In Conversation With: Subculture


Subculture has just released his beautiful single ‘The River Bend’, which sees him pairing up with the amazing voice of Rachel Chinouriri. He took a moment to go into more depth about the track and what he has recently been working on. 

This is your first release of the year since producing Tertia May’s second EP ‘Not From Concentrate’, what have you been up to? 
I been working on my solo shit, and feeling for a while like I got this giant bag of like the inner blueprints of my brain ready to unleash on the world. The work never really stops though, also the pool of talent that rolls through my studio is crazy. For a few years now I been trying to put together this project though with lots of my favourite artists but for once is grounded on my instincts alone.  Outside of that I got a bunch of Subculture Sage singles about to drop and a record I’m working on with Goya Gumbani, and also some other things I’m not sure i’m allowed to mention yet. 

The track is called ‘The River Bend’, does the title have a meaning and what is the inspiration for the song? 
The song came about through conversations Rachel and I had about our experiences of racial prejudices in the city. I think the conversation basically plateaued at this realisation that so many judgements come about through deep misunderstandings of each other's cultures. So The River Bend became this story about someone walking along some narrow inner-city canal at night, comes across a group of kids they’re afraid of, then feeling like they narrowly escaped some harrowing experience, where in reality fuck all actually happened and there was probably nothing to be afraid. I dunno maybe on a deep level to some extent we misunderstand each other daily, miscommunicate and all live in our own little universes. 

It features the amazing Rachel Chinouriri, how did that partnership come about? 
Yeh she’s great. We actually clocked the other day it was only a year ago we met, apparently our first session she came to my studio in Brixton was the same day as Carnival 2018. I actually think my old manager introduced me to her though but yeh I got a lot of love for her, the music she puts out is beautiful but in the studio also you can just see she’s the real deal. 

You have had to move your studio a few times this year, why is that? Do you feel the moving affects your creative process? 
I work and live from these ex-commercial spots that I rent out. They’re temporary though so they can be real long or real short. So basically I find somewhere, rent it, move my life in, make it as beautiful as I can in as short a period as I can and then get to work. I been doing this for some years now and I find the whole thing quite cathartic and invigorating. Like when the output of your existence is measured by how engaged with life you are, I think this shit just keeps me on my toes. 

Even though your sound is mostly centered around hip hop, apparently you also listen to post-punk and jazz. What sort of bands and artists do you listen to? How do these genres influence you when putting a track together? 
Shit I suppose I am a music nerd at heart. I’ve been producing Hip Hop for years and raised on it from a young age, but I spent many of my younger years drumming in Indie bands and also travelled so much of the world later on falling in love with music from Latin America and all over the place. Like i’m so often in studio with Hip Hop artists but truth is I’ll be paying more attention to Thee Oh Sees and The Stooges and DEVO. Maybe it sounds trashy but I really feel music is music and the algorithms may be in some ways sedating what some of us deserve to be exposing ourselves to. I’m literally listening to Erroll Garner as I write this, I had D'Angelo spinning before and N.E.R.D before that. My whole life I collected music and I’m a pretty busy DJ as well. But I suppose like for any artist, your taste and your musical memory is your vocabulary and it’s hard to separate your musical impulses from that book of unconscious ideas.

Now that the single is out there, what next? What else are you working on?
There’s a few more singles coming out from me very soon and a very special project coming from me before the end of the year!

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