Subb-An (Ashique Subhan to his mates) is yet to hit his 25th year, but as a producer, live act and DJ he’s already firmly established himself as one of the UK’s brightest talents. Having secured a residency at Below, the Birmingham underground sensation, in the mid 00s, his live act has brought him attention across Europe and beyond, with gigs as far afield as the US and festivals in Croatia and Glastonbury. As a producer he’s released on some of the finest labels in house music, from Culprit and Crosstown Rebels to BPitch and 20:20 Vision, culminating in forming One Records in 2009 with fellow Below cohort Adam Shelton. We caught up with him in the midst of a US to find out what makes Subb-An tick.
So, how are you and where are you? Currently in Los Angeles, recovering from a heavy but really great great start to my US tour. I played L.A, Puerto Rico, Atlanta and Austin, all were great especially the Atlanta boys and girls. Fuck they were on fire !!!
You’ve just mixed the new 1Trax compilation, following up Matt Tolfrey’s first effort in the summer. How did that come about? Yes thats right, I was speaking with the guys and they told me about the series of compilations they were starting which sounded great, so we spoke on it and agreed to work together to make the second edition. It’s a great project to be a part of and working with the guys has been a pleasure.
It’s your first compilation. How did it differ from just putting a mix together for a podcast or website? I guess there’s a bit more thought into the track selection. A podcast can be fired out in the moment but this is for commercial sale so I wanted it to represent a certain quality. It’s a bit deeper to what I play in the clubs but the intention of the mix is for the car, for the iPod, at the office, before you go on a night out
How did you put the tracklist together? It reads like a who’s-who of UK house talent in 2011… Yeah, it’s a great representation of some of the best UK talent, I wanted that feel with the compilation. The tracklist came together with what tracks I’ve been digging over the last six month
Running a label is hard enough in the current climate. How tough is it to put out vinyl as well? It is of course hard, however it is still selling and there are people still supporting which is great, so thanks to all those supporters.
You’ve had a relatively sensible release schedule – nine records in two years – compared to many modern labels. Is it a conscious decision to build things slowly? I think it works differently for different people. For me I like to be consistent but not too much of an overload
What’s in store for the label in 2012? We have some great music from Anthea, Burnski, Richy Ahmed, Chris Carrier, Slok, Bloody Mary, myself, Adam Shelton plus other bits were confirming right now, not to mentioned a whole host of label events
The Rainbow is a revered venue, somehow managing to survive against the odds in its short lifetime. How many times have you thought it may close? Hmmm, I don’t think I have ever thought it would close. Maybe thats other perception. It has had its hard times like many places do but I always imagined it would keep going. Its an amazing space that hosts some great brands
Next year you’ll be 7 years old. Did you ever think you’d reach that landmark?Well I came on board about three to four years into Below and always thought it would be strong, I guess with any project you of course like the thought of sustaining it for as long as possible, so its great to see it coming into its seventh year
What’s been your most memorable party over the years? Most memorable Below party has to be the Ivan Smagghe warehouse party, the Dinky open air courtyard party which was really illegal as there was building development going on the before the contractors left on the weekend they made it clear no one was allowed out. Turned out 600 packed onto the courtyard in blazing hot sun a Sunday in Birmingham. It was fucking insanely good!
What sort of stuff did you listen to when you were a kid? When I was younger I always grew up with Reggae and Ska. My mum was into that a lot so I used to hear records like Anthea and Donna ‘Uptown Ranking’
I remember hearing stuff like UB40 and The Specials. Other influences came from the TV and Radio. On the TV as young person I always remember records like Armand Van Helden ‘You Don’t Know Me’,
The very first thing I ever jammed to though was Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind & Fire, I was about nine years old or something like that and remember playing with my toy cars with this track on repeat. Don’t even know how I had this on tape or a tape player but somehow did.
What first got you into electronic music? Turntables. I got into it all very early when i was twelve/thirteen and used to listen to the essential mixes and Radio 1 and spend hours in the record shops in my town
When did you first think “this is my job”? Interesting question, I guess the only time you think of it as a job is when your stuck in the airport, that’s the mundane part. The rest is fun, its like being on a holiday all the time haha. Although its important to work hard
For someone still so young, you’ve released on labels that many a decade older would kill for. How do you stay motivated? I just love and enjoy it. I guess my motivation comes from the parties I play, the people I meet and the music I discover. Everything keeps evolving and moving and for me that’s perfect.
It’s been another big year for you. What’s been the highlight? Highlight this year was getting the chance to remix Noir. I love the vocal and wanted to do it so when I got the parts I got super excited like a little kid at Christmas!! The big move to Berlin has to be up there too, and also working on my new projects with Nic Fancuilli and Jef K.
If you could’ve made one record, what would it have been? There’s many answers to this question but what immediately comes into my head is Aleem – Release Yourself and I would be singing myself haha!
I love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=907wKCKzA2g
What’s the best and worst thing about being Subb-an? The answer to both, I like to party a lot !!!
If you had to give it all up tomorrow, how would you like to be remembered? Not be boring I like to enjoy life and embrace all opportunities. There’s no time to be boring.
Subb-An’s mix on 1Trax is out now.
For more info about him head to: www.myspace.com/artistsubban.