Alternative r&b has evolved over the years. Singer Sub Blue is the next in line to make a splash onto the movement and sound. With his debut single “Hype Like Supreme,” and new single “Teen No More,” Sub Blue is proving he is here to stay and brings his sound and persona to life. We caught up with the young rising star.
Music and Other Drugs: Sub Blue, thank you so much for speaking with us today. First things first, where did your artist name derive from?
Sub Blue: I come from a suburban neighbourhood so that’s where the suburban part came from and the blue part is short for blues music. So it’s almost like the suburban blues – which explains the core sound and topic too.
M: Great pairing for the name. Now, you grew up in Liverpool, how was that experience and the culture?
SB: Growing up in Liverpool was cool because there such a creative community and pride in that, and a growing scene for youth and diverse-urban music and culture.
M:Who has inspired you musically, and where did your sound come from?
SB: My biggest inspiration is probably Frank Ocean, I listened to a lot of his early stuff and The Weeknd and loved the fact they told stories in their music and not just pretty ones.
M: Frank is the man, Nostalgia Ultra still goes hard. How do you feel about “Alternative R&B” as a genre? Who do you think helped pave the way for that genre to succeed or become what it is today?
SB: I love the genre as it’s very fluid, created and unrestricted. I think the likes of The Weeknd and Frank Ocean paved the way for the genre to succeed with the way they released music, the subject matter and the sound – and the way they marketed themselves and the music. More recently DVSN, 6lack, SZA and Col3train are building on that model.
M: All great artist! We play them heavily here at MAOD. On your new song “Teen No More” you worked with U.S. Producers A.V., who have worked with Frank Ocean, and Sir Dylan who has worked with The Weeknd. How did you guys link up and how was that recording experience?
SB: That was a super crazy experience for me. The first time I met A.V was a quick last minute session we managed to secure with him in a studio in London. At the end of the session he said he wanted me to fly out to work with him and Sir Dylan a few weeks later. That was such a great opportunity – as these guys not only knew what sound I wanted to have, but also had worked on some of the projects and with some people that are musical inspirations for me. I learned so much being out there with them – everything from techniques to the process of being so creative on cue.
M: What does the song “Teen No More” mean to you?
SB” I wrote ‘Teen No More’ about the fear of having to grow up and accept responsibility for your actions. At the time, I was kinda starting to question what I was doing and thought should I just give up this music thing and get a real job? That song is like me being accountable for what happens going forward.
M: It’s amazing when we face our fears and truly accomplish what we want to do. What is something you want fans to know about you?
SB: I want people to just feel the stories in my songs. I know that a lot of the things I write about a lot of other people are experiencing. I just want people to relate and connect to [the music].
M: Connection is key to the music. Speaking of connecting, who would be an ideal collaboration that you must achieve during your music career?
SB: I’d love to get a feature with The Weeknd.
M: We can see that, a very moody dark r&b track. On your song “Hype Like Supreme”, we couldn’t help but notice the cultural reference to the brand Supreme. What are some of your favorite fashion brands and what do you think of the young fashion culture today?
SB: Some of my favorite brands are Supreme, Stussy, Champion, Nike and Adidas. I must shout out Lost Art (from Liverpool) as they are creating some amazing stuff too. I think the growth in street culture is cool, but I think the whole resell game kinda ruins it for me because you can’t always get hold of the pieces you really want unless you pay over the odds for them.
M: What is a goal that you have set during your music career to achieve?
SB: One thing I want to achieve during my music career is to win a Grammy.
M: Grammys is a great goal to achieve. If you could do any other profession what would it be. What else interests you?
SB: I think I’d be a lawyer; I have interest in the whole legal process. I love Suits lol.
M: If you could reside anywhere in the world , where would you like to live and why?
SB: I think it would be Japan – it fascinates me – especially their love for street and urban culture.
M: Japan is a place we can’t wait to see one day. Speaking of traveling, have you ever done any live shows, and what does a SUB BLUE live show look like?
SB: Yeah I’ve played a good amount of live shows – including festivals like Sound City, events like I Luv Live and done a mini UK tour last year. I try to mix it up when I perform live – so you will hear my singles but also different versions of them and some mashups and covers. The big thing for me is trying to convey a mixture of emotions through the sets.
M: Lastly, what is next for Sub Blue? Is there any album or EP in the works and what are you looking forward to?
SB: Yeah, I’m dropping an EP close to summer called Suburban View; I’ve been working on it for the past year or so, which I’m super excited about releasing. It will feature “Teen No More,” “Hype Like Supreme,” and much more. I’ve got a bunch of visuals ready to roll with too, so looking forward to putting them out. I’m also going to work with A.V and Sir Dylan next month and supporting XamVolo at Omeara in London April 11th.