the late night beats of Radio 1 beaming into his adolescent bedroom he knew there was no turning back. At a mere 23 years of age, following his decisive turn into music, taking sound design at college and summers spent in Ibiza’s DC10 Subb-an is an key player in the UK born party crew that are currently taking the house music world by storm and is the focus of our blog takeover this week - Hot Natured.
Here we speak to Subb-an in depth about his story from beginning to end and how the weird and wonderful sounds of Kerrier District spurred him onto create his own disco driven dance music.
What’s your own history with electronic music—how did you discover it and how did you come to start making it?
I was exposed to electronic music around the age of eleven or twelve through the radio, mainly the late night Essential Selections on Radio 1. I really can't say that there was an exact pivotal point in discovering electronic music. Finding the music and enjoying it was a really organic and natural progression over time in which I discovered genres myself through certain portals like the radio and TV. I never had anyone passing music on to me.
I bought turntables at the age of twelve… I only knew of the existence of these and what they were used for via a friend who had a pair himself, but he mixed hip-hop. My first pair were belt driven and cost £100 which I guess was a cheap deal but you get what you pay for, which was a pony pair of turntables that were very hard to learn on... I eventually got there after 2 years of self-teaching.
You enrolled on a digital music production course at the age of sixteen and went on to graduate with a top degree in sound design from Birmingham City Uni in 2009….What is it about sound design that inspires you so much?
I knew music and being some form of an artist was what I wanted from a very young age. I could really express myself through these channels and something really resonated through me when I discovered music, vinyl and turntables. So by 16 I was at my first crossroads in my life, which was to pursue my original interest in the motor industry or go to college and study sound. It was my gut feeling to go with that so I did, and I have always been in that mind set, to go with your gut feeling and be confident and happy about it, other wise why are you doing it…?
Drawing on sound design, this is something I've developed in the last two years as I've matured musically and technically. I've always loved electronic music but at the start it was just a case of being able to make something, whether that sounded good or bad. Now things are a bit more advanced I really crave amazing sound design in music I hear and my own music. I always enjoy music from artists like James Teej, Morgan Geist and Kerrier District for this reason. Check out the Morgan Geist remix below, the sounds in this drive me insane...
Do you DJ, play live, or both? What are your sets like?
I play both although I am probably known more as a live act, however am getting booked to DJ a lot too. Live is all my own productions so if you know my sound then you will know its up-tempo and very dance-floor, but got some soul and swing to it.
What are your 3 killer tracks guaranteed to shake the dancefloor?
As I DJ I like to play up and down in my style, taking people from pacey groove driven tracks down to more sleazy, sinister style tracks. I always like to have fun and interact with the crowd but musically it has to have backbone and groove and great sounds, to give you an idea these are three tracks I LOVE to play....
Shlomi Aber ‘The Majestic / Glooming’ [Objektivity]
Masomenos ‘Barbie Touriste'
James Teej ‘Anything Right’
What can people expect from the Hot Natured takeover of Room 3 next Saturday?
A great party, Richy always knows how to bring it and we have a great following in London so I think it could get out of hand in the third room. With it being an intimate room I know that it will be perfect for us to do our thing in there. My live show worked well at The Electric Pickle in Miami which is sort of a similar size so it will be perfect for room 3 as I can tailor it for a smaller or bigger room, but on a whole the night will be some seriously heavy beats with a welcoming party element.
How important is the freedom of self-expression at the Hot Natured parties and how do you connect to its music philosophy?
I really like what Jamie, Lee and Richy do, they get the balance of songs and tracks right and through this people can and do express themselves, which of course, is pretty crucial at any party.
Can you tell us some of your favourite tales from the Hot Natured raves so far…?
Dancing on the tables like a looney at The Electric Pickle in Miami at 11 am on a Monday morning therefore missing my flight back to the UK a couple of weeks ago...
How do you plan to make 2011 a defining year? What upcoming releases & parties do you have in the pipeline and what are your summer takeover plans?
Productions wise I have a new 2020 release with Adam Shelton which is out this month, followed by a solo release on Tsuba in May and then I have a great project with a female artist from L.A. which featured two tracks that fall in June on Crosstown Rebels. Aside from those I’m working on more tracks for Spectral Sound with Beckford and also some new bits for Culprit for later in the year. Me and Adam [Shelton] also work on a project called S.A.S (Subb-an and Shelton) in which we have another EP for Matt Tolfrey's Foot & Mouth label plus a release for Jamie Jones’ Hot Re-Rubs and some remixes and extra edits that hit around summer. There is also a lot of great music on mine and Adam’s label; One Records, from artists Kris Wadsworth, Clive Henry, Hector, Rob Mello, Alex Arnout, Burnski, and Jozif that are all due over the next 6 months.
Events wise, we have some great label parties confirmed at Sonar and Space through the summer. Below is back for the summer too, in Birmingham we are doing 6/7 parties with the following confirmed artists: Jef K, Rob Mello, Jozif, Alex Arnout, Tale Of Ss, Dyed Soundorom, Jordan Peak, Chris Duckenfield, Argy, and Craig Richards. The main thing on my horizon at present though is the fact that I’m moving to Berlin in May for the summer, which I’m really excited about…The main date I’m looking forward to is closing the WOW dance tent at Glastonbury on the Friday night with Beckford. We will be doing a live set especially for this which should be one of our standout gigs of the summer.
Subb-an & Adam Shelton ‘Feel So Real’ is out now on 2020 Vision.