Submerse Crossfader Interview

Hailing from a town whose previous claims to fame didn’t stretch beyond the ginger bird from Girls Aloud, a bench and a nice tree, Rob Orme decided that making tunes was the only worthwhile thing to do in Runcorn and began making beats under the name Submerse. We’re really glad that he did, as his astounding ability to be influenced by almost anything have led him to become one of the most original two-step/garage/dance producers in the UK right now.

Raised on a mixed diet of early two-step pioneers and extra helpings of Japanese animation, Submerse has crafted his own kind of music, ‘J-Garage‘. The sound has instantly become an extremely danceable and uplifting phenomenon in the underground club scene and is set to explode like some sort of cyberpunk bio-chemical mecha experiment gone totally wrong right when his EP in the works drops.

Abjekt and Stanley, both being outspoken fans, teamed up and tracked Submerse down for a Crossfader interview. He was hyped and made an awesome, strictly two-step Crossfire-exclusive mix that’s a lengthy sonic exploration through the mind of this refreshingly passionate DJ-slash-producer. The mix is below, but first, learn a little more on the gent as he tells us about his influences, his upcoming releases, the Night Audio label he started at uni, his favourite anime shows, his favourite bench in Runcorn and why Leonardo is the best ninja turtle.  YOSH!

Mr Submerse, time for the usual introductions, let us know who you are, what youdo and who your favourite Ninja Turtle is.

Ez now. My name is Rob Orme, I DJ/produce under the name Submerse. I co-run the label Night Audio along with KingThing. I make and DJ Future Garage / Skippy funky j-pop style 2-step mech emotive beats and have been doing for about 6 years now. My favourite Ninja Turtle would have to be Leonardo. He’s not the best personality wise but he has not one but two katanas. That’s definately more awesome than two forks, two blocks of jenga tied with string and a massive stick.

You have a show on Sub FM – how did that come about?

I have been on Sub.FM for about 2 and half years now. Started by sending some demos to Atari and he seemed to like them, shortly after that I had the offer to play a weekly show so I jumped at the chance!

Do you find it hard to fill the slot or is there so much new music around that it fills itself easily?

Sometimes I find it hard to not play the same tracks all the time. About a year ago there wasn’t a lot of fresh future garage stuff around so I would play bits of other stuff too. Now it’s easy to play 2 hours of full on 2-step. Everyday there seems to be more and more stuff popping up!

You’re from Runcorn I believe, not exactly known as the hotbed of UK talent, what was it like growing up there and did it make it difficult going to clubs and hearing the latest tunes when you were younger?

Yeah the town is just a dive to be honest, haha. Nothing happens here at all ever. We have a cool bench and a tree somewhere.. that’s pretty neat. I spent a lot of my youth just listening to all kinds of music and when I wanted to go to a rave or show I would have to travel, so it was always a special occasion. I lived in Leeds recently for about 3 years and there I got to go to nights every week. It was wicked to see, discover music and meet people, all about getting your face about. If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have discovered so much music. But I don’t want to knock Runcorn too much. There is nothing to do but make tunes. People notice my rate of making tracks is quite high, that’s because there is nothing else to do. It’s just myself and Resketch stuck in this town. Making tracks and watching anime are the only things that keep us sane! We do have plans to move down south next year but at the moment we are stuck in the twighlight zone of chavs, Greggs pasties, 58 pubs, teen pregnancy and a sweet bench.

I’ve done a little digging and found out that actually Runcorn is home to Kym Marsh off Corrie and Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud. Are you brimming with pride about that? Go on, admit it, you know you are.

Haha, yeah its our claim to fame for sure. When anyone wants to know where Runcorn is I just say 2 pints of larger and a packet of crisps. But again that just enforces the stereotype of pasties and mechanics.

How did the production come about then? Was it a gradual thing or did one record just grab you by the throat and shake you into submission? If there was a track or a few tracks that did, what were they?

At college I did a BTEC in Music Technology. It was from there really that made me want to make it non-stop. I liked the idea of sitting down by myself at 4am and starting to write music. There were so many tracks when growing up that influenced me, but for making what  I do now I would have to say my influences are people like EL-B, Burial, Bjork, Omni Trio, J-Dilla, Ayumi Hamasaki, Stars of the Lid , WEG, Wookie, Sunship, Todd Edwards etc.

Submerse hasn’t always been just you has it? Why did you decide to go from being a duo to going it alone?

Started with myself and a friend DJing back to back at parties for fun. Then I started writing tracks under the name Submerse too. After a while we moved back home from uni, got jobs and our life circumstances changed. That’s about it really, I had already had note for some of my productions etc. so I kept it going.

Not content with producing and DJing, you also run the Night Audio label with KingThing. Why did you decide to take that leap and how was it panned out so far?

Myself and KingThing both did a degree in music at uni and Night Audio was actually our final project. We did the project and just decided to keep it going! Things are panning out really well at the moment we have some big plans lined up ready to drop and intend to keep pushing night audio 110% So far we have released people like EL-B, Sully, Sines and have plans to have releases by Whistla, Resketch (who is now part of the Night Audio team!) Milyoo, Pixelord, Tricky Strutt + more to to be announced. We may have a very special project lined up with EL-B but cant talk about it too much. What are the forthcoming releases on the label? Are you confining it to just garage tunes or will you be branching out?

We plan to have garage, house, funky, j-garage (my own term for music that I really can’t see getting that far haha, basically just move love for anime and j-pop in my tracks) and more out we don’t really want to be known just for pushing garage just bass music that we all love!

Aside from your own label, you’re releasing tracks too. Give us some details on that – what label they’re coming out on and when we can expect them to drop.

So far the ones I can talk about are:

Submerse – Hold It Down / Only (w/ Resketch) : Well Rounded Records 10” – Sept/Oct

Jack Dixon – Somebody said the saw you (Submerse Remix) : Formant Recordings 12” TBA (Roughly Oct)

Submerse – Tokyopop! : Night Audio 12” TBA (Roughly Nov)

Submerse – You Are (Not) Alone / Move On : Formant Recordings 12” TBA

Hissy Fit – Berry (Submerse Remix) : Swing and Skip 12” TBA (Nov Roughly)

Submerse & Resketch – Fruit Salad / Eva-01 // Submerse – I Can / Searching : Fortified Audio 12” TBA

Submerse & Resketch – Get away / 2nite 2010 mix : L2S

More releases on Slime, L2S, Remix on Car Crash Set, remix for WickedBass

And some I have to keep quiet with for now! Are there any plans for a Submerse album coming or will you just be concentrating on the 12”s for now?

At the moment im just pushing for 12”s but there has been talk about an album with a label but again I don’t really want to say, I have a lot off bookings before the end of the year so if I was to do one then it would be next year that I begin an album.

Having been on your Soundcloud page quite a lot of late, it seems you drop a new track every few days, you’re one of the most prolific fellas out there at the moment! How was something like Soundcloud allowed you to get your music out there as much as possible?

Again being in a place like I am I spend most days making tracks so I always have tracks waiting to be uploaded. Myspace seemed to take a dive and Soundcloud is a cool site to put your stuff up and it’s easy to use. Im glad that Soundcloud exists as I do rely on it a lot but sometimes when it rains it pours.. haha.

There seems to be a heavy Japanese influence on your tracks, when did you first consider using vocal samples from anime and J-Pop in your music?

I have been a fan of J-music since I was about 12 and I had never dared to put vocals or use Japanese style melodies in tracks until fairly recently. I love Japanese vocals but was never sure how people who already like my tracks would feel about going down this route. It got a point where I thought screw it im gonna go for it *jumps in the air for a photo finish while rainbows and stars appear around me as I do a peace sign to the camera* People seem to like what I have done so far so this just pushes me to make more. Im currently working a full J-Garage EP and just mixed a track down this morning.

How much of an influence does anime have over your work?

Too much to be honest, haha. If at the moment I’m watching happy super hype mecha anime my tracks will be quick 140 bassline ‘whoo wooo I can do it’ kinda stuff. Then if I’m watching some real dark and alone it has an effect there too. But I take influences from everything in life I can more so to life experiences and the world itself I do feel privileged in a way that I’m able to take influence so easily.

You’re obviously a fan of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood but what are your all time favourites?

Yeah FMA:B FTW! Some of all times favs are ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’, ‘Neon Genesis’, ‘Guyver’, ‘Z.O.E’, ‘Elfen Lied’… there are far too many to name really!

Do you go out searching for specific samples or do you just stumble across them watching a show and think ‘this needs a two-step beat!’

A lot of the time I think what kind of tune can I make that would suit this anime. I stumble and look for vocals really. I have found many just by watching obscure anime and films.

Do you speak Japanese at all? Or are you just hoping the lyrics are from some psycho Nazi death cult?

Haha! No I don’t speak Japanese, I know a couple of words like Sorry, Thank you, Hello, My, Cry haha. I hope most of the time I just put in what sounds good and don’t think about what there saying, although now I’m more curious than ever to find out. Myself and Resketch have both been looking for a course to learn Japanese so hopefully I will be able to speak it one day!

If you were offered to produce music for an anime show would you?

I would shonen jump at that oppurtunity so quick!

What kind of show would it have to be? Cyberpunk? Mecha? Or a mammoth musical like Daft Punk’s Interstella 5555?

Anyhing really from slice of life school drama to mega ultra mecha robot bio-boosting action violence.

You’ve played over in Canada and North America recently, how was that experience? It seems like they are grabbing the dubstep and garage worlds with both hands right now…

Yeah it was absolutely wicked. So many good times, they know what there talking about there and they’re starting to push all kinds of bass music. The same goes for the rest of the world really. There’s just so many good nights, events and producers all over. Now is a really exciting time for all!

Have you managed to play Japan yet? I bet they’d go mental for tracks like Full Metal and Tokyopop!

I cant stress enough how much I want to play in Japan. Its my dream really, I’m trying to do everything possible at the moment to get out there. I have even thought about starting the ‘Get Submerse To Japan Scheme’ haha! If anyone has any contacts or anything at all please please please contact me –!

There’s been a rise of Japanese producers like Yasutaka Nakata who are heavily influenced by European electronic dance music and the cross over seems to work really well. How well do you think the UK Garage sound translates over there?

In the early 2000’s there was a scene over there for UKG. Clubs like club Asaia and producers like Ajapi. People like Zed Bias and Sunship have remixed J-pop singers so now its just a case of pushing the new style garage to them. I hope the new scene will blow up over there and I’m doing everything I can to help push that.

Similarly how well does the Japanese vocal sound go down over here when you drop them in a set? Do people get it, or are they too busy skanking?

I have had some amazing feedback for some of my j-garage tracks, people seem to really vibe to it. Most people are still kind of getting used to the idea but others have warmed to it really well. Its defo something that I’m still going to do as well as using English vocals etc. Look out soon for some fresh j-garage from myself.

You’ve done a mix for us here at Crossfire, which people will be able to grab for their iPods. Tells us a little about what’s on there and why you decided to put those tracks on this particular mix…

I wanted to just do a kind of full spectrum of what I’m about, what tracks are doing it for me and what you can expect to hear over the coming months. In the mix are brand new tracks from myself as well as many others. Full on j-garage to heavy 4×4 bassline rollers.

Stream and download Submerse’s awesome exclusive mix for Crossfire below. Tracklisting is available a little further down. Get locked in.

Submerse – Crossfire Mix by Crossfire Music

Shimamiya Eiko (?)
VVV – No Longer (Dubplate)
Resketch – Fine Rain (Forthcoming L2S)
Submerse – Fall In Love (Dubplate)
Milyoo – Kazaduon (Dubplate)
Clueless – Def Jam (Dubplate)
Raven – Is It Real (Forthcoming Hype Music)
Submerse – Rena (Dubplate)
Ayumi Hamasaki – Seasons ‘Bumb&Flex Remix’ (Sony)
Bruises – Guesswork (Forthcoming Dubstep is Dead)
Submerse – Tokyopop! (Forthcoming Night Audio 12″)
Jamie Grind – Without You (Dubplate)
Price – Knock Me Down ‘4×4 Mix’ (Dubplate)
Submerse – Mecha (Dubplate)
World’s End Girlfriend – River Water