DMCWORLD checks in for a world exclusive with Dutch producer Subp Yao as he releases his new album ‘Infra Aqual’ – an hour long journey inspired by the world that exists beneath the surface of the ocean. The album is submerged in influences from leftfield bass, future beats, dub and soundsystem music with intricate sound design and atmospheric production, whilst 30% of the profits of the album will be donated to ocean cleanup charities. Dive in…
Hello, thanks for speaking with us. For anyone not familiar with you, please introduce yourself and what you do.
Hey, thanks for reaching out! My name is Subp Yao, I’m a producer based in Heerlen, the Netherlands. I make all kinds of music as long as there is a bunch of bass, but I started as a hip hop producer, I think you can hear this in all of my music.
Tell us about your new album ‘Infra Aqual’, how it came about and it’s inspiration of life under the sea?
This album was inspired entirely by the world that exists parallel to ours, beneath the surface of the ocean. While it was the appalling pollution clogging bodies of water across the globe that originally motivated me to create this work, it was what I discovered in my research for the record that really blew me away. The unimaginable depth, the infinite darkness, the undiscovered areas, and otherworldly species, it all really struck me.
You’re donating 30% of profits to ocean cleanup charities. Was it important to you to draw more notice to this area?
It’s clear that as a species we’re in the process of destroying our earth, our habitat, at the moment, especially in terms of polluting the planet’s waters. We send people into space, but the deepest parts of the ocean remain unexplored. I’m luckily in the position to make art out of all my thoughts about the ocean, so to give something back, YUKU and myself thought it is nice to give a share of the profits directly to an ocean cleanup charity. We’ve picked a charity that’s focused on developing new technologies to deal with the problems, particularly around plastic pollution, affecting the oceans. We all have a responsibility to give something back to protect the planet that has nurtured us.
Warrior Queen guests on ‘Mad And Mean’, how did you hook up, what was it like working with her, and what did she bring to the track?
First of all, I’ve been a huge fan of Warrior Queen for years, one of the first things I’ve heard from her must be the song with Vex’d. The remix with Skream, her work with The Bug, all love that stuff. When I was working on the instrumental I was looking for a vocal snippet and I stumbled on this little sample saying ‘And she was a warrior queen’. When that instrumental was in an early demo state, I contacted Sam Binga cause he’s been working with her before to ask for her contact details, he was kind enough to share that with me. From there it went super easy, she is so nice and professional to work with, she sent a demo first and when I liked that, she recorded the final version in the same week. I’ve been working and mostly mixing on the tune forever since and right now I’m really proud of that song.
How did you hook up with YUKU and how has it been working with them?
YUKU is everything I can ask for as a label, they really helped to bring my vision to life. Finding the right people to do art, pressing it on vinyl, mastering, they are really helpful. I’ve been sending almost all my early demos to them, since we discussed doing an LP, and I really see it as a collaborative album with them. The whole roster is amazing and all artists are really cool to work with, so many of them are working together on music at the moment. I’m really happy to be on the label!
What instrument or piece of studio equipment couldn’t you live without?
I really like my Ableton Push, it helps me to bust ideas out so fast. While I was making this LP, I started to fill my first modular case, which is full now, sound design sessions became so much more fun at the moment. Recently I bought an Elektron Analog Heat, it’s not on ‘Infra Aqual’ but it will be on everything after that LP, it really helps me to get a good sound pretty fast.
What have been the biggest influences in your career so far?
Music wise it is probably 2005-2007, early dubstep alongside the beat era of that time. Myspace era that is. So much heat has been made in that time, I think it was the birth of two really cool genres. For me personally it became clear I could make beats and don’t need an MC for it to be a song.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
It must be a really simple advice but it works for every aspect in life; be nice to other people. It’s really that simple but it goes a long way!
What are three new albums you’d recommend someone to listen to?