Having moved to Berlin four years ago, Subb-an is one of many British DJs now calling Germany’s capital their home. A native of Birmingham, he first came to prominence as a resident at Sunday daytime party, Below, before establishing One Records in 2009 alongside his close friend, Adam Shelton.
While Berlin has obviously played a mightily important role in shaping his tastes (he recently debuted his live show at the city’s famed Panorama Bar), the island of Ibiza has also had a profound effect on Subb-an’s sound — as well as his DJ prowess. During the course of our frank exchange, he reflects on his relationship with Adam Shelton, playing at DC10 and the changing face of the White Isle...
Was there something missing in the scene in Birmingham before Below?
“Yeah, you could say that. Below was one of a few Sunday daytime parties when it started out. Secretsundaze was going before, but it’s not like now where there are a lot of Sunday daytime events. There certainly hadn’t
been anything like this in Birmingham before which made it fresh, cool and exciting. The music was different to any other party in Birmingham, as was the crowd.”
What do you reckon the Below crew brought to the scene in Birmingham that was missing beforehand?
“Educating people in different music that they possibly wouldn’t have been exposed to. Below was bringing artists to the city no one else was. This was great, and due to Adam Shelton and Lee Mcdonald having a large group of friends through doing seasons in Ibiza, the parties were busy and had a solid vibe. Below is still strong, but it’s cool to see other friends and promoters now bringing in solid artists to Birmingham too.”
You mentioned your good friend, Adam Shelton. How influential have you been on one another’s careers? And when did you first meet?
“We’ve had a huge amount of influence on one another. Adam being slightly older than me has had a huge influence on me musically. He has an amazing record collection and through him I’ve been exposed to some amazing artists and musical genres that at the age of 20 I perhaps wouldn’t have been otherwise. And on the flip-side, I’ve probably helped Adam on the production side of things. We first met through a friend in a bar in Birmingham, Adam invited me down to Below and after checking some music asked me to play; from then onwards it started to grow. Just don’t ask Adam about my style when we first met!”
Where are you at with your productions right now? Much we can look forward to from you in that regard?
“I’m definitely in a good place with it right now. I’ve just finished an album for Crosstown Rebels that probably took longer than it should, but I’m really happy with the results. I have a few remixes coming up too. I’ve just finished a remix of And.Id’s ‘Erotica’ and also a remix for Kwabs. I have so much music that I need to finish so I’m pretty excited to get it all wrapped up and ready to go.”
You’re playing at DC10 again this year. When did you first play at the club? And what was the experience like?
“Fantastic, playing the terrace in DC10 was always something I aspired to, and when I got the chance it was even better than I could have hoped for. That time just after 7pm during dusk when it’s just going dark and you can still see the hills to the left outside the windows is pretty magical. I’ll be playing there a few times this summer and I really can’t wait.”
What are your thoughts on the changing face of Ibiza?
“It’s hard to say really. I’ve not really been going year after year, season after season, so I can’t really give an in-depth comment, although I do feel there should be more small, underground things, especially outdoor parties. That’s what Ibiza used to be about and there really aren’t that many anymore. But it’s still an amazing place and party-wise, I guess you just have to know where to look.”
What else have you coming up that you’d like to shout about?
“I have some exciting live show dates coming up, such as Bob Beaman in Munich, the Secret Garden Festival, Circus in Liverpool and Tobacco Dock in London. There’ll also be a North American tour in August which will include Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Montreal. I’ll also — of course — be doing a few Circoloco dates, plus my first Kazantip this year. A lot to look forward to!”