SUBDUE is a French electronic duo based out of Belgium. They’ve been really tearing it up in the music world with their glitch hop / neuro sound, and I was lucky enough to chat with them about their sound, and what they think the label, ‘neuro,’ means to them…
I asked them about their origins, and they told me they were coming from the drum ‘n bass and IDM scenes..
“In the early 2000s we discovered Bad Company, Cause4Concern, Stakka & Skynet, Rascal & Klone, and fell in love with the basslines and deep, dark ambiance. We have also been influenced by artists like Noisia, Spor, Phace, Prolix and many more – but, also, artist from other styles, like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares, Flashbulb, and Amon Tobin. We are also big fans of cinematic orchestration, and we were trying to incorporate cinematic introduction into our music.”
I went on to ask them about what neuro is, and where it originated..
“Basically, neuro begans with DnB, but many artists like us started to use these sounds in other genres, as you can see in glitch hop and dubstep (with artists like Noisia, KOAN Sound, MakO, Culprate, just to name few). We think neuro is a sub-category that can be applied on every genre, as it’s based on how the reese / basslines are modulated with a funky movement applied on it.”
I’ve noticed a lot of the 100 – 110 bpm style tracks coming into vogue.. funkier glitch-hoppish stuff and also 100 or 110-dubsteppish stuff.. like KOAN Sound.. or, some of Glitch Mob’s older stuff.. I asked them if this was where the neuro style began.
“Those sounds started getting be more popular, and that’s very good, but we don’t really know when glitch hop stuff started. Glitch Mob, KOAN Sound or Opiuo undoubtedly pushed the genre where it is now, and many new artists arrive everyday, so we think it’s gonna be much more popular in the near future.”
The duo’s ‘Neurologic EP’ is astounding, and I was curious about what they were going for, musically.
“With the tune ‘Neurologic’ we wanted to make a kind of a tribute to the old neuro DnB, but with a dubstep-type of tune. It’s a 140 bpm half-beat, like many other dubstep tunes, but we tried, on this one, to put a rollin’ beat like you might hear in drum and bass. The rythm is something dubstep purists will probably not enjoy, and it’s sometimes funny to see people asking if it is DnB or not.
“For ‘Black Stamps’ we started with the same idea of a tribute to the ambiance you can find in old DnB (like bad Company…) but this time with a glitch hop/neuro-hop tune.
I then asked them if they would be so kind as to explain to the musicians that will be reading this interview what types of sounds they’re fond of in their mixing – that clawing bass in Black Stamps, it sounds so nice, and I wondered if they could give us any clues or hints as to what that was… and also, if there is any particular technique or mindset they have when going into a mix – specifically, mixing all of those funky/raw-sounding synths together.
“We like a lot of differents types of sounds but as you heard we have sort of a preference for neuro. We try to create the best sounds we can, and we work hard for that. We take the time it needs to make them more personal.
“For our basses, we often start with saw oscillators and we try to modulate them as much as we can/want with some filters, flangers, phasers, EQ, distortions …anything the sound needs. Then, we resample them and restart again and again to get the sound we want. Layering is also a way to get more complex sounds. There is no magic tips/tools to make good sounds, you just need to hear what you’re doing and think what the sound needs to be better. You just need to experiment a lot…
“However, making good sounds doesn’t mean your mixdown is automatically gonna sound good. It’s more complicated than that. It’s sometimes quite hard to make them work well together.
“We don’t really have favorites vsti/synthesizers, we are using many of them, and each one can makes some good sounds ( Abino 3, Massive, Sylenth, Yamaha DX7, Access VirusTi, Roland Sh-201…) but we also really like using analog hardware gear and synths, like compressors, filters, eqs, or a little moog phatty, and the Korg MS20.
So there you have it. Some insight into the neuro sound, and also, a great new EP by SUBDUE!
They added one last piece of advice near the end, concerning the use of sub-bass…
“To put your mind at ease, an important thing to have is tolerant neighbors… lol.”
You can get their new EP now on Beatport! And also, hit up their fan page on Facebook!