Techno, sun and Sub:terranea

Techno, sun and Sub:terranea

As tiresome as it’s become to say, ‘EDM’ nights are hardly few and far between in York, or any student city in the UK for that matter. It’s a blessing, if you’re into it. But to each that isn’t, the sometimes amateur man’s mixing seems more than mediocre. As Sub:terranea, a podcast-gone-Mansion-night, lies on the brink of its debut event, I have a chat with the organisers about stepping onto the pitch and kicking it up. 

Let’s start by talking a little bit about the thought behind Sub:terranea. How and when did you guys come up the project?

Phil – Well it’s been a long time coming really, we’ve all been DJ’ing for well over a decade each and have all had residencies at various nights around the UK . When you’ve been involved in the scene for so long and you know how parties work you start to think about what you can do to channel that experience. Really we’re all just huge music fans and avid record collectors. What it boils down to I guess is just that we want to play quality house & techno that people can dance to and enjoy!

Rory – Phil and I only met each other relatively recently but immediately discovered that our musical tastes were similar even though we’d both developed our own unique styles over the years. From that we began developing ideas further and both felt that we’d reached the point in our lives where we wanted to share our music with a wider audience.

So you started out by setting up a podcast is that right?

Phil – Yeah so about half a year ago I decided to set up a fortnightly podcast where some of the DJ’s that i’m really digging at the moment could record some mixes which we would put up on the soundcloud page for our followers.

It’s been going great so far we have an excellent response to all 12 of the mixes that we’ve released and have had DJ’s from all over Europe getting involved and we’re really excited about the next few too! To have artists like Robsoul boss Phil Weeks and the Umlaut guys from Fuse Club in Brussels involved has really seen the brand grow over the past 6 months or so. The podcast series is also an opportunity for us to showcase local DJ’s that, for one reason or another, haven’t had the recognition that they deserve.

Rory – I’d literally just recorded a mix when Phil asked me if I’d like to open up the podcast series for him, so I guess it was meant to be! I loved the concept that he had in mind and felt that we could build on that and develop Sub:terranea into a music brand for events, radio show, online magazine and any other way of sharing our music and getting like-minded people involved.

You’ve got your opening night coming up this Saturday the 15th June at Mansion on Micklegate, can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Phil – Yes that’s right, we’ve booked one of our favourite artists Christian Maiden (Leftroom) who’s coming over to play for a couple of hours. He’s a top quality DJ who plays regularly in and around Leeds, as well as at festivals around Europe so we’re really excited to see him in action in York. Its the first time he’s played in York and he’s used to playing to pretty massive crowds at the Garden Parties etc so it’s going to be really interesting to see him play to a more intimate crowd. Dan, Rory and myself will be supporting Christian on the night so it will be a good opportunity for people to come along and see what we’re all about.

Rory – I’ve seen Christian DJ a couple of times in Leeds at the Faversham Garden Parties and he’s smashed it! So I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him. We’re also over the moon to have Dan Jackson as one of our residents along side Phil and myself. Dan is one of the most technically gifted DJ’s around and his record collection is phenomenal. He’s going to be pushing more of a techno sound, I’ll be pushing a deeper house sound and Phil’s style sits nicely in-between the two of us. It’s important for the music to progress smoothly over the course of the evening and having a strong trio of residents is paramount to this.

How do you think the scene has changed in York over the past few years and what have the students brought to the scene?

Phil – To be honest the scene has changed a lot in recent years and that is largely down to the students here. Not so long ago York wasn’t really renowned for its underground music scene but nowadays the students are really clued up about music and most of them are really musically educated too, especially about house & techno. The recent emergence of mid week student nights that are centered around electronic music has boosted the scene massively and more and more students are starting to discover the regular nights going in York over the weekend. It’s nice to know that not all students consider the willow to be the height of York’s nightlife.

Rory – The guys at Freakin and some other nights have been pushing the underground sound for years and always had a regular following when I lived in York a few years ago. Since I’ve been coming back over here though I’ve noticed a lot of new faces at the events and more house and techno orientated student nights, so it’s great that quality electronic music seems to be taking off here!

I think young people like to hear some original music that they might not have heard before rather than the same old chart music.

So what are you guys bringing to the table that’s different? There seems to be a few house nights popping up here and there.

Phil – From our point of view when we looked at the current scene in York we felt that although there is a fair bit of house music around no one is really exploring the sound that sits somewhere between house & techno. That’s the sound that we all really dig, something a little more uptempo than your standard ‘house’ but while still staying deep and melodic. All of our guests will be fitting into this category and we’ll be providing a lot of York debuts over the next few months! What’s really important to us as well is that the DJ’s we book are technically gifted. It’s too often the case, when I go out clubbing, to spend good money for a ‘big’ name and leave feeling disappointed by the quality of the mixing.

Rory – I think between all the residents and organisers we’ve all had highs and lows in the industry. Now we’re experienced enough to know what we want to achieve from our passion for music. It’s not about making loads of money, it’s about giving people a good time and sharing our musical tastes. As time goes on we also want to focus on the visual/lighting elements and introducing live acts, hoping to give people an enjoyable and original experience that will build us a loyal following.

So what’s next for Sub:terranea?

Phil – Well we are going to continue to release a new podcast every second Tuesday, we’ve got some top quality artists booked for those so keep your eyes peeled. We do a monthly radio show every 4th Friday night on and we’ll be continuing with our monthly event on the third saturday of the month. We’ve got another York debut coming up in July from another of our favourite DJ’s. This is someone who regularly play alongside the worlds best so we’re really looking forward to that. We’re always on the lookout for local talent as well so if any students think that they fit the bill then give us a shout.

Rory – We’re always discussing new ideas and concepts and don’t like to rest on our laurels so keep your eyes peeled for many more Sub:terranea projects in the near future!

Sub:terranea launches Saturday 15th June at Mansion. Tickets can be reserved for £5 via message to the Circulation FB page or found through the event page:

Jonjo Lowe