Q&A with Submerse of Project: Mooncircle
Tokyo’s Submerse is an exceptionally gifted producer, whose textures and rhythm sequences have created a new branch into the modern ethos of electronica. Influences intact, there is something very special about this producer when you hear his colors in layered schemes, the fullness of his mixes and the vibrant and delicate nature of where he places instrumentation. It’s a delightfully dark yet beautiful sound that takes me to the beginning era of Flying Lotus, Kutmah, DJ Nobody and many more that germinated the beat movement in collective states during the beginning of the 2000’s. When we were sent Submerses Algorithms and Ghosts – scheduled for release this March on the illustrious Project: Mooncircle record label in Europe – it was an immediate realization of truths that formed a much deeper appreciation around his legacy. The mixing was now pushed to the highest levels and it’s afforded him an entirely new sense of dimension and depth that makes his music highly euphoric and uplifting. Organic and exploratory dance music is what we have come to see it as.
With Submerse, you are thrown into a world where it goes far beyond duality when listening to this new record from front to back. It’s a garden of sorts where songs have a distinct lineage of electronic type, not just note structure. Lush samples of bells, stringed instrumentation, vocals and other exterior components melt into the music to create a results with hard hitting beats and overtones that drip everywhere. I feel like I am watching a Dali painting transforming before my eyes and eventually being sucked into a portal of mysterious light where my body is then suspended. This is visual and mood music that has all the right rhythm sections to keep it moving for those that love the dance floor. Bass heavy, sleek and vibrant cosmic beat music for the 21st century.
Submerse is an artist we really believe in and see becoming even more of a premiere producer around the world with Algorithms and Ghosts. Check out our full interview with Submerse on the new record coming out, lineage of his music legacy, gear preference and more.
Q&A with Submerse of Project: Mooncircle
Conducted by Erik Otis
Hello Submerse, your new record Algorithms and Ghosts is phenomenal for me. I have been playing it all week, everyday and I love every song and moment. I love the description you supplied with the press and how it was influenced by 3 main points in Tokyo. How long have you been in Tokyo and what artists have you connected with the most who are making similar music to you out there?
Thanks so much, really appreciate that. I have been living in Tokyo for just over one year now. I’ve connected with so many artists, there seems to be a never ending flow of dope producers. RLP, Repeat Pattern, Sauce 81, Quarta330, Emufucka, Daisuke Tanabe and Ogiyy just to name a few.
Can you tell us a little bit behind the name for your new EP? Was there anything different to creating this album then previous releases?
The past 5-6 months working on this release had shown patterns, from the way I was working, to the things I see living in a huge metropolis. For me, Algorithms and Ghosts are the steps I was going through in order to complete the EP, formulas I started to see and how Tokyo sounds in my head. It’s also the commuting journey traveling around the city over changing seasons, seeing different colours and moods. I went into this release with an idea of how it’s going to flow. It’s the only release of my own made entirely in Tokyo, my surroundings have been completely different and there has been many different sources of inspiration. This release is very different to my old releases from years back, I think being here in Japan and seeing/hearing things in a different light has really changed that and my style has developed into something I feel much more comfortable with.
Project: Moonrcircle is easily one of my favorite labels right now. The album art, packaging, artists they release, it’s something very magical and important to me. How did you first step into the Project Mooncircle world? What does the label mean to you?
Jinna Morocha was the first person I spoke to from PMC. We were due to play a show together in Berlin and she had expressed interest in my music. I received an offer from PMC and jumped at the chance. I’m a huge fan, from the music to the whole aesthetics of the label, It’s something I’m really proud to be a part of.
I love how dreamy and powerful your music is. Very clean but very dense, it’s something that makes me feel really good every time I listen to it. How does the new album make you feel when you listen to it from beginning to end?
For me It takes me back to how I was feeling when making the release. I didn’t want to pack it full of one emotion, I wanted it to show the ups and downs. I feel like it really represents where I’m going with my music.
I feel like this new record is your best mixed project to date where all the tones sound very full and alive. How was the mixing and mastering process for this album? Was it more of a challenge or was the challenge selecting the songs that would be mixed?
The mixing for this release was different than anything else I had done, not only was most of the equipment I was using different because of a new rented studio in Tokyo, but I wanted to try somethings out that I hadn’t really done before. I was using a few different techniques, adding more layers than I have done in the past. I was making a lot of loops at home with and then taking them into the the studio to develop further. The mastering was taken care of by PMC and as always came out sounding warm and full.
I’d love to know what type of gear you are using and how much time are you spending refining your techniques with these tools of creation?
I make music every day. I’m always collecting sounds, making patches or experimenting. At the moment at home I just have a MacBook, MPD, MicroKorgXL and a few other bits. Rental studio has compressors, hard synths etc. But it really depends on the track I’m making at the time. I love collecting sounds, recording things and then making loops with them and just seeing what I can develop.
What producers are really blowing your mind right now? Any particular records that you feel very connected towards?
There are so many producers that blow my mind, far too many to name, same goes for records. Kidsuke & Mndsgn are 2 artists off the top of my head I was listening to today that I’m a huge fan of.
I’d love to know what drew you towards making electronic music as opposed to any other system of sound? Have you been a part of any other music communities in your time here on earth?
When I was young I played drums and was really open to all kinds of music. The first live event I ever went to was the Beastie Boys when I was 13 years old, I was really into Hip Hop at a very young age. Then I got into acoustic music, ambient, techno and many others. I guess I really got a love for electronic music when I was 16, I got my first set of turntables and from then I was collecting vinyl. Also the first feeling I got when I finished my first track and realized I could make a whole track the way I wanted at any time.
I really love the collaboration track you did with UK artist Sorrow. It puts me in a very hypnotic state of groove where even as I am typing this question and listening to the track I can’t help but move around in my seat. It’s contagiously superb in tone and dynamics, going between very bright and dark moments. How did this collaboration come about and were you two able to work in the same room together for this track? If you did, do you remember the kind of atmosphere present? If recorded separately, how lucky do you feel to be in an age where this even possible?
Sorrow hit me up asking If I was up for it, I’m a huge fan of his work and especially his recent stuff so I was more than up for it. I’d actually received a couple of messages from a few people a while back asking If we would ever work together so the idea had always been in my head, really happy we got to do it. With myself living in Japan we where not able to do it in the same room so it was all done over the internet. Once the track was complete I sat back and thought just that, it’s an amazing time we live in where people can collaborate on a project without ever having met each other face to face.
Who are some of the people who have responded to your music that prior to, you’d least expected them to have done so?
I feel I have been lucky over the years and received a lot of really good support from radio stations to major labels. To be honest I’m just really stoked that people enjoy listening to my music as I never expect anyone would so I couldn’t be more thankful.
I really love the meditative vibe on Algorithms and Ghosts, I truly feel great inside of the listen and from the very beginning to the end. Nothing feels wasted or overdone and I love that so much. You know a record is really great when it ends and you are like, oh damn, it’s over already? Let’s play that one again..hahaha. Do you realize these compositions before they are created or do you work on material over a large period of time? Did it take awhile to find this balance that I feel is very much there in this album and not in a lot of records out right now?
Yeah, I really thought about how the first track is going to link with the last. This is the first time I have really thought deeply about this, other releases have been collections of tracks that have started out with 1 track and worked around it. I had a lot of ideas before I started the first track so I had a vision of how I wanted the finished outcome. Obviously I had many ideas along the way and made some sacrifices with tracks and ideas but I think it worked out for the best.
Were all of the tracks for Algorithms and Ghosts recorded in the same time frame or is this a collection of works spread out over a larger period of time?
I made the release over 5-6 months. I pretty much worked solid on the tracks for the EP together over this time and was also covering remixes around the same time. I wanted to try and keep them close together as I wanted to link every track.
What type of activity can we expect from you this year with your music? Any shows you want to mention or collaborations coming or special events in the works?
This year I will be working towards my next release along with a few new collaborations. I’ll be moving back to England around summer time and playing as many shows as possible. In the meantime I’ll be playing all over Japan in the next few months and at SonarSound Tokyo in April. I have a lot of things in the pipeline so hoping to make this year a count.
Before saying goodbye, we wanted to ask if you can say anything else about Algorithms and Ghosts that you’d love for us to keep in mind while listening to the album.
I’m really open for people taking away anything they feel from the release. If people can hear my inspiration and find It works well In a city environment then that’s everything I aimed for.