Sub Zero: Channelling The Beast
The formidable Sub Zero has constructed something equal parts clinically brutal, deceptively soulful and always-intriguing in the form of the Inside The Beast ep on Playaz, featuring guests DJ Limited, vocalist Lucy Kitchen… and did we mention the wump bass?
Sub Zero, hi: what are you doing right now?
I’m sat on a train heading to London to meet my girl then we’re going Paris for a few days. I’m DJing there soon so we’re making a little weekend out of it.
2015’s going by rather quickly I’m feeling, how’s it been for you?
2015 has flown by, it’s crazy. It’s been a great year so far. It’s amazing travelling the world and playing music you love but you can’t beat the UK scene as it’s always so fresh here and it’s thriving right now, so many different cities have great scenes and events going on.
What’s been some highlights?
I guess a good highlight would be my event Sub Zero and Friends in Kettering which I did with my good mate Intense. We had the Prototypes, Cyantific, Skibba, Original Sin, Limited and Evil B! The place was absolutely rammed completely sold out and was just a great night.
I guess the other highlight would be finishing Inside The Beast and getting to see people’s reaction to the tunes that I’ve spent a long time slaving over ha ha, so that’s been really great.
About the ep: got to talk about ‘Straight In’, what a killer, love that step, when did the tune come about?
‘Straight In’ was a funny one. I think I wrote it about a year and a half ago at least and it sat on my hard drive for a few months before I thought You know what? this tune is kinda cool, I should play it. Ha ha.
And I did and it worked and continued to work and gather momentum which was really cool.
Some tunes grow and some just kinda fizzle out but this seems to get stronger the more it gets played and people get to know it. Which, as a producer, is always a great feeling especially when you consider that the tune sat dormant at one stage.
You mentioned DJ Limited, can you discuss working with him on ‘Time Traveller’? Beautiful sample on that, contrasted with some of the filthiest bass ever!
I’ve been a big fan of Limited for some time now ever since I heard his track ‘The Shuttle Skank’…
We just have a mutual love of D&B and talked about making a track together and after some time it eventually happened: ‘Time Traveller’ was the result. It came about very quickly: we sent it back and forth and it was done.
Speaking of time travelling, what point in time would you travel to?
Well I’m kinda fascinated with history but I think we’re very lucky to be living in the age we do. If I was to pick a time I guess maybe it would be amazing to go back to ancient Rome and even when the pyramids were being built.
Or even just go back to London in the 60s and see the Stones and Jimi Hendrix play.
When did ‘Hearts On Fire’ with Lucy Kitchen come about? It’s a wicked tune, you must be proud of how all the elements come together here.
I basically heard another track by Lucy and just Wow she’s amazing. She’s not your typical dance music singer: she’s got a real folk-style voice and I thought it would be great to do some thing with her.
So I tracked her down and asked if she would be up for writing a song with me and she said Yes.
I’m really pleased how the track came out and we spent a lot of time trying to get that really emotive sound for it. It’s a really deep tune and I love making stuff like this.
We’re already working on more material.
Tell us about ‘Something For The Weekend’? I love those strings…
‘Something For The Weekend’ is a real ‘Sub Zero’ tune: really has my signature sound and that classic wump bass that I just love.
I had a lot of fun writing it. I’m not even sure where the intro strings came from but they seemed to create this awesome tension, kinda ‘something heavy is gonna happen soon’ vibe.
It always works really well in my sets as it’s a real DJ-friendly tune with a quick 16 bar intro. It mixes well in the set.
What do you particularly like to draw in your sets, what styles and artists?
I love to play a full spectrum of D&B in my sets. Although I like high-energy, heavyweight, hard-hitting tunes to make people really go for it.
So you can expect to hear anything from Guv and Majistrate to Mefjus and Noisia in my sets. Whatever works and I like.
I just love DJing and I love mixing a love putting two tunes together that no one would think would work.
I really buzz off that: making a vibe out of crazy D&B tunes.
Overall what went into the vision of Inside The Beast… what’s the ‘beast’ in question?
The vision for the ep was just to get a really cool collection of solid tunes together and to try and cover a few angles of D&B within it. The ‘beast’ just comes from the title track: something dark and heavy so the name just kinda fitted.
So what’s some advice you’d give someone venturing into D&B?
Advice I’d give to upcoming DJs and producers would be just this: hard work and dedication!
That’s it really: just work really enjoy what you do and believe in yourself… with modesty.
Listen to other peoples’ feedback and opinions and expect that sometimes you can get things wrong and WILL get things wrong and struggle but that’s all part of learning and devopling yourself as an artist.
But practice makes perfect and that is just so true.
Just wanted to know, what would we find under the ‘hobbies & interests’ section in your life, what do you like doing outside of touring and making beats?
Music does tend to take up a lot of time but I guess when I’m not making music or playing it I like to go the gym and I try and do this at least three or four times a week. Movies, good food. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary to be honest…
Summer looms so what can we expect from you?
Lots more DJing, plenty of festivals… Ibiza, maybe America and Australia too!
Sub Zero images by Chelone Wolf
Inside The Beast