In the last few months, our Artist Of the Month series has featured some of the most scintillating and legendary talents. And for our next edition, we have one of the most exciting producers coming out of the bass music fraternity in The Netherlands, Subp Yao.
Haunting atmospheres, water-tight basslines and bone-crushing drops are some of the ways the Dutchman likes to go about his music. Since his debut in 2011, Subp Yao has carved out a niche that has seen him take his music to imprints like Saturate Records, MethLab Recordings, Unchained Recordings, Flexout Audio, YUKU and many more.
Now 11 years deep, Subp Yao forms a pivotal figure in Europe’s dynamic bass music compass where he is bringing music that is a blend of trap, bass, hip-hop, UK garage used in different tempos and causing a real movement in the scene.
The diverse producer has begun the year in strong fashion with a banger on Unchained Asia, followed by an intricate work of art and his 4th studio album – ‘Flana’ – which Subp Yao says is a “body of work around the concept of taking a stroll and absorbing your surroundings while travelling inward and thinking/feeling things deeply while experiencing the environment you’re physically passing through at the same time.”
Subp Yao’s journey in music began with a persistent need to discover and devour new tunes, styles and genres, which led him to buy a cassette recorder where he would mix and try different combinations of his favorite tracks.
The defining moment came when Subp Yao’s friend introduced him to some music production material, and there was no looking back since. His extraordinary ability to bring various genres and tempos into his music ensured that he landed his debut release on Saturate Reocrds followed by Doggtown Records and Last Gang which followed in quick succession.
Looking at the bubbling talent on offer, Subp Yao partnered with names like Addison Groove, Astronautalis, Rachel Green, Razat, and Dayle for remixes and collaborations, with support coming from the celebrated artists like DJ Shadow, Noisia, Low End Theory (DJ D-Styles & GasLampKiller) and Machinedrum.
Gradually Subp Yao’s music started getting widespread attention, and labels like Flexout Audio, Division Recordings and Unchained Recordings quickly snapped him up to showcase his brutal style of bass music. That’s not it; the Dutch producer’s tracks have also been championed on some major radio stations, namely BBC1, 3FM, StuBru, Rinse and shared by renowned music platforms such as 22 tracks, XLR8R and GenerationBass.
Since his debut in 2011, Subp Yao has racked up singles and EPs on various multi-genre labels and the most recent adventure comes on YUKU where he has released music before, for an absorbing 12 track album called ‘Flana’.
The last 2 years have seen Subp Yao deliver two incredible albums but for us, and his latest album on YUKU is beyond special. The album represents a body of work that is pensive, riveting and aggressive in perfect phases, but it is the perfect representation of Subp Yao’s journey as a producer.
The album begins with tracks like ‘Wrong Path, ‘Drift’, ‘Like Me’ and ‘And Then’, which take us back to the early Subp Yao sound which had hints of Lo-Fi with well timed swatches of energetic analog elements.
‘Talk’, ‘You Can Do’, ‘Broken’, and ‘Styx’ all house the Subp Yao sound his listeners would recognize in a heartbeat; deep, emotional, yet intricate with razor sharp bass and drum work. The rest of the tracks are more like an introspective reflection of the way he has described his album, which is like ‘taking a stroll and absorbing your surroundings’.
But overall, the album is a heavily themed work of art that constantly reminds of the trademark Subp Yao sound that has a typical uplifting palette. This time, however, in a far more playful territory, that is captured through natural surroundings and then filtered through technology.
That brings us to the end of what Subp Yao is all about. In the next piece we will bring you and in-depth chronicle of the intricacies that the producer uses to make his music fresh, haunting, yet fascinating.