Based in the UK, Dan Subtifuge is a total allrounder in the music business, producing and DJ’ing high quality jungle and reggae music, that has been gaining critical acclaim on a worldwide level.
The list of Dan Subtifuge’s achievements grows daily and we interview him to find out a little more....
Q1) Thanks for your time out! 2017 has been really busy for you, can you tell us what you have been up to so far this year?
A) Where do I begin, this year I have been focused on all sorts, managing a heavy work load of release with releasing 3 LPs over the year on Totally Dubwise Recordings (Mad Russian,Mad Russian Remixed,Riddim Up3) as well as working on managing another LP with London vocalist 2Nice for early 2018 as well as Singles with Artists such as Daddy Freddy, Blackout Ja as well as a few rising Reggae vocalist from around the world. On top of that, I have been compiling Dubwise sample pack with a few other contributors from the Label which will include 1GB of single hits/short samples including Bass / Fx / Live Guitar & Brass / Drums / Soundclash Samples and various other bits for making anything that is as at all Reggae infused.
Beyond that, I have been doing a few remixes here and there, some for the Label and others such as the Marvellous Cain classic 'The Hit Man' which came out as part of an LP in July, but have spent most of this year more focused on trying to raise the bar with the Label.
Q2) Your label Totally Dubswise consists of Reggae. Jungle and Drum & bass music. starting out with small names and now you're working with some huge artists. Can you go back to when you started the label and how you have built it up?
A) Yeah the idea was actually a lot smaller at first, I had some vocals of my own, and my first few releases on other Labels had done really well, so just seemed logical that I just self-release the vocal tracks I had and do releases with remixes by other producers that I had been working with or who later contacted me.
I had however never really expected it to snowball as exponentially as it did, although I had kind of set out a 5 year plan it kind of all just seemed to fall into place once it really got going, well I say that it took ALOT of hard work and has literally been my entire focus for the last X-amount of years, but it is a labour of love and I think that shows in what I /We at the Label do which is a key part of our success.
Q3) What's your preferred DJ set up?
A)To be fair I use CDJs now, but used to be massively into my vinyl, when I learned I learned on some battered old Soundlab belt-drives, then worked my way up to direct drives,then that obligatory 1200's followed by the CDJs, I believe it is more a bout selection personally so I am not so bothered about the technology, I have seen people do insane things with 2 tape decks.
Q4) What DAW are you on and how do you organize your workflow?
A) I am currently on reason 9.5 which I am loving, it has made it immensely easy to manage projects, and has now got VST compatibility so given me some interesting new techniques to learn, which is one of the best things about music you are always learning and adapting as the software or hardware you use moves forward.
As for how I tend to organise tracks I tend to have a system with the main mixer, running bus mixers from that, then I have a master mixer for each layer of sounds, Bass / Vocals / Drums / Instruments etc, this makes it really easy to mix the tracks down as gives me multiple control points meaning everything stays well in the green and sounds nice and clean.
Beyond that it is down to the idea, I might have a piano hook in my head and start from there, or a drum break, so there is no real formula, in fact, if you put most of my personal productions next to each other there is no particular sound beyond the Reggae Influence, I also on occasions have been known to make Liquid / Tech and Rollers as well, so I tend to just make whatever happens to come to mind at the time.
Q5) You have remixed for the likes of Danny T and Parly B, Marvellous Cain, Dubmatix and various others. Which remix would you say has been your most successful?
A) This is a good question, I guess it depends on what you mean by success, I would say my favorite remix was the remix of Ted Ganung ft Khari Kill 'Sirens', which Billy Daniel Bunter called one of his favorite tunes of 2014 which kind of blew my mind as he plays an unreal variation of sounds and knows his music!
Q6) Ganja Dadda featuring Mr Williams was really successful and was remixed by Marcus Visionary & others. Did you expect it to do so well?
A) To be honest it was one of those things where you know you have some something good from the get go, but you don't know how good until a while down the road, I mean the original release did amazingly, but have Kenny Ken ask to put one mix on his 25 years of Jungle CD, as well as Jungle Cakes asking to feature it on Jungle Cakes Welcome to the Jungle was unreal, was one of those tunes that for most of a few years you would of heard it dropped at most Jungle nights which for me is mind blowing really, I wouldn't go as far as calling it anthemic but it is a tune most people know and is still likely to go off when dropped in the dance.
Q7) Your labels Riddim Up LP was the number one best selling reggae compilation in the 6-month sale chart on Juno Download and you have had numerous other high charters. How has the reggae community taken to you as a newcomer?
A)I have actually been really lucky in some ways I think, at the same time mainly just deal with people as though they are people, and just by having a good work ethic and being genuine and taking what I do seriously, so I think we are pretty well respected between both music scenes really which is really nice, if you take what you do seriously, and love it people tend to also take what you do seriously so that is one of the many mantras I live by.
Q8) Jungle remixes are also popular, so what's been the best selling jungle track on your label so far.
A) Oh that is a good question, one that would take a bit of digging, but I can say that the most successful Jungle release so far on the Label was probably Ganja Dadda across all the various remixes, I believe it is also the best selling Reggae track on the Label so far too!
Q9) You were nominated best break through producer at the We Love Jungle awards in 2016. How did that impact your career?
A)Yeah, that was certainly unexpected, and also really quite cool to be nominated along side some of the other producers who also featured.
As for how it impacted my career I don't think people really take the whole award thing all that seriously, I mean it is good for marketing, but even to just get recognition is kind of winning, after all the winners change yearly, if you can stay consistent and relevant then you are winning really.
Q10) You recently remixed the jungle classic "Hitman" featuring Cutty Ranks. How did that link up occur and are you doing any new projects?
A)Yeah, I was indeed one of the lucky lot that got to feature on the Hitman Remix LP. I had done a few bits on Yardrock a few years ago and so I think Marv had a kind of mental blue print and just contacted the producers that he thought would come with an interesting mix, I imagine he probably was expecting more of a Dubwise mix from me but I like to surprise people on occasions so I made a slower 97 style Roller.
Q11) Kenny Ken has been a huge supporter, tell us about that?
A) Ah, Kenny, Kenny has been a massive support, completely unprecedentedly too.
One day he just contacted me out of the blue asked for some tunes to play and if he could remix a bootleg I had done as a free download for the label, we had given the original away as our very first release/freebie and so seemed fitting that a year later we give out the Kenny Ken VIP as a 1st Birthday freebie so that is what we decided to do, we also on occasions do shows together when I do Label Take Overs so have a pretty good working rapport.
Q12) If you could collab with one person who would it be and why?
A)I have to say probably Potential Badboy, mainly as Chris is a legend both musically and just in how down to earth he is. Easy one of the soundest and most interesting people I have met through music.
Q13) If you could take one tune on a desert island, to only ever listen to again what would it be and why?
A)Only one tune?, good question, Probably Ganja Dadda, just as I never seem to get bored of it.
Q14) What are you drinking at the bar if I see you out?
A)Crazy as it sounds I would be on the water!
Q15) You're quite an opinionated person but you have a lot of deep values in life. Where's that come from and, as a person, what do you strive to achieve within your moral compass?
A) Oh this is a deep one.
To be fair I just think if people do not like me or take offense then it is down to them, the offense is taken thus words have no power unless you give them power. Don't get me wrong I won't intentionally go out my way to offend people and I am pretty open-minded, I just like to have interesting conversations and tend to keep people with a varying perspective around me as keeps me on my toes but also keeps me learning and adapting. I might not agree with everything some people have to say but I can find something to learn about from every single person.
As for my moral compass I generally just think it is good to be positive, try and help others better themselves and generally just inspire people, beyond that I have a pretty live and let live attitude.
Q16) What's up for you next?
A) Oh, now that would be telling. However, I can say you can expect much more of the same from us, with a hugely busy schedule planned all the way into 2018, so there are loads of goodies to come!
Q17) What do you think of our new website?
A) I Think the website is great, an awesome platform that is informative and up-to date, easy to navigate and generally user-friendly which is just what you want really!
Q18) What's the plan for the label moving forward?
A)More of the same, we have got a huge release with Daddy Freddy out in 2 weeks, then from there, we have Mad Russian Remixed LP, with Vocals from Steppa Style & a host of other vocalists including General Levy, Johnny Osbourne, Carlton Livingston with remixes from the likes of Sappo, Jamie Bostron, Jungle Citizens and many more. Then there is Riddim up 3 which is the 3rd end of year LP which features a huge selection of new material, remixes and some of our favorite releases from the last few years, then going into 2018 we have a LP in the works with 2Nice, featuring a whole host of huge names,remixes and new material, plus a whole host of other bits.
Q19) Good luck with the house move, any dates yet?
A) The hope is to me moved by the end of September but I imagine will take some time to settle/get everything sorted after moving, but looking forward to kitting out the new studio space that is for sure!
Q20) Any shouts and thanks?
A) So many, firstly to Top Cat, as he has been a motivation & inspiration to me from since I was 18 and has always pushed me to do more. Kenny Ken & Potential Badboy. Every one I have worked with, I would be here writing forever but they know who they are! The entire Label Roster who are like my Musical Family, everyone and any one who has bought our music, shared our music or shown us love in any way shape or form, the people that doubted me (and inspired me to better myself) and my beautiful partner Hema! Im sure there are loads of other people I have missed, so big shouts and respect to everyone!