Sub Focus Interview

With new album Torus just released and a tour coming up imminently, we managed to find time in Sub Focus’ busy schedule to sit down and chat about life with one of the biggest names in the EDM world.

So, your second album has just been released. What can fans new and old expect from it?

It’s a lot more of an evolution from when I first started out. Unlike my first record, it's set out to be more of a journey and less of a club album. Plus it’s a lot longer. It’s very diverse, there’s something for everyone really!

There are lots of artists featuring on the album. How do you go about choosing who to work with and is there anyone you’d like to feature with in the future?

I pretty much just contact people who I already like and listen to. I tend to go for the more unusual sounding artists who you normally wouldn’t associate with my music. 

I was very happy when I got Kele from Bloc Party on board for a track ‘cause I grew up listening to them. I’ve been wanting to work with Grimes for a while now, which will hopefully come together at some point.

What can be expected from your tour?

This tour is going to be insane! It’s going to be the full live show with all the bells and whistles. 

I am making sure that it’s not just all pre-planned too and I am actually doing something onstage instead of just dancing along to a pre-recorded set. I have loads of wicked instruments and controllers with me in the booth; iPads, synths, drum pads… I’ve even got these boxes with motion sensors in which I can use to make different sounds with my hands. I like the crowd interaction it brings. 

I’ve also made sure that each show has different support acts to mix it up a bit.

Given an unlimited budget, what crazy ideas would you implement into the show?

I’d just go crazy with the lighting really. Get a full backdrop on stage and just make a really visual show. The visual side of the show is very important to me. I’d like more wacky contraptions with me on stage too. I’ll leave it up to the experts to design them though…

Do you prefer doing your own headline shows or supporting big acts in arenas?

I like both for different reasons. 

It’s great doing really small shows in clubs where you can get really close to the crowd, but saying that I did the arena tour with Pendulum, which was insane. It’s weird having that many people singing back to you, but it’s annoying that they are all at least 20m away.

If 10 years ago you were to look ahead to today, would you believe the amount of success you’ve had?

I’d be happy in what’s happened as I always make sure everything I do is to the highest standard. So in that respect, I’d feel relieved it paid off. But I never expected to have this much success.

Are you happy with the direction that EDM music has taken in the past few years?

I think as a whole it’s not getting that much more mainstream as people seem to think. It’s always been around. There just seems to be a lot more of it being produced. 

I’m happy that it’s gained more credibility and has become more successful. When I was growing up, dance music never really seemed like a ‘proper’ genre if you get me, just a bit daft. But it’s great how serious it is now. I’m lucky to be a part of it.

Are there any new artists you think people should look out for?

There are so many people out there now. I’m loving the new Hot Natured album. Grafix, Dismantle and Fred V are also wicked. Look out for them.

If you were to form an EDM super group, who would star in it beside you?

I’d like to do it with my friends really, people I get on with. Me, Chase & Status and Nero all have studios next to each other, so we see each other a lot and have grown into great mates. We’ve worked on some tunes together already but it never normally gets released. If a group was to emerge, it’s likely to be us lot.

Order the new album and get tickets for the October tour at subfocus.com

Words by Nathan Simm