The Subs

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The Subs


Belgium’s Finest: No Substitute For Quality

The world is an incredibly weird place – and Belgian beat-masters The Subs have got plenty to say about it on their upcoming follow-up to 2009’s album Subculture. The dual nature of the universe, the wrath of Mother Earth, the partying ways of the trio comprising Jeroen De Pessemier, Wiebe Loccufier and Stefan Bracke. It’s all under the microscope on album number two, according to main songwriter and producer, De Pessemier.

“The lyrics took me the last two years to write,” he states. “Unfortunately, I am very critical on them and immediately I don’t like them when I write them. Writing lyrics is such a delicate process – sometimes I’m afraid of being too blunt, sometimes I’m afraid it’s not cool enough. It’s really difficult to get in the right state of mind. Especially with electronic music, it’s not so easy to make the words work, it’s not like being a singer-songwriter where you can write from the heart and everybody appreciates it. Electronic music is definitely restricting like that.”

Maybe so, but when it came to putting together the lyrical content of The Subs’ sophomore record, De Pessemier claims overall it was a much easier exercise this time around. Simply taking a look around was more than enough to give De Pessemier something to write about.

“The state of this is planet is just complete craziness,” he shares. “Think about how weird it all really is. Here we are playing all these shows and going to all these parties. We’re going around the world just DJing and having a great time, and at the same time we are doing that, there are these debates about where the planet is going. There are natural disasters and religions clashing and wars and lots of dark things going on in the world. Those two big contrasts really caught my attention. But it’s not all fucked up, there are some sexy songs too. It’s a lot more open-minded as an album than Subculture was.”

According to De Pessemier, whereas their debut album saw The Subs merely dipping their toe in the world of electronic music, the upcoming sophomore sees the trio much more confident and ready to let go of certain fears. In the last two years, one major change has been in the band’s production prowess, as De Pessemier explains…

“We’re not as restricted as we were perhaps on the first album. That record was all about synths and exploring the world of electronic music and club and dance tunes. We’ve stayed away from taking the first thing that comes to mind, or the first solution, and just putting that on the record. In the meantime since 2009, we have learned so much about producing and we are ready to make something more, something bigger happen with our music. We want something much more musically interesting and we are going for lots of catchy melodies. We’re using more real instruments on this album too. I wanted to record them first and then sample them to make them sound really peculiar because I think that works much better. It was richer-sounding and more adventurous.”

After all, this trio has always been about taking chances from day one. When it came to their 2008 breakout track Kiss My Trance, De Pessemier claims The Subs initially put the song together as an experiment and started the band as a joke. At the time, nobody had a clue that the tune would reach worldwide exposure, let alone that De Pessemier, Loccufier and Bracke would find themselves in Australia a few years later.

Kiss My Trance and Fuck That Shit were probably as big as each other back then,” claims De Pessemier. “Fuck That Shit was a bigger one on the underground level, at least. It really depends on the country, it always amuses me how a track will be successful based on the way people party in a certain country. In Australia, we’re going to play tracks from the Subculture album for half the show, and the second half will be the new album. Having success on the international level was something we never thought would be possible when we started, but it is always the dream in the back of your mind. It’s not that the band is a joke, because we’ve all got strong backgrounds from doing other music and DJing elsewhere, but it was an interesting experiment. And we are still interested in experimenting and traveling the world to see how people react to it. I’ve never wanted to do that by playing commercial shit – I just don’t like it.”

The Subs [BEL] play Future Music Festival with Dizzee Rascal [UK], Mark Ronson & The Business Intl [UK], Steve Aoki [US] and more at the Flemington Racecourse on Sunday March 13.