Last night, Radio 1 kicked off the first of their 1Xtra Live 2013 dates at Bournemouth International Centre, showcasing some of the UK’s finest and most popular drum and bass and R&B acts. Thousands of fans travelled down to the South Coast for a heavy Monday night party session, soundtracked by an impressive line up of artists including Friction and Friends, Digital Soundboy, Katy B, Chase & Status and Sub Focus.
I managed to steal five minutes with Nick Douwma – the mastermind behind Sub Focus and the top twenty hits Out The Blue, Endorphins and Turn It Around – whilst he was in town to talk about his recently-released album Torus.
Congratulations on the success of Torus. Number 11 on the charts this week. You must be absolutely thrilled?
SF: Yeah, I’m really happy with it man. It’s good. It’s great to have it out there and the response has been really, really cool so far.
It’s taken what, four years since the release of the last record? Have you been recording it for that period of time?
SF: No. Thankfully not! I’ve been doing it for about the last three years. I toured a lot after my last record so that was something that took up a lot of my time. And then I did a bunch of remixes.
I also started this whole live show that I’ve been doing, which was quite a time-consuming thing to start at the same time but I really wanted something in place for when I finished the record to start touring with.
Did the success of all of the singles that you’ve released so far from the album help you to benchmark what you wanted to actually appear on the final cut?
SF: Well we kind of decided to do an album with a lot of singles before but we included all of them on the album so it wasn’t like a case of ‘Oh, we’ll just pick the ones that did well’. But luckily, they’ve all been pretty well received and I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with how they’ve gone down.
I’ve adapted my style a fair bit since I put out my first album and luckily I feel people have been receptive to that and like that. It’s nice to feel that things are changing and to do different things.
Speaking of different things, there’s quite a lot of synthpop and electronica on the record. For example, Twilight and Out of Reach and the track that you’ve done with Foxes as well. Where did that come from?
SF: It’s just something I like basically. All the sorts of style on the album are genres that I like and I try to weave a lot of different things together and hopefully it sounds vaguely cohesive in the end.
But yeah, I love all that stuff. That [Foxes] tune kinda reminds me a bit of The Knife or bands like that a little bit. I was also quite inspired by things like the Drive soundtrack. I love that 80s soundtrack kind of vibe so that was the concept for that song.
Were there any songs that you recorded which you really liked but didn’t fit with the album?
SF: Yeah, there’s definitely a few tracks. There’s a dubstep tune called Forever that I was playing in my sets for a long time. Mainly more like dancefloor stuff, cos I make quite a lot of tunes that I just play in my sets and like more DJ tools and stuff.
I wanted the album to be much more songy and stuff, so I leaned off putting too many full on dancefloor songs on there. Tunes that were more like tracks I left off there. Tracks without too many vocals and stuff. I put more songs on the album and tunes which I felt were more interesting to listen to all the way through, than club tracks.
But I did stick a couple of more clubby songs on the Deluxe Edition of the album to keep the hardcore people happy!
So what next?
SF: Basically touring my live shows. This is the first show then I’ve got two weeks touring all over England including a show in London at the Roundhouse, and then going to the the US next year and then Australia.
BBC Radio 1Xtra continues tonight (8 Oct) at London’s Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith before heading to Liverpool tomorrow (9 Oct) and ending in Leeds on Thursday. Set to wow crowds across the UK are Azealia Banks, Robin Thicke, Nelly, Angel Haze, Sean Paul, John Newman, Wretch 32 and Rudimental amongst many others. For full line up details, content and even more information head over to the official Radio 1Xtra site.
You can stream clips of each of the tracks on Sub Focus’ new album Torus below, or head over to iTunes to grab your copy.