Substax

Substax

BandEDMR&B

Substax are electro soul futurists. Moving sonically from avalanche rolling breakbeat to epic downbeat this is a sound designed for the clubs, that also warms the lounge. Think deep production, spacious electro textures and curving vocals, from the land of the long white cloud.

Biography

Substax produce electro soul - a sound that reflects the expansive landscape of Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) and the inspiration of film and soundtrack music. It harks back to the genius of old school soul, Motown, Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder and moves it forward through modern production and other fusions.

Substax released their debut album ‘Electro Soul Plane’ in New Zealand in June 2005 through Sugarlicks Recordings Aotearoa. With its exceptional mixture of lush down tempo and straight up dance floor bizness, ESP has been critically acclaimed.

HISTORY

Farrands and Johnston formed Substax while based in London in 1997, starting out jamming in a studio complex they shared with acts such as Future Sound of London and 4 Hero. The name of the band was born here from the subsonics of early tracks and use of PA speaker stacks to rehearse. Claudia Gunn joined the act in late 2002.

Substax are also known for their multimedia collaborations with Janine Randerson involving live video performance, as at Interdigitate (Ak03) and soundtrack design for shows such as 15 Minute Wait (MIC – Auckland, Wellington), Sky Views (CCP, Melbourne) and the Gleem light festival.

Based in Auckland since 2000 Substax are pioneers of the local breakbeat movement. This has involved seminal collaborations and music award nominations with DJ Timmy Schumacher and production of the first local compilation in the genre through Pulp Magazine in December 2001. While the Substax sound has evolved further than the boundaries of breakbeat alone further collaborations with Schumacher are underway and breakbeat still forms part of the crucial DNA of the act.

ESP COLLABORATORS

On ‘Electro Soul Plane’ Substax collaborate with a number of underground artists. London’s MC Ster has worked with the Big Dada label and British ex-pat producer Nick Conner. Ster (aka Stephen Rhodes) features on the Rio vibes of Latin Tonic and tech-breaks of Make Noize. Conner provides trumpet and flugelhorn on the film noire downbeat track Headlights.

MC Solar Sistar (Lara Van Osenbruggen) turned heads as an Auckland finalist in this year’s Heineken Thirst Competition by mixing records and mc-ing at the same time. She adds her breakneck rhymes to the albums first single and video Starfish. Vocalists Mahinirangi Maika (Wellington) and Katrina Holmberg (Hawkes Bay) also add dimension and soul featuring on Starfish and Sky Rhodes respectively.

LIVE GIGS

The Substax live show is never predictable and varies in scale. Performances integrate live studio chaos and organics with original visuals c/o Randerson and Dreyer. The video is never a background attraction in a Substax show and members of the act are used to watching fans becoming transfixed by the mesmerizing video. Dreyer mixes video that has been designed to echo the mood, rythymn and ideas of each individual track. Themes move from high heels to riot footage to revolution and so on. ..

The Electro Soul Plane album includes three short videos of quite different live performances, which reflect the spectrum of the live show.

Substax have performed live at locations such as Galatos, the Studio, Fu, St James, Studio 9, home Bar, Beach Rd Hotel (Sydney), Home Bar, AUT Vesbar, the Splore Festivals and Resolution. Shows have varied from headlining club dates with the NZ breakbeat elite such as Baitercell & Schumacher and Minuit, to playing next to the deeper styles of DJ Phillipa, Rob Salmon, Rhian Sheehan and Pitch Black. Substax are renowned as a festival act where they have filled formerly empty tents, abused bass bins and continually surprised crowds with their full spectrum. The Substax performance at the BFM 2004 Summer Series, following on from Fat Freddies Drop, is evidence of how this spacious sound can wind a crowd to a frenzy.

Farrands and Johnston have also DJ-ed through out NZ at: Wyndham Bowling Club, Ink Bar, Pitch Bar, Carbon (Christchurch), Bath St (Dunedin), Sandwiches (Wellington), Buddha Lounge (Tauranga), Coast Bar, Galatos, and Studio 9 (Wellington).

PRESS/TV

Substax have had consistent support from NZ music tv and alternative radio over the past five years, and been featured in all of the major music magazines.

The videos for Endless Column, Scratch n Sniff and Starfish have lead the way. Other tracks have formed the soundtrack for television programmes. Starfish has found a particular appeal with producers of motorsport. Dennis Hoppa has recently been licensed for a forthcoming tv drama.

The act topped the Radioscope alternative music charts throughout Aotearoa/NZ with the tracks Scratch’n’Sniff (Substax vs Timmy Schumacher) – No 1 in July 2004, and Bubble D (unreleased) – No 2 in August 2003. They have also had a swag of tracks in the bFM top ten (bFM is Auckland’s original alternative music station www.95bfm.co.nz) with certain tracks receiving almost cultish support. Interstate Pimp received 7 months

Lyrics

Headlights

Written By: Claudia Gunn and Nick Farrands

Like a moth by the lamp, I am a headlight I’m a candle
Like a moth by the lamp, I am a headlight I’m a candle
Like a moth by the lamp, I am a headlight I’m a candle
I am a headlight I’m a candle

Like a thought that you lost, I am a virus getting underneath your skin
Letting all the water in
Letting all the water in
Letting all the water in

Before the darkness steals the day
Before the story betrays the play

Before the darkness steals the day
Before the story betrays the play

Like a moth by the lamp, I am a headlight I’m a candle

Like a moth by the lamp, I am a headlight I’m a candle
Like a song you forgot, I am the dream that never wakes up
I am a headlight I’m a candle
Like a thought that you lost, I am a virus getting underneath your skin
Letting all the water in
Letting all the water in
Letting all the water in

Before the darkness steals the day
Before the story betrays the play

Before the darkness steals the day
Before the story betrays the play

Before the darkness steals the day
Before the story betrays the play

Discography

Electro Soul Plane (Album)
Released June 7th 2005
Sugarlicks Recordings Aotearoa

Kingsland Electro (Compilation)
September 2004
Substax – 'Terradome'
Kingsland Electro Recordings/In Music

'She Dubs Me' Dub Asylum remix ep (Vinyl) –
June 2004
Substax versus Timmy Schumacher – Scratch n’ Sniff remix
Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times, 1 August 2004 describes the Schumacher/Substax mix of Scratch N Sniff as “speaker conecracking bass'n'breakbeat."

Jeff Neems, Waikato Times July 15 2004 gives the ‘She Dubs Me’ vinyl remix EP 5 stars – “Scratch N Sniff is brilliantly redone by Timmy Schumacher and Substax, the result a heavy-duty breakbeat workout which would make Freq Nasty or Adam Freeland quake in their boots. Cranked on a large PA, this particular remix would blow the freakin roof off.” This remix was nominated for best NZ remix at the 2004 B-net awards.

Pacific Ultra Sound 2017 (Compilation)
June 2004
Substax – 'Dennis Hoppa'
Sugarlicks Recordings Aotearoa
Ania Glowacz, NZ Musician describes this album as ‘A superb introduction to some top Aotearoa talent blowing up – or about to’

Grey Lynn Festival (Compilation)
Nov 2003
Compiled and mixed by Rob Salmon
Substax – 'Sky Rhodes'
Sane Records
George FM’s program director; Thane Kirby rated Sky Rhodes as one of the top tracks of 2003. (georgefm.co.nz)

Return of the Booomshwack (Compilation)
July 2003
Substax – 'Beats Slow'
Kog Transmissions
“ Substax picks up the funk with a bassline reminiscent of Bug Powder Dust at double speed”
Released in Australia 3 Nov 2003. http://www.inthemix.com.au

MP3's can be accessed online at
www.amplifier.co.nz
keyword: substax
'teleporter trouble'
'interstate pimp'
'scratch n sniff' (remix)

all tracks off the substax album 'electro soul plane' can also be sampled at amplifier

Set List

Substax generally play a 1 to 2 hour set depending on the venue and the event. Recently the act have been playing out tracks from the 'Electro Soul Plane' album but they have a repertoire of a further two albums of unreleased songs. Substax play all original material.

Example Set List #1 (1hr club set)

1- Intro
2- Dennis Hoppa Remix (2nd Generation mix - unreleased)
3- Latin Tonic
4- Originate (unreleased)
5- Columbia
6- Crunch (Substax remix - unreleased)
7- Sky Rhodes
8- Brand New Retro (unreleased)
9- Starfish Remix (Rob Warner/Josh Webb mix)
10- The Evil Song (unreleased)

Example set list #2 (1 1/2hr downbeat live set)

1- Intro
2- Memory (unreleased)
3- Moon Smooz (unreleased)
4- The River (unreleased)
5- Dirt on Detroit (unreleased)
6- The Ocean (unreleased)
7- Drifter
8- Last DJ (unreleased)
9- Red Red (live improv)
10- Headlights
11- Beats excerpt (live improv)
12- Dennis Hoppa
13- Flicker (unrelea