With their latest single “Hog Bass” on Short Circuit Records sitting atop the charts, the San Diego-based duo known as Sub Killaz check in with Kmag to hit us with a monster of a tune as a way of showcasing their fresh jump-up flavour. Big things in store for these heads in the new year no doubt so look out!
Introduce yourselves and where you’re hailing from in the world.
Sean: I’m Sean, he’s Brian. We’re from San Diego, California and we make drum & bass under the name Sub Killaz.
Give us a brief history of how you two came together. At what point did you guys get in the studio and realize you had something special?
Sean: We were friends and going to raves for a few years before Brian first learned how to mix. He got some tables, some jump up records, and a couple months later I was asking him to teach me.
Brian: This was around late 2007 and we began producing a few years after. Sub Killaz came about in 2013 after we began to take the production side more serious. We used to DJ out locally under a different name while we took our time learning how to produce our own tracks. Once we felt like we had something going we started sending some stuff out.
It’s hard to believe you’ve only been a production duo for a little over a year now. Talk about the past year and how quickly things have moved for you. I imagine a big part of that push was winning Levela’s “Ecstasy Love” remix competition. Had you been sending out tunes to people before that?
Brian: The first people we linked up with were actually Hoogs from 535 Recordings who put out our “Eyes Bloodshot” EP as well as Hokilla from Digital Terror Records who we’ve had a couple signings with since. They’re both from New York and had talked a few times before ever sending them tunes. Good people for sure.
Sean: As for that remix, it was our first UK signing, so it definitely got our foot through the door over there. The track actually came together really quick as we had the stems and they fit well with the tune we had been working on. We made a point to not listen to the original so we could do our own fresh take on it yet we never really expected to win.
You have a unique approach to jump-up vibes that is all your own. While you have a diverse sound overall, am thinking of dope minimal beats you guys roll out – is there a name for that style? When you guys are in the groove and rolling it out deep are you ever worried it’s not hard enough for the dancefloor? For me, it’s all about controlled aggression on those tracks – seems to build a nice tension.
Sean: Thanks, we’re just try not to fuck up, haha! I’d say if anything whatever style we have probably just stems from enjoying the whole spectrum of drum & bass. We may produce more jump-up style tunes but from what we’re influenced by, or what we like to mix, we definitely try not to approach our interests as just one style. It’s good to go into it opened minded and also accept that not every idea is gonna be a good one just cause you see it through.
Brian: And each tune is different. You never know what the end result may be. Like “Disturbia” for example: we originally made that tune for the producer Tyke. Not to sign or anything but just cause we’ve always enjoyed his work. He liked it and even put it in a mix. Then support started coming from guys like Annix, and Hedex, who ended up signing it to his label Sektion Recordings. It started getting a lot of notice to the point where it landed in the hands of Funtcase (thanks to our mutual friend DJ Construct in L.A.). Funny thing is that he had been on a hunt for it after originally hearing it the mix Tyke put it in.
Things have been moving fairly quickly with the releases starting to line up proper but you seem to have hit the sweet spot again with “Hog Bass.” This one has jumped to the top of the charts for you guys – what’s been the response behind the scenes?
Sean: The response with our release on Short Circuit has been great so far. It did a few days at number 1 on some daily charts which was pretty cool. Plus with support ranging from Dillinja, Callide, Kenny Ken, Ray Keith, Rowney & Propz, and a big list of others, we really couldn’t be more happy with that one.
Brian: We definitely just try and only put out tunes we ourselves like and think others will wanna dance to, though we’ll admit we’re picky about them. We still feel like we’re just getting the hang of it.
Since you guys are fairly new to the game I imagine you give lots of hope to the bedroom producers out there who weren’t far from where you were a year ago. Give us a sense of what kind of rig you guys are working on and any basic words of advice you’d give for those hoping to get their own tunes heard by the right people.
Brian: At my place we have Event Project 8 monitors, a KRK sub, and Axiom 25 MIDI. We use Logic Pro and recently picked up Xfer’s Serum for our main synths. For mixing there’s also 2 pioneer CDJ 800s, a Pioneer Dim 700 mixer plus Serato set up as well as a pair of Technics set aside that we’ve had since we started.
Sean: Yeah mixing can help get a good sense of what’s really something quality. Being able to fluidly mix your own stuff in and out of what’s considered professional production will really give you a good idea of where you’re skills are at. It also helps to send your tracks around to some friends, maybe pick your best two or three tracks and send them out to some producers that you personally think really know their shit.
I understand you’ve also got an EP lined up on Liondub International – should we be expecting that one to be on a jungle tip? I know Southern California has a strong jungle scene as well – talk a bit about that side of things and how you see that influencing your ongoing evolution as artists.
Brian: Yeah it’s five tracks and is set to come out sometime around the new year. We definitely wanted to mix it up and each tune is different but also hits the vibe of some of our signature sounds. We’re pretty happy with it and it was great to link up with Liondub International for this one, which we actually first began to work out when Liondub played out here a few months back.
Sean: Lately there’s been a lot of good talent coming out here which has led to some dope opportunities. We’ve gotten the chance to open up for names like Andy C, Heist, Annix, Drumsound & Bassline Smith, then guys like Adam F, Callide, Hybris. It’s been nuts! There’s a solid underground love for the music plus the handfuls of OG Junglists and supporters that have all played their parts in the foundation of this scene out here, still working hard and all giving us their support. It’s all love, which of course, helps us feel comfortable just doing our thing.
I understand you guys have a tune to give away to our readers as well? Set it up for us and let us know where we can stay tuned for more!
Brian: You can definitely keep up with us on all our social media sites and most of our new music gets posted up on our Soundcloud site – keep an eye out for a promo mix we’ll be dropping on there soon featuring a good chunk of brand new bits. We’ve also got a few things lined up with various labels including an EP on Digital Terror that we’re putting the final touches on.
Sean: The tune we’re giving away is called “Watch The Skies” – it was originally intended to be a part of a couple different releases though it never came out. It’s gone off in the clubs each time as we’ve been mixing it since we first made it in early 2014, thus thought it’d be a great one to share. Hope you guys dig it.