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Interview | Subp Yao

As Unchained’s very first artist releasing back in 2018, Subp Yao helped spearhead the label into the Bass Music community with his Backwitda EP. Part leftfield, part bangin’, his original tunes as well as his collabs with both Razat and Rachel Green made a mark for the label and set the scene of what to expect in the year ahead.

Unchained Co-Founder Daniel Power sat down with Subp Yao in his hometown of Holland to talk about his experiences with the label and what the future has in store!

DP: Hey mate! How’s life right now?
SY: Feelin’ good, thanks. Life is pretty cool to me!

DP: You were the first ever artist to release with Unchained back in August 2018.…

SY: Yeah, feelin honoured the label would kick off with my sounds, means the world to me. Seen many good releases after so that makes it even more special to me. As my own sound is not easy to pinpoint to one genre, I really like Unchained doing the same. Still you can hear a consistent sound thru all releases, that’s very cool to me.

DP: You have toured China twice now with us – once in 2018 and once in 2019. Any favourite experiences?

Last December really showed me how the electronic music scene has grown in China, and it’s fair to say Unchained is playing a big role in that, great work. Let me tell you some experiences which will stay with me the rest of my life. Oil Club is an amazing venue with a great staff and mind blowing Soundsystem, being able to do a workshop and a really good club night there with Sinistarr and Whiney last time was very very good. Dada [club] in Beijing was really good for me twice already, love those underground vibes. Mainly all club nights with Unchained DJ’s are sick as they really know how to build a night!

That’s all music related but besides that I fuckin love China, the food is insanely good, people are nice and there’s many beautiful places to go!

DP: Going on the VA now, the 12 track compilation opens up with your track “The Cause”. Tell us a little bit about that…

SY: Yeah it’s full circle, first release ever on Unchained, now opening this VA, love that. Made that tune after the first ever Unchained show in London with Itoa, Cesco, Arkaik, Lyndon Jarr, Immuno and a host of others! The venue is named ‘The Cause’, I know it’s very original ha!

DP: What does the rest of 2020 have in store for Subp Yao?

SY: First thing will be a new EP on Unchained, after that it’s my album on YUKU.
Working on a lot of music with a bunch of people. I think I will release a lot this year tbh. Got some really cool shows coming up too so let’s get it!

DP:  If you can give any advice to any followers here what would it be?
SY: Eat healthy! It really makes a change. And be nice to each other, please

DP: In your own country, Holland, how do you feel about Noisia moving on?

SY: I think it’s important to talk with a lot of respect about Noisia, their impact on electronic music is insane, so their mantle is something nobody gonna take for a while. They been crushing the dnb scene for so long and besides that they did so much for a lot of more unknown producers with their radio shows. They didn’t have to do that, but they did, same with their labels. They take risks and that’s something you don’t see that much when people become at a certain level of their career, inspiring! They even managed to do a proper goodbye, you don’t see that much either! I’m very lucky to have played at a couple of their events and did a release on Division.

DP: What is the difference playing to crowd in China vs Europe?

SY: The food after the show is so much better in China haha. Besides that I think the crowds I’ve had in China are happy when I play a bit harder compared to Europe. There’s also more drugs in Europe, parties are later in the night, it really makes a difference.

DP: Tell us about how you deal with your collabs and also what you are feeling in your production at the moment?

SY: One thing I’ve learned from the past is working with people I like as a person always goes smoother, this seems simple but I think it’s important to have a little understanding of people you work with. This goes for labels too. I think I can crank out a banger with a lot of producers but being happy afterwards is another thing, I really pick my people these days.  As for my production, it really goes all over the place to be honest, working on music with a lot of people, so I could answer this question different every day.

DP: What collabs would you like to do in the future?

SY: Like I said, I really wanna work with good people, so putting a name here who I don’t know in person would be a weird thing. But to answer and rely on the music I would say Mick Harris (Scorn, Napalm Death), Kevin Martin (The Bug, Techno Animal) and El-P. And then do a whole album with the four of us.

Subp Yao’s release on Unchained: The Year of the Rat can be found here: smarturl.it/yearoftherat


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