AK is a producer, DJ and the founder of Sub Lift Records: a new tech house-focussed label based in Slovenia set to introduce a raft of new producers over the coming months and years. The inaugural release on the label is Body Work, produced by AK in collaboration with D.K.O. Body Work is a moody tech house roller, slickly produced and a handful of memorable hooks that make it stand out amongst the crowd, perfectly setting the standard by which all Sub Lift releases will be judged.
AK (SI), D.K.O - Body Work
Welcome to DMC – please tell us a little about your musical background, and how you first got into the industry as a professional…
Hi! My musical journey actually started in a band. This was about 5 years ago. It wasn’t anything serious, but it was definitely a great jump start for me. We also worked on some original songs at that time, so it was kind of the beginning of my producing journey. After 2-3 years we split, and everyone went separate ways, so I decided to go solo. I was already a big fan of tech-house, but I didn’t have any experience (end of 2019). I spent endless nights watching YouTube tutorials on tech house and slowly started to develop my own sense and understanding of making it. In September it will be 2 years since I’m producing tech house and I think it’s really cool to see how my music gets better from release to release. Also, I just wanted to say thanks for having me!
Who are some of the artists that have influenced your career to date?
At first, I was kind of all over the place as I’m sure everybody is but now, I’m taking inspiration mostly from John Summit, Chapter & Verse, Westend and DON’T BLINK I’d say.
You decided to launch a new label in the middle of a pandemic, which feels like quite a risk. Why did you feel the time was right?
Well, the idea of course came in the middle of pandemic because we were suddenly exposed to all this time, and I always need to work on something so that’s when the idea popped into my head. I knew (or hoped) from the beginning that once I launch the label, the pandemic will already be cooling off and so far, it seems like it is. I’m trying not to be affected by it as much and so I try to take different paths to promote the releases.
What can we expect from Sub Lift over the coming months and years?
I’m really focusing mostly on delivering great quality music now because I think that first impressions are the most important and that’s something I don’t want to miss. Besides that, I have a lot of plans for the label in the future. I’m planning to start Sub Lift Sessions where artists will perform one-hour sets, also planning to start a radio show and in the future definitely leaning towards organizing live events.
As an emerging artist, have you found it hard to get noticed by bigger labels?
It sure isn’t easy to get heard but you need to be patient! Labels have too many bad experiences with listening to music that’s not even nearly ready to be released and that takes away too much of their time. I always recommend starting with smaller labels and then build your way up slowly, so you have references of your work. That’s very important in my opinion.
Was that part of the reason you started the label?
Actually no. Running a record label was always something I wanted to do but I didn’t have the time, so when pandemic came, I started to work on it and it’s now finally ready to launch. I’ll certainly be releasing my music on my label but not so much. I’d say every 3rd release of mine will be on Sub Lift.
Body Work is a tech house banger, pure and simple. What were you hoping to achieve with this record?
Thank you. Well, you said it yourself! My friend D.K.O and me wanted to create a simple and pure tech house banger and that’s what we did hopefully. We are already getting some amazing feedback on the track so I can’t wait for it to be released!
Tell us about the club scene in Slovenia… for a fairly small country, there’s a lot going on right?
Since pandemic hit, Slovenia was practically dead in terms of partying. That lasted for about a year and now things are finally coming back together. It’s definitely a good feeling being back on the stage. Summer started strong and I already have a lot of gigs lined up in my hometown as well as elsewhere, so I’m really excited for that.
UMEK is probably Slovenia’s highest profile electronic artists, but who else should be keeping any eye out for?
Yes, UMEK has been in the industry for a really long time now which is amazing to see, but new artists are coming on the scene quite fast now, and to be a part of that, really feels great. I’d say REDHEDII, Dino DZ and El Timo are a couple of artists here in Slovenia I really like and are worth looking out for.
Tell us about your studio set up… lots of hardware, or do you tend to go down the plugins route?
I always said that I don’t even need one piece of hardware, just give me a room with excellent acoustic treatment and I can pull of a great sounding record. And that’s true. Once you have a certain amount of needed knowledge, the only thing holding you back is acoustics. You can have unlimited amount of hardware but if the acoustics are not right, your sound is not right. Simple as that.
What, if anything, has the pandemic and lockdown taught you about yourself?
I personally think that there are two types of people. The ones that took the best out of the pandemic and ones that took out the worst. I certainly belong to the ones that took out the best. The amount of music, ideas and projects I made during the pandemic would never be possible to make if pandemic never started. I’m not saying I’m hoping for another one but for me it was just pure joy to sit in the studio all day and make music.