DNB Vault caught up with the eclectic and soulful Submorphics, before departing for his European tour. He gave us some insight into living in and departing from the Midwest to his new home on the West Coast. He also filled us in on future and current projects including his recent Hospital Records Podcast.
Greg, thanks for taking time to chat with us before flying across the pond! For those that might not be familiar please introduce yourself.
I’m Greg aka Submorphics. I’ve been producing DnB for a little over a decade and I’m still a fanboy of the genre!
Your music is known to be melodic and soulful. Would it be safe to say that having roots in Chicago and Detroit has had some influence on your sound?
Yea, Detroit and Chicago soul/house/funk/jazz/hip hop/ has been a massive influence on me I think. I got into crate digging in these 2 cities, which has the best record stores in America and arguably more soul music history than anywhere else in the country.
Aside from crate digging for soul, house, funk, jazz and hip hop, what were some of your influences growing up and did you have any musical training?
I was playing piano around age 4-5 I think. Classically trained pianist (forced by parents) and played guitar (still do a little). In my teens I was into indie/artsy sorta stuff and then got into electronic/IDM around the late 90s. My entry point into electronic music was through bands like Tortoise and The Sea and Cake using synths and drum machines in their music and getting electronic acts to remix them. From there I got massively into Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and various other non-club deep electronic music. I liked some DnB in the 90s but wasn’t fully into it til I heard LTJ Bukem and Ed Rush + Optical around 2000-2001. Looking back I really wish I was more aware of it in the mid 90s, I missed the golden era! I started purchasing DnB records in late 2001 when I discovered Calibre, M.I.S.T, High Contrast, Influx Datum, London Elektricity, Klute; etc.
A few years back, you moved from the Midwest to San Francisco. Are you all settled in?
Yea, I’ve been here for 2 years and it was a massive change for me but I think I’ve grown accustomed to Cali life. Might not stay in the city though cause SF is a bit ridiculous for rent prices right now!
Did the transition effect your production/gigs for better or worse?
It’s definitely helped my production, but I’m not sure how. Gigs-wise, I’m not sure it has neither helped or hurt me… I would love to play more east coast shows.
Aside form the weather what are some differences between the west coast and midwest? Anything you miss? Anything you love?
I miss seasons and how ‘real’ the midwest is compared to how strange SF can be! Certain foods are better in Chicago than in SF (pizza + burgers). In all other ways though, I prefer California and the constant 65-75 degree Fahrenheit temperature up here is awesome!
2014 was a big year for you. You had the “Burnside Park” EP on Liquid V and your debut release on SGN:LTD Long Been Gone & Rosewood. feat. Christina Tamayo as well as a mini european tour with a stop at Soul on Motion. I can only imagine you have your plate full in 2015.
Thanks! My gig and release schedule looks better to me than last year … Got stuff on SGN, Hospital and Metalheadz coming, some more Euro gigs this month, and some really nice stateside gigs!
You recently mixed and curated a PODCAST for HOSPITAL recordings with Christina Tamayo How did that whole thing come about and if did you have any sort of direction or guidance (self imposed or otherwise).
I got an email from Tom Mullet from Hospital, they’re doing a series of US-oriented podcasts which is a cool concept. They wanted me to give a lot of shoutouts and include mostly Hospital stuff but other than that I was given free reign to do my thing. I threw in some of my favorite old Hospital tunes, some new ones, and a few fresh dubplates in there for good measure. I chose some of my all-time favorite Hospital tunes that inspired me in the 2001-2006 era; SKC + Bratwa- Heart of Love, Ill Logic + Raf- We are Now; etc. This was a huge era for me and shaped who I am as a producer, so I had to include a little homage… and maybe educate some newer listeners as well.
I understand you have a remix on Hospital Records’ forthcoming Fast Soul Music compilation. Can you tell us about that and if there is anything else that we can look forward to?
Yep, my remix of Camo + Krooked’s “Change Me” was released 3 years ago and is now getting a re-release on the Fast Soul Music CD. I just found out about that a couple weeks ago, nice surprise. I’ve got several releases dropping throughout Spring/Summer… keep an eye out I guess! Including another collab w/ Brooklyn’s T.R.A.C. that is a little more party-friendly than our tune “Higher Ground.”
On a tangent… What were some of your last musical purchases?
Lapalux’s new album + Kendrick’s new album. Thumbs up to their artistry!
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us! Do you have any parting shout outs?
Shouts to Stamina SF crew, Outlet crew (bay area), Chicago and Detroit junglists, all US crew, Shogun Audio family, and everyone who bought my tunes, booked me or danced to one of my DJ sets! Check me at Hospitality London at Building Six on May 1st, and in Gothenberg, Sweden on May 9th. More gigs to be announced throughout the next month, keep locked to my facebook page! Can’t wait to roll it out on the other side of the pond.