Not my usual album review here, but I liked this single that came across my inbox. “Mirror” begins with some ambient sound and marches into an effective mix of distortion, simple percussion and a driving baseline, setting the stage for a dreamy guitar and vocals. The tune grows more complex and triumphant as it goes along, leaving the listener satisfied.
The song has a little bit of an 80′s feel, but this happens organically and isn’t sought after, in my view. A grittier, modern version of The Police was my initial impression. Anyway, check this single out here!
There’s no doubt that every genre within the blanket term “EDM” has blown up over the past few years. New artists seemingly pop up every day producing amazing music. In the midst of new artists that people struggle to recall in the back of their minds, acting as if they could recall them all, lies a few that everyone should rightfully know. Sub Focus is one of those. That name, is a household name in every bass fiends mind.
When we cruised down to Miami in March, we had an interview set up with the legendary producer/DJ. Unfortunately the craziness of Ultra and WMC got the best of both of us, and we were never able to cross paths. Thankfully we have the internet at our behest, and we were able to still get a virtual sit down with this legendary artist. So, without further adieu, here’s Sub Focus:
TMN: It is really an honor to be able to interview you today. Our blog started in 2009 and we remember distinctly how much we enjoyed ‘Sub Focus’, your self-titled debut album. A lot has drastically changed bass driven music, give us your thoughts on the current scene of Dubstep and Drum&Bass music and where do you see it going in the next couple of months?
SF: I feel like that time was the early days of producers like us making multi-genre electronic/bass music. Its been really cool to see that movement continue.
Its always hard to predict where it’s going but I think we are starting to see a reaction away from the more noisy maximalist side of the music into sparser more spacey material. The rise of trap and deep house is an example of this movement in the music.
TMN: One of our favorite tracks last year has to be without a doubt, “Out The Blue” featuring the amazing vocals of Alice Gold. Any plans to collaborate with her again, can you tell us a little more about any upcoming releases you have set for this year?
SF: I haven’t made any more songs with Alice, but we may well get in the studio again at some point, I love the way our collab came out. My next single ‘Endorphins’ features Alex Clare, and is due out on May 12th, then I have another single coming out shortly before my album due in late Summer. I am in the finishing stages of my album at the moment so am doing lots of last minute sessions and all nighters at the moment to get it done right.
TMN: Your live performances continue to evolve and get ever more technical, they are absolutely amazing. What has been the biggest challenge in putting everything together?
SF: Thanks – it’s been a big technical challenge putting it all together and obviously I have a lot of talented people working with me to make it happen. One of the biggest challenges was putting together an audio setup that allows me to do all the things I have wanted to. I had motion sensors custom made for the show – so I can control sounds by moving my hands through air. I also had bespoke software made that I use on iPads for editing the sound and making beats from scratch on the fly. A lot of the technology for playing electronic music live is so new that I am constantly updating the live gear I use.
TMN: We know you enjoy producing on stage, and not just playing back your tracks for set. Can you tell us more about this process and the kind of software you use on the fly?
SF: I have covered some of the hardware above but software-wise it is as follows: For my live sets I use Ableton Live and some bespoke patches I have that run on the Lemur platform for iPad. Within Live I have a very complicated project running the individual parts of my songs with some of the synths (Like NI’s Massive synth for example) playing live so I can vary the parts on the fly. I also play parts, trigger fx, re-edit samples and re-do beats all within the software using keyboards, iPads, drum pads and more.
TMN: Walk us through your creative process, what tends to come first the melody? The rhythm? and on average what is the life cycle of a Sub Focus production?
SF: The inspiration for a song can come in lots of different ways, but I think my best material comes from ‘the inspired route’ – where I have an almost fully formed concept for a tune or a distinct melody idea in my head and I work on it until it is done. Other times an idea might come when just messing around but the best ideas come more fully formed. I spend a lot of time trawling the internet for inspiration and ideas for new concepts for tracks.
TMN: In your long and illustrious career, you’ve played all over the world. What are some of your highlights?
SF: There have been a lot of very memorable gigs – Glastonbury 2010 when I played with my first live show was a real highlight, my current residency at Amnesia in Ibiza has been great as its been an ambition of mine for a while to do that. The first EDC in Vegas in 2011 was also great, there are too many to mention really.
TMN: Have you ever had a moment in your career where you’ve stepped back and said, “Oh shit” at something that just happened?
SF: Probably doing my first official remix for The Prodigy back in 2005 – a couple of months before that I had just finished college then my career started to take off.
BETS stole our hearts and ears with her release of the quirky single, “Rooftop Lover.” If you haven’t heard it yet, you’re missing out. Her unique tone pairs perfectly with the lazy strumming on the track, creating a overwhelmingly enjoyable indie pop jam. After hearing this song ad nauseam (it was quite the favorite here at the office) we decided that we wanted to know more about the woman behind this longing rooftop wanderer. So, we fired over some questions to get to know her better.
TMN: Hello BETS! Thank you so much for taking some time to answer some questions for us. As a newcomer to the scene, we know a lot of our readers would like to get to know you better!
BETS: Hi! Thanks for having me.
TMN: First up, why don’t you tell us how you got into music. Did your parents encourage you as a child, or was it something you were just interested in personally?
BETS: I definitely was encouraged as a child to be creative. We didn’t have a TV growing up, so instead we did things like draw, make music and run around inventing things –pretty unheard of in this day and age. I also come from a very artistic family, so I think it was the combination of those things that definitely ignited the spark in me to create things and to be an artist.
TMN: When was the turning point in your life where you had the confidence to know you wanted to be fully involved as a singer?
BETS: I always dreamed of being a singer, but it’s only very recently that I got the courage to step out onto the stage. I’ve been writing poems and songs and singing since I was a teenager, but I always kept it to myself. It was my own little secret. Somewhere along the line I realized I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I just wasn’t going to die happy without music being my life.
TMN: How many instruments do you play? Do you have one that you gravitate more than the others?
BETS: I don’t play any instruments, but I wish I played ALL instruments. I do own a few though with high hopes…so you never know! Oh, and I love bass in a big way.
TMN: You’re currently splitting your time between NY and LA. What’s the reasoning behind that?
BETS: That’s really something that happened rather than being something that was planned. I moved to LA from Brooklyn 3 years ago, but I go back and forth so often for work & family stuff that really I just live between the two. For music, it seems perfect actually and I love both cities too much to let one go…for now.
TMN: If it were solely based on food alone, which city would you rather live in?
BETS: LA for the healthy fresh food, NY for the restaurants and falafel…see, I’m torn.
TMN: Let’s ask another food based question. If you were on Death Row, what would your last meal be?
BETS: Artichokes, greek salad, and my famous homemade ice cream cake.
TMN: Your voice is just as unique as some of the instrumentation on your record, who are other female singers you look up to or enjoy listening to?
BETS: Why, thank you! I love listening to old school stuff…people like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin. Grew up listening to a ton of oldies, so I guess it stuck.
TMN: We absolutely loved “Rooftop Lover”. It was definitely on repeat at TMN HQ for quite some time. What was your inspiration behind that song?
BETS: I wrote that tune because I would always go with my girlfriend and songwriting partner, Christina O’Connor, to make music on a roof in Hollywood and I started calling us “the rooftop lovers” and then decided to write a song about it. It became a love song… don’t they all.
TMN: Name three musicians you would love to collaborate with in the future.
BETS: Oh, so many! Would love to do musical collaborations with Haim, Lykke Li, and The National. And while I’m making wishes, I’d also like to collaborate with Lena Dunham on something creative someday, please.
TMN: This one is a little off the wall, but we always love hearing what people have to say. If your music were an animal, what would it be?
BETS: If my music was an animal it would be a Bali Bird of Paradise… or just a puppy dog named Bear.
TMN: Ok, one last one for fun. If you were stuck on a deserted island with only one musicians catalogue of music, who would it be and why?
BETS: I’d be stuck with the Beatles catalogue (for obvious reasons) and some coconut water.
TMN: Alright, thanks so much for the virtual sit down! Feel free to talk about anything else you’d like to share with our readers at this time.”
BETS: All I want to say is thanks to all the listeners for helping me leave my secret songwriting life behind, I love you all. Lots of exciting new songs, videos and shows coming this summer so stay in touch here: www.betsmusic.com xx
Being a Top 25 Club from DJ Mag comes at no surprise as Beta Nightclub has been featuring an amazing array of talent this summer, and this weekend is once again no exception.
Being regulars at Beta, we figured we should share their line up with you, in hopes that you’ll come down and rage with us. Also, just like last time, we have arranged for something special.
MUSIC NINJAS GET FREE COVER
For the shows Thursday, Friday and Saturday, make sure you bring your phone with you. If you’re 21+, get there before 11pm, and show them this post on your phone – your cover is comped. Just make sure to enter through the front door, and not the side VIP entrance. Can’t wait to see you down there!
Manchester Lo-Fi pop specialists The 1975, a group with whom our faithful Ninjas should be well aware of at this point, are getting geared up for the release of their fourth studio EP, titled simply IV through Dirty Hit Records. Fusing moments of pure ambiance with pop-song sensibility has proven to be their recipe for success, thus The 1975 have already carved out an impressive niche within the American independent music community, which never seems to be an easy feat for bands hailing from across the pond. Their latest single “Haunt // Bed” falls in line with past releases, projecting a visual and auditory wave of melancholia, hidden amongst lead singer Matthew Healy’s patchy lyrics. While this cut may lean closer to a more downtempo B-Side than some of their more radio-friendly choices, it was a song we no doubt thought our readers deserved to devour as we inch ever closer to the weekend. The 1975 are less than a month from a full-fledged U.S. tour in support of fellow visionaries The Neighbourhood, and if you are fortunate enough to reside in one of the following cities, please do not miss your chance to be a part of something special by missing their set. Stream “Haunt // Bed” above, and don’t be shy about leaving your comments!
U.S. Tour Dates (w/ The Neighbourhood):
06/04 – Tulsa, OK @ Vanguard
06/05 – Dallas, TX @ Trees
06/07 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s
06/08 – Austin, TX @ Antones
06/11 – Orlando, FL @ The Social
06/12 – St. Petersburg, FL @ The Local 662
06/14 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
06/15 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
06/17 – Atlanta, GA @ Vinyl
06/18 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
06/19 – Norfolk, VA @ The Norva
06/22 – Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory
06/23 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase
Friday night at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, Clockwork’s alter ego RL Grime is coming to move the mountains. This young LA native producer decided to switch things up and took inspiration from nuanced UK bass music to develop a new style of music that goes hand in hand with his new name. Little over a year ago, he released his first EP and the electronic music world has been begging for more ever since. Bringing his High Beams tour to Colorado, we are ecstatic to hear RL’s unique sound and what new music he has up his sleeve. Opening for the night are Vinnie Maniscalco and K-Mac, two Colorado natives who know how to throw down some dirty beats. Excited to hang with this ultra ego.
You can feel the change in the air can’t you? Summer is on the way.
Your body gets that tingling feeling, your bright colored tees and crazy pattern shorts that you have kept perfectly folded in your closet are dying to come back out. The glitter, the sequins, the glow sticks and all those fuzzy animal hats are ready to make their first appearance of the summer.
And for all of us in Colorado, it is essential to start the summer concert series out on a good note, for example, heading up to the one and only Red Rocks, one of the best concert venues in the world.
So mark your calendars Colorado and everyone else, a week from Friday, May 17th, Global Dance, Sub.Mission and Triad Dragons are throwing down the biggest bass festival to start the summer off right, the Global Dub Festival. They have stacked the artists high this year. Headlining this year is that blonde sensation Flux Pavilion and the triple X rated bass extraordinaire Excision. Getting the party started is Zomboy, Dirtyphonics Live and Designer Drugs. If you are not a fan of bass or are afraid for your eardrums, this isn’t the show for you. But for everyone else, grab your tickets and get ready to begin your summer the way every basshead should, with more bass in your face than you even know what to do with.
Let’s get this summer started!