It’s not every day two of the biggest names in the drum and bass scene join forces to create new innovative sounds, but that is exactly what Sub Focus and Dimension have done. Collaborating on ‘Desire’, the duo are certainly turning heads.
On one half of this iconic collab is the legendary Sub Focus, who spent his formative years honing down his music production skills on his PC. Now responsible for some of the biggest drum and bass around, be that ‘Tidal Wave’, ‘Trouble’ or ‘Don’t You Feel It’, he’s a force to be reckoned with.
The other half is Dimension, a man of few words, choosing to let his music do the talking. Receiving mainstream success without intending to, Dimension strikes the perfect balance between club and radio beats. Distinguishing himself from others in the industry, the London-based electronic DJ/producer has used his unique ethos and passion for both architectural design and theological themes to propel him to centre stage.
We were lucky enough to catch the power-houses that are Sub Focus and Dimension, chatting the release of ‘Desire’, how their music taste has changed over the years, and what they’d be doing if music didn’t exist.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of ‘Desire’! What’s the response been like over the past few weeks?
Sub Focus: It’s been great, we’ve had some amazing response to the track from DJs and fans online. I’m really happy with it – you can really hear both of our signature styles in the track.
Dimension: There is always an element of the unknown when you sit down with another producer and start writing something new together, but at the same time, it can be extremely liberating. You are far more willing to try things that would be out of your traditional comfort zone.
I think it’s fairly safe to say neither of us would have written a tune quite like ‘Desire’ if we had been writing by ourselves, so for it to have been received so well is really encouraging. I’m currently touring in the Southern Hemisphere and to hear the crowd singing along already is great to hear.
When did talk of collaboration hit the pipeline?
Sub Focus: We’ve known each other for a few years through doing shows together and Rob coming through on my buddies Chase and Status’ label MTA. We’ve now got studios in the same block together.
Dimension: I was playing on many of the same shows as Nick so we just got talking. By this point, we had both collaborated with Wilkinson so it made sense for us to get in the studio and start writing something.
The song has come out after a pretty hectic summer of festivals for you both. What’s been the highlight?
Sub Focus: We both played Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium on the same day and stage, which was a huge show. August bank holiday was pretty fun – I had to take a helicopter in between Creamfields in Liverpool and SW4 Festivals in London.
Dimension: It’s been non-stop, I’ve played all across the world at some amazing festivals and venues but my personal highlight has to be my debut headline show in London. It’s the beginning of a new exciting project and definitely something I’m going to build to be bigger and better. There was a truly special atmosphere that night and will be a night I’ll never forget.
If music didn’t exist, what would you both be doing?
Sub Focus: I’d probably be doing something creative or in computers I guess. I’m really into photography so something in that area would be cool.
Dimension: I like playing with the power of aesthetics, so I’d work in fashion and design.
As DJs, what genre/sub-genre has been the biggest influence aside from drum and bass?
Sub Focus: I listen to a big variety of music but I’d say that house music has had the biggest influence on my sound over the years. I’m always trying to get inspired outside of the genre as I find DnB can be too inward looking sometimes.
How has your music taste changed over the years?
Sub Focus: I go through phases of obsessively analysing different styles – often hunting for samples or inspiration. I love finding old genres of music and digging into how they were made – the equipment and techniques. Lately, I’ve been getting really inspired by old Italo House – The Italian Dream House Compilations are well worth checking for an insight into this style. A lot of older ‘Intelligent DnB’ producers like LTJ Bukem sampled this stuff in the ’90s so its DNA feels kinda intertwined with DnB.
Drum and bass has been described as the scene that “refuses to die”. What do you make of that?
Sub Focus: I’m really proud of its heritage and legacy. I have seen quite a few other genres come and go over the years, but DnB has maintained a really solid following.
Dimension: I think it’s nonsense. People love to over-analyse. Sure, it’s popularity ebbs and flows – just like any other genre – but it is and will continue to be a mainstay of dance music.