TF Spotlight: Sub:liminal’s Alluring Drum & Bass

Enchanting soundscapes, crisp drums, and piercing emotional depth is the name of the game and Sub:liminal is the master of it.

Hailing from Oradea in Romania, Alex Cobe aka Sub:liminal is arguably the finest export coming out of his country. His passion for music started at a very young age by learning to play the guitar before eventually finding his love for drum & bass in 2008.

After attending underground parties and being inspired by the likes of Technimatic and Netsky, Sub:liminal started his journey into music production in 2018 and landed his first release on Fokuz Recordings. Since then, he has released his soulful style of drum & bass on the most revered label in Liquid DnB while receiving support from titans like High Contrast, Doc Scott, Muffler, DJ Aphrodite, Dexcell, A-Sides, Philth, Melinki, Random Movement.

His latest tune on Pyxis’ Headsbass has been a resounding success with plaudits coming from across the scene. Following this release, we had a chat with the Romanian producer about his inspirations, his style of music, the DnB scene in his country and lots more!

BEGINNINGS

Sub:liminal started his journey as a music producer in 2018. However, his learning curve as a drum & bass head and student of the genre began nearly a decade back from his debut. Here’s what he had to say about his gateway moment into DnB as a listener and a producer.

“So, before I started getting into music production, I had a few years back when I was heavily involved in the local drum & bass scene as a listener. I then took up mixing the genre as a DJ in 2012 or 2013 and, there wasn’t so much information on the Internet on how to make tunes so one-on-one tutorials was another way of learning to produce music.

I was always close to music production in some capacity but actually, after many years of DJing and self-learning, I assumed the producer hat in 2018. I had learned the guitar and the piano when I was growing up, and my knowledge of music theory only helped my cause when I started producing. So yeah, you could say that was the gateway moment of my move from a DnB head to a producer.

I’ve also been taking a lot of one on one with different big heads, like Technimatic, HumaNature, Phaction, so I kept learning infinitely new things from different producers and I’m super grateful for all education I have received.

For a repertoire as wide as Sub:liminal’s that brings several influences from the delicate side of the genre and one that is incredibly difficult to reinvigorate, we were keen to know who inspired the Oradea-based producer.

I think my biggest influence would be Technimatic and after that, Netsky. Both of them have been huge influences on the way I have made music. There are a lot more now, but I think these two made me think about drum & bass production the way I do. They made me think – Okay, I would love to make a track like this or maybe closer to that because it’s not okay to copy. We’re talking about originality here in music production, and it’s very hard to be original, but I hope I’ve managed to do that.”

INSPIRATIONS AND WATERSHED MOMENT

After starting his excursions into DnB music production, the watershed span of his career came in the last 18 months when he released his music on the most revered labels in his Liquid DnB realms like Fokuz Recordings, Pilot Records, Galacy Records and his latest tune on Headsbass which has received an outpour of appreciation. We asked him how we would like to describe the last year and some that he has had.

“Well, it’s been amazing, man. I’m super grateful that labels like to Fokuz Recordings, to Pilot Records, to Galacy Records, to Four Corners music and to Liquid Series, for releasing the music that I believe in. I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without my wife and the support of my family because they always supported what I’m doing, and I think it’s a very important fact that your family and your wife and your siblings will actually support what you do.

And also balancing this stuff with work, with life, because I also have a job, I have a PhD, I have a wife and parents and family and I need to find that balance point where I can handle it all. It’s very hard sometimes. Now I could say that three times a week I’m going to the studio and trying to be productive and creative and doing what I love.”

Sub:liminal also spoke at length about his appreciation for Pyxis’ Beats In Mind project which has been helping and focusing on the mental welfare of DnB artists.

“Talking about my tune on Pyxis’ Beats In Mind imprint, which is a cause I strongly support; the response to the tune has been overwhelming, honestly. Her Headsbass project is something that I’ve followed also for quite an amount of time. I have seen how steadily the project has grown in its stature and how important its voice is for artists. She’s doing a great job there.

It’s not only for the artists, I think it’s very important for the people; the people we’re trying to help. And I really hope that the impact on these people is huge. It helped me back in the day and I hope It will continue to help people out from now on.”

DRUM & BASS IN ROMANIA

Drum & bass despite its roots being in the UK during its formative had already spread its wings across the rest of Europe with its infectious sound and Romania was no stranger to it. Sub:liminal like you would expect was a part of it during his teens but he has an interesting take on how big the scene in his country was even during the late 90s and early 2000s.

If you want, we can go on for this all day. Because regarding your question, it’s very interesting that you’ve been asking this and I love talking about the scene here.  

Around 1998 and 2001, you could already see DnB events and they were happening in Timișoara which as far as I know, was like the force city in Romania hosting drum & bass events and along with local talent, getting proper legends playing at events there.

 It was a festival called TMBase and it had huge artists playing the festival. There are so many other cities where the scene was popping off week in week out, and I was the by-product of its strong foundations. So yeah, the DnB scene has been quite big here and I hope it continues to get bigger.

PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR

The Romanian producer’s secret to his productions has been his ability to time his releases well and he had a clear vision of how he wants the rest of the year to look like with his music.

“I have a few singles coming up during the rest of the year. I have a collaboration with Syren Rivers which will be a part of his debut album on Fokuz Recordings. Just wait for the album to come out; it’s a vibe. Then I have a remixes EP coming out which has Silence Groove in it and to close to my year, I have a collaboration with Minos who I worked with previously on his album on Fokuz as well and it was remixed by Bert H. Really really looking forwards to these ones.”

Listen to Sub:liminal’s full discography here:

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