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Sub Focus: It's exciting to control people's visual and auditory experience

We grab five minutes with the mighty Sub Focus ahead of a jam packed summer season to grill him about where it all began, the success of his live show and possible future collaborations.

Jimmy Coultas

Date published: 2nd Jul 2014

Electronic music has been evolving at an exponential rate of late, with the lines between genres and styles gradually being eroded by a generation of producers hellbent on creating exciting dance music hybrids, resulting in a scene that continues to explore uncharted new territories.

One producer at the forefront of this evolution is Sub Focus, whose dalliances with everything from jungle to house have earmarked him as a true creative force, unhindered by genre confines.

Now one of the most in demand electronic producers in the world, this summer alone sees his skills called in for festivals like Global Gathering, Exit Festival, The Secret Garden Party and V Fest.

He's headlining a very special show Desperados Verde are putting on in London on Thursday 3rd July, helping launch the new drink in the UK which combines their tequila flavoured beer with a sharp burst of lime and mint.

We caught up with the mercurial producer ahead of his Desperados Verde headline slot to find out where it all started, and what lies ahead.

Thanks for speaking to us! We understand you're rocking an exclusive party for Desperados Verde on Thursday 3rd July. You feeling up for it?

Giving fans an epic night out is always top of my agenda. The Desperados Verde Twisted Mission is going to be an unforgettable party so I’m delighted to announce I’ll be headlining.

Alongside that you’ve got a very busy summer schedule coming up. Where are you particularly excited about playing?

I generally get most excited about playing places I haven’t done before. Hard Festival in LA and Tommorowland in Belgium are two new places for me this summer, but I’m also looking forward to play a bunch of others.

I love playing my residency at Amnesia in Ibiza. Exit in Serbia and Secret Garden Party in the UK spring to mind.

You’ll be heading up the Radio 1xtra stage at this year’s Global Gathering. Do you approach festivals differently to your other shows? What can we expect from your set there?

Yeah I play slightly differently in different venues for sure. Generally speaking I will play slightly deeper and more intricate tunes in a club setting and I will play bigger more well known stuff at festivals but it really depends on the place and the crowd’s reaction to different tracks. I normally feel it out and change as I go along during every set I play.

What has been the reaction to your live show? Do you think with the rise of pre-programmed, sync ­buttoned DJ sets that people are connecting on a greater level to live electronic music?

Not necessarily no, but the reaction to the show has been really good so far. I wanted to emulate the type of live shows of the groups that had inspired me growing up like Daft Punk and Chemical Brothers, but with my style of music.

It’s exciting for me to control both people’s visual and auditory experience when they come to see the show, not just the music.

Your most recent work seems to involve a lot of varied influences. Do you set to to make a drum n bass track, or a house tune, or does it just kind of happen?

I felt a bit trapped making one genre of music when I started out so I started to branch out a few years ago. Especially now as I play live sets of only my music it’s important to give people a varied experience not just at one tempo.

I normally have a pretty good idea of what I’m making before I start a track, like with Torus, the title track from my album, the initial idea was to write a slow intro track for the start of my live sets.

What were your early influences? Was there a track you heard, DJ you saw or night you went to that made you realise you were going to pursue electronic music?

Yeah there are lots I can remember and there a few that I’ve talked a lot already, tracks like ‘Incredible’ by M­Beat (below) ­- the first jungle track I heard.

One thing that keeps coming into my mind recently is the mix album ‘Journeys by DJ’ by Coldcut released in 1995. I loved this when I was younger as it takes in ambient music, jungle, hip hop and more all in the same set. It really influences me to this day ­ I think about each set as a journey full of ups and downs and different tempos.

Do you have any releases due out that we can look forward to?

Nothing too soon but I am just starting to work on my next album in a new studio space I’ve had custom built. I’ve been getting the place kitted out with a bunch of new studio equipment and instruments to use on it and am really looking forward to getting stuck in.

Your latest album Torus saw a wealth of collaborations. How did you find that process?

It was really enjoyable working with more people on the last album as I did my first one almost totally by myself. It took a while for me to get used at working with people in that way as I’d been almost completely isolated in making music before.

I particularly enjoyed working with MNEK and I’m really looking forward to hearing more from him this year.

And finally, if you could have a dream list of collaborators, dead or alive, available for your next album, who would you pick?

I’ve got a list of people I want to work with for my next album but I don’ t want to tell anyone who they are just yet ;)

Sub Focus stars at the Desperados Verde Twisted Mission on Thursday 3rd July, celebrating the launch of  the brand new drink Desperados Verde, a unique blend of tequila flavoured beer injected with a big twist of lime and mint. To find out more go to facebook.com/desperados

To see other Sub Focus gigs head to his artist profile here.

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