With our quarterly club night at PlanB Brixton just around the corner we thought we’d cacth up with one of our headliners before he starts his UK/EU tour. He was also kind enough to drop us an exclusive promo mix for us full of forthcoming material as well as some liquid classics thrown in for good measure.
For those people out there that don’t know who you are, would you like to introduce yourself?
Submorphics: Hi. I’m Greg, from Chicago, by way of Detroit. I grew up playing piano and guitar and lost interest in bands around age 16-17 when I discovered Aphex Twin, Orbital, Photek and various other “electronica” of the late 90s! I got the DnB bug full-on in the early 2000s which has infected my bloodstream ever since…
How would you describe your musical sound?
Submorphics: Different tunes reflect different influences, but I’d say I’m most widely-known for combining chopped-up 60s/70s soul samples with my own synths/rhodes/guitar sounds and hopefully coming up with my own take on ‘soulful DnB.’ For some different Submorphics vibes though, check my remix of Zyon Base- Shifting Sands on a trippy/moody Autonomic tip, ‘Bullets over Broadway,’ which is my attempt at 1995-ish live-sounding jungle-funk, ‘Cant Understand’ on a future-garage tip, or Armanni Reign- Breathe Back, a hip hop tune which I produced, heavily influenced by J Dilla and the Detroit future-soul sound.
You’re from Detroit but are currently living in Chicago both of which are renowned for fine musical exports over the years. What is the drum and bass scene like locally as well as nationally?
Submorphics: I left the metro-Detroit area at the end of 2007 for Chicago. Both cities have, what I would consider, America’s most impressive musical legacies; Detroit with it’s hip hop scene, Motown, and the techno legacy, and Chicago with it’s soul scene and it’s the birthplace and capitol of house music. Detroit’s DnB scene has always been pretty quiet, but I’m told in the last year it has come into a bigger spotlight with one of the most successful Konkrete Jungle franchises in the country. Chicago is a gigantic, international metropolis so it has always had one of America’s best electronic scenes, and DnB thrived for many years, only to get a little quieter in the last 3-4 years, but it’s coming back around. In America, DnB never really received the exposure it’s gotten in the UK and Europe. Dubstep and “American EDM” have been a lot of kids’ entry points into electronic music. Maybe some people even think DnB is sped-up dubstep… (??!) Yikes!
Your next release is on Dj Marky’s Innerground label, can you tell us how that come about?
Submorphics: I guess I’ve known Marky for 4-5 years after taking care of him in Chicago, where we got some of the best sushi in U.S., and hit Dusty Groove (legendary Chicago record store) where he spent an insane amount of money on old records! He’d always liked some of my tunes, but “Summer Soul” was the one to really grab him and say “that needs to be for Innerground!” Marky gets fairly animated when he loves a tune, as you might imagine. When I wrote the tune, I didn’t think of Innerground specifically, but my friend Atlantic Connection reminded me to give Marky my new bits, and the rest is history I guess…
On the flip to the release is the mighty Calibre’s remix of Yellow Shoes, a summer smash of 2012 and an innerSoul favourite. How does it feel to be getting a release on the same piece of wax as Calibre?
Submorphics: Yea… I think it’s a milestone in my little career! The first batch of 12″s I ever bought contained Calibre-Deep Everytime/What U Need…so he was one of my entry points into dance-floor, soulful DnB. Probably my favorite DnB producer of all time as well, so it’s an honor and very humbling. I had an idea in my head that the Yellow Shoes Remix might be on the flip of my tune, but I figured it probably wouldn’t happen like that. Then I got the email from Innerground HQ informing me of the release, and I nearly shat my pants…!
What else can we expect on this album?
Submorphics: It’s a strong album of club-ready tunes, mostly on the soulful-rollers tip, but several bass-bombing party tunes as well. My favorite cuts on there are: Pennygiles- Life Go’s, Andrezz- Bring Me Back, and Marky & Makoto- Call Me. I think it’s the finest DnB various artists album I’ve ever been a part of.
Making an album seems to be the done thing in the scene at the moment, are you thinking along these lines too?
Submorphics: Oh yes, that will have to be done hopefully sooner rather than later. I’ve had a few opportunities come along in the past but nothing that I was ready to commit to. Stay tuned in the future I guess…
You’ve been releasing music from 2006 and have featured on top labels such as Hospital, Spearhead, Westbay, Rubik and now innerground. Which label would you most like a release on and why?
Submorphics: I’m happy to have released on Hospital, Innerground and Spearhead, and excited for some forthcoming Liquid V and Good Looking releases, so I can’t complain. Maybe a Soul:R or Shogun release should be a goal but I don’t know the folks at those labels too well, currently. I have only recently began to think about DJs and labels when I am in the studio, as opposed to just making music for myself without any care for how it would be received outside of my apartment! For me, making music is a personal thing that I do for myself, and if labels and DJs like the stuff too that’s even better, but not necessarily what I am thinking about when I am writing. I will admit to making less introspective, non-dance-floor stuff recently though, and am just trying to focus on club bangers, for better or worse…!
You’re starting your UK/European tour by headlining at our event. What are you most looking forward and least looking forward to on your tour?
Submorphics: Haha, there aren’t any gigs I’m not looking forward to. The only thing I’m really dreading is getting my ass to Luton at 7 in the morning to fly out to Romania on the 5th, but I’m sure I’ll manage that. Catch an early bus from Victoria Station, or something!
You have also been kind enough to record us an exclusive mix, which are the stand out tracks for you and is this what we can expect to hear from you on the night?
Submorphics: I’ll try not to play too many tunes from this mix at Plan B cause that would be kinda lame! I like all the tunes I chose on there; I threw in some of my favorite 2004-2006 ‘new classics’ in there like SKC & Bratwa- Prophecy and Breakage- Staggered Dub. Also watch out for my tunes “Hazel Street” (forthcoming Innerground) and “Hurt So Bad” (forthcoming Liquid V) which I put in the mix. s what we can expect from your live set in March?
Finally, what else have you got coming out this year and is there anyone you want to give a shout out too?
Submorphics: I’ve got some stuff coming on Liquid V, Good Looking Records and more bits on Innerground. And some really exciting stuff I’m not sure I should be announcing just yet! Shoutouts to: Chicago crew, Marky, Calvin SMJ, Bryan Gee, LTJ Bukem, Hospital Records crew, Camo, Alegria and all Polish crew, Spectrum DnB-Dublin lads, Cernea and Romanian crew, Lenzman and all at Metalheadz, Ronin and Detroit crew.
Submorphics (Hospital/Innerground/Liquid V/Spearhead/Good Looking– Chicago, USA)
1. Loz Contreras – Baby It’s You (?)
2. Marky & Makoto – Bloody Mary (Innerground)
3. Random Movement & Jaybee – Good Enough (Liquid V)
4. Andrezz – Bring Me Back (Innerground)
5. Submorphics – Summer Soul (Innerground)
6. SKC & Bratwa – Prophecy (Soul:R)
7. ArtificiaI Intelligence – Switch On (Commercial Suicide)
8. Roygreen, Protone & Monologue – Break (Innerground)
9. Submorphics – Hurt So Bad (Liquid V)
10. Marky & Makoto – Call Me (Innerground)
11. Pennygiles – Life Goes (Innerground)
12. Paul SG, Flowrian & Pulsaar – Corrupt Level (Good Looking)
13. Submorphics feat. Christina Tamayo – Forgotten Dreams (Good Looking)
14. Submorphics – Hazel Street (Innerground)
15. Roni Size – Want Your Body (Calibre Remix) (V Recordings)
16. Breakage – Staggered Dub (Critical)