Our latest artist interview features Subandrio who has a brand new track out now on the Perspectives Digital WMC Sampler.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I am a valentines child running on 33, been living in Dubai for a little over a decade. I started DJ’in at the age of 15. Got introduced to producing/remixing around 1998
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
Both my parents had a touring band that graced the European club circuit, traveling across Germany, Switzerland and France (1982-94). It might seem weird to many a mind but for my brother, cousin and me it was the norm. Our hide and seek realm was the nightclub, and every month a new one at that. With the band we were blessed to hear genres ranging from funk, soul and jazz and then the DJ with an eclectic selection of music. The club is still my playground and what keeps me wanting more. My first encounter with dance music was ‘French Kiss by Lil’ Louis’ and I was 7 years I believe. A sweet childhood memory, explicit on many levels, but nevertheless that’s where I fell in love with repetitious riffs.
3. You’ve been a DJ for quite a while and have even won two awards in Dubai, how does the nightlife there compare to other places you’ve travelled to?
I was fortunate to win the Palme DJ of the year in 2009 and in 2013 Pioneer Middle east DJ of the year which was super cool. Definitely helped me propel my career as a DJ.
Compared to the likes of Berlin, Argentina or Detroit, I’d have to say the dxb scene is at its infancy but certainly a picturesque place to be at with super positive vibes. At the moment there are over 1500 outlets clocked so there is a massive filtration process to gather the cream of the crop. When I first moved here radio BS was predominant. Thankfully things are changing towards a sacred direction, hats off to a hand full of venues, nights and DJ superheroes fighting the good fight. It’s a marvellous time to be here, especially witnessing this beautiful change.
4. So you’ve only had three releases out but you’ve already got quite a loyal following and your recent EP for Cid Inc’s Replug Records was very close to the Beatport Top 10 if I’m memory serves, is there anything you can attribute this quick success to?
For a long time I dropping my productions at my sets to try out, wasn’t really over the moon with the outcome and reactions I was receiving. I felt as much as there was a good output in quantity of production, the quality wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, better then my last release on ‘Lowbit’. Sending me back to the drawing board with a writer’s block. Patrick Carrera aka MUUI no stranger to the industry, has played an integral part in helping me sculpt the sound I wanted. Finally when I felt it was there I passed over my music to peers across and accepted all the critique as constructive helping me form the sound.
I’ve been mastering tracks with CID inc for a while now and amongst the many batches I sent across, three tracks stood out as a perfect fit to Replug. The ‘Fractured Moment’ EP was released exactly one year after my first release. Ironically the 3 tracks were made one after the other after a fractured moment in time. Most definitely a story for another time. I am forever grateful for everyone’s support and love.
5. Your latest original ‘Twisted Dimension’ is out this week on the Perspective Digital ‘WMC Sampler’, the track has already been played and charted by Hernan Cattaneo, tell us a bit about it and how did it end up on Perspectives? And the backing of one of the world’s biggest DJs must feel good?
I first got introduced to Darin and his unique sound after he won the Bedrock mix competition. Darin is an amazing person, super talented and a trait you can’t go wrong with down to earth. He has been one of the guys I’ve been sending tracks to for a while, always down for strait up constructive criticism. Twisted Dimensions was a perfect fit to what Darin was looking for the WMC release and it clicked. To have maestro Hernan Cattaneo drop my tunes and chart it has helped me tick one off my bucket list. A true dream comes true.
6. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Honestly I believe the best way is to watch and learn. Once you get the concept its all about figuring out how do I get this done… experimenting… If you have the hunger then there is an abundance of knowledge to be found for free thanks to the Google guru. When you have the hunger teaching your self is a walk in the park. With the internet boom there was way more avenues opening and every single question had an answer. And with every answer came more questions… I was like ‘I wonder if I can do this…. Better ask the Guru!.
Growing up my dad taught me how to rig a complete band system, which was a superb start off platform to begin with. The simplified routing of identifying the source, destination and final outcome of the manipulated sound was all I needed to kick-start. Amongst the gear the ‘Jupiter 8, Juno 106 and Oberheim OB-8’ were my favourites.
I first got introduced to a production DAW in the form of Multiquence and Goldwave which was super simple and only 900kb in size. From there onwards curiosity got the best of me and I haven’t been able to stop since then. I hopped from one DAW to the next and in all of them I found and learnt something new bouncing from cakewalk, Cubase, Nuendo, fruityloops, reason, logic until finally found the flexibility I was searching for in the form of grand master ‘Ableton’.
7. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
My production process takes 3 forms or methods, The Wordlist, tune in head and last but not least ‘messing around’ . I find the first method most fruitful. Especially if its relevant to an emotion or a moment in time. After all music is the timeline to your life, and what better way to write it than in as poetry made of sound. I have a wordlist book of interesting words, phrases and ideas of random conversations I have with peeps. In this instance, I use these words and try to resonate them by using the frequency spectrum to color. The hardest thing is my ‘DAY TEST’. After I have the main section of a minute complete I play it on loop the whole day. If I get bored then I alter it till I can listen to it nonstop. It’s a habit I picked up making music for my Flash websites back in the day. The internet bandwidth was 56k so the music had size constraints and had to loop an infinity amount of times and not be boring.
There onwards even though it’s the make or break of the track, it’s the easiest part. Copy the 1 minute across6-9 minutes and subtract layers and elements. It’s the fastest way to get a track done. Thereafter filling with the extras where you feel the track has lost substance or needs direction or oomph!
When I have a creative block I usually read Sci-fi books. Picturing soundtracks for what you read is a super good jumpstart.
8. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
I really am a workaholic and cant switch off. During the day I am an art director for an advertising agency, so kind of gets hectic but perfect for ideas as the environment is an impeccable creative hub, and you can never go wrong by drawing a portrait in the form of music to what you see. I design a whole heap of website, direct videos and 3D. So its always vibrant colors in the form of graphics and coding with music in the background. I split my day in 2 one as the art director and the second part in the night producing music.
9. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
I love classical, jazz, funk and soul. Takes me back to my roots. Fourplay has been a staple inspiration for me. Their music is just beyond!
10. Aside from the Perspectives appearance what else can we expect in 2015, what are you working on now?
I found myself making loads of harder side of techno. Seeing as such a waste I created an alias project ‘THE BOT’ (Bot =Birth Of Techno). I have 2 single releases on Disclosure UK the next couple of months and mid this year a collaboration album with my super talented brother from another mother Ejaz On Omid 16B’s label. As Subandrio, I just sent a batch of a dozen tracks across to CID inc Mastering, I am super excited about this bunch. 4 tracks will be released on my new label later this year, the others on some dope labels that have been making pleasant noise for countless ears. Last but not least a heap of remixes. Am especially excited about a remix I just finished for ‘Qoob’ something to look out for .
11. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I sleep 4 hours a day. Sometimes not at all running on zombie mode 😉
12. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
Learning the art has been a beautiful journey. Having made music of diverse genres for the sake of learning for such a long period, I found myself, lost amidst in no man’s land. I pretty much broke myself to parts much like a turntabalist or drummer would.
I found myself once again by collecting every little thing that I liked from each genre to build what I liked. Before I know it I was happy with what I had created. The best advice I can give is share knowledge, give as much as you can… the universe will give you back in abundance, accept criticism even if it is from a hater there is some truth in what they say, after all the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Last but most important of all, BELIEVE IN YOUR SELF, AND DON’T GIVE UP!
‘Twisted Dimension’ is out now on Perspectives Digital, you can purchase the release: here