Sub Focus

Returns with one of the anthems of the year

It’s a groggy Nick Douwma Dan Prince wakes up at his home in London on Thursday afternoon. One of the youngest, no – biggest stars of the current drum n’ bass and dustup scenes is just back from Coachella. This weekend sees the release of the second single off his hotly anticipated new album and a very large appearance at Spectrum’s warehouse party in London alongside Chase & Status and Disclosure. DMCWORLD gives him a Red Bull…

“Hey Dan, I’m just waking up here. I have terrible jet lag after getting back from America on Tuesday and I only dropped off at 9am this morning”

It’s cool Nick. I didn’t sleep at all last night either, however I couldn’t switch off as I am in the middle of last minute wedding plans choosing hymns and button holes, a little bit different to your reason for feeling like shit. So how was Coachella?

“Heh heh! It was amazing, I don’t think you can get a more perfect setting for a festival than theirs. I hadn’t been before,I’d had heard all about it but was totally blown away. I did a bunch of gigs around it as it’s a two weekend event, so I went up to San Francisco, played with Nero in Los Angeles and then Denver. It was all good.”

So the new incredible single ‘Out The Blue’ coming out at this weekend, how far down the line are you with the new album?

“I am quite a way through it, not 100% done and dusted but it’s shaping up really nicely.”

How does the sound of this album compare to your previous ones?

“It’s a lot more diverse than the last two. A mixture of drum n’bass, dustup and house – I have even been doing some mid tempo stuff so there is quite a variety. It’s a lot more song based rather than the club stuff. I see instrumental tracks now as kinda strange, I feel a track has to have some form of human element in it for me now.”

You admit you like working with people under the radar, who are the guests you’ve been collaborating so far on this long player…

“As all of the tracks aren’t complete I’m keeping my cards close to my chest as regards the full line up of guests. I’ve worked with the Alpines and some stuff with Kele Okereke from Bloc Party but I’m not saying too much just yet. I’m actually not that bothered about getting loads of big names, my number one priority is getting interesting names. Which I think I have done.”

How old where you when you started to get into music?

“I suppose I was about 10 or 11 but it wasn’t dance music. I was into rock music, people like Nirvana, it was a few years after that artists such as The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers grabbed my attention, they were using guitars in their music which was important to me and still is. I also then started to listen to a lot of jungle and then someone played me ‘Incredible’ by M Beats and I couldn’t believe how different it was.”

A massive gig for London next Saturday at the Spectrum Great Suffolk Street Warehouse where you will be DJing alongside Chase and Status, Red Light and Disclosure – you’ve played for this crew before though?

“Yes I have, I’ve done a couple of their events up in the Midlands, but this is my first in London for them. What I’m really looking forward to is DJing at the venue, it’s nice to do a warehouse setting, I’ve not done one in a while…”

Will you be road-testing any new tracks from the album?

“Definitely. I always play a load of brand new stuff in my sets, it’s the thing I enjoying doing the most – playing new stuff especially my own to check the reaction. I have a whole load of new material ready for Spectrum…”

How does a London crowd differ from the States?

“There is quite a big difference really. They’re not that keen on the mellower drum n’ bass in America, they like it harder. It’s fun to play to the crowds over there though, it enables me to concentrate on different areas of music. I can play more house, more drumstep. In the UK it’s more of the jungle sound and older UK stuff. It’s nice to be able to go around the world playing different sets in different territories.”

The video for ‘Falling Day’ was made up of festival footage – what are the big live dates in the diary for this summer already?

“There’s a whole bunch of great festivals in my diary that I’m looking forward to. I love playing to the big crowds, especially when I know they may not really know my stuff, it’s like I have a mission to convert them. The ones that stand out are Creamfields, Global Gathering, Lovebox and towards the end of the summer, Bestival which I love. I think with the omission of Glastonbury on the calendar this year, Bestival is going to be the biggest UK festival this year.”

I’m ashamedly a Secret Garden Party virgin who is going for the first time this year, you played there last year didn’t you?

“I did and it was brilliant. I was kind of sceptical about playing there but loved it. They’ve got the size of the event perfect, you can actually meet people there unlike Glastonbury which takes you an hour to trudge across the site to find people. And the lake with the boats and stage was great too.”

March saw you headline the UKF Bass Culture event in Brixton – your biggest ever headline date in London with a brand new live show. Tell us about the new live set up…

“The show eventually went really well, there was a few technical problems we had to overcome but we got there in the end. From a visual point of view it’s a lot more interesting and is based on a three dimensional version of my old show. The new version is a lot more open and you can really see into it, you can see me playing the keyboard, electronic drums and I’ve now got these motion sensors which I can control the sound with by moving my hands in the air. The lighting is all done live as well which has been quite difficult to get right but I think it’s brilliant we are not using pre-programmed lights. It all came together even though some of the equipment gave me a heart attack, like one of the iPads freezing with thirty seconds to go, but things like that won’t happen again.”

What do you prefer, playing live to a huge auditorium of thousands or a dark sweaty low ceiling club to a few hundred?

“They have both got their own vibe. Looking back at the Brixton show it was amazing, but sometimes I tend not to enjoy the bigger production events as I am always worrying whether something is going to go wrong. And I do enjoy seeing the people’s reactions close up in the smaller space, they are both different and both have their pros and cons.”

Who are your DJ heroes back in the day?

“Probably the big guys who were starring at all of the raves I used to go to. Andy C, Fabio & Grooverider stand out a mile.”

I heard you were checking out the Maccabees album recently, what other new artists and new tunes have you been getting into recently?

“I’m really interested in what Disclosure are doing at the moment and I really enjoyed the Major Lazer ‘Get Free’ track. All sorts of different things.”

And finally, what are the plans release wise after this single…

“I’m just finishing it at the moment, as I said the album is very close to finishing, I just have to finesse it!”

Sub Focus ‘Out The Blue’ ft. Alice Gold is out April 29th on Mercury Records.
Official video –

LWE presents… Spectrum Warehouse Party

Saturday May 5th 2012

Great Suffolk Street Warehouse

Great Suffolk Street

London SE1


Chase & Status, Sub Focus, Redlight, Disclosure, BrEaCh and more…