Subsenix – Trance & Bass


Call me a sucker for my nostalgic affinity to the epic rave sounds, but I totally get the shivers for melodic synths, tasteful vocals and serious bass.

Intro Subsenix, the collaborative effort from Drum & Bass producers Subsonik from Oklahoma and Ben Sage from my hometown, Toronto. With releases on numerous labels including, Evol Intent, Disturbed, Invader, Cymbalism and Technique to name a few, these two artists have definitely been some personal favorites of mine for years.

The pair have been making beats solo for quite some time. Such trance and bass anthems as Sleepless and Let me Down from Ben Sage, as well as Hold On and Be With Me from Subsonik are prime examples of the similar tastes they have.

Perfectionists in the studio, their efforts have not been limited to just Drum and Bass. From Dubstep, Downtempo, Trance and Electro, the pair boast an eclectic taste for what they make as well and what influences their music.

I had a chance to catch up with the two recently and see what they had on their plates. Here’s what they had to say:

MC:  What brought you guys together?

Ben:  A lot of people ask me to remix my vocal tunes.  I get hit up on aim fairly often asking if people can have the vox for Sleepless, Fiendin’, All about you, Just a Minute etc.  I’m not in the habit of allowing just anyone access to my precious vocals!!  When mark asked if he could remix Just a Minute (For Sudden Def), I was happy to let him, due to the awesomeness of his trance n’ bass stylings. I had done some work with Sudden Def and I have a LOT of respect for their organization. I knew that the track would be heavy and definitely see a release, so I said sure!

Shortly after that, we did up a remix of Gyromite & Subsonik’s Cymbalism 003 release, “After All.”  We banged that tune out in a couple of days, it was put out by Cymbalism, and thus Subsenix was born.  After a few AIM discussions about Labels, the industry, and the music being produced by our peers, we decided that we should be making more of an effort to collaborate.  Our sound and production style are very complimentary.  Mark is an absolute engineering wizard – his drums are huge, he has great melodic ideas, and his mixes are always heavy.  My role is more of an idea guy.  I do a lot of the vocal arranging, tuning, and editing.  I also take responsibility for some of the disgusting bass sounds found in our tracks.  So far our tunes have been either new ideas, or old, half-finished sessions given new life by the collaboration.

FYI, the name Subsenix is a hybrid of Subsonik and Senex – The Senex is a Jungian archetype for Wizard or Wise old man (aka. a SAGE).  Brilliant IMO.

MC: For the audiophiles out there, what kind of gear are you guys using that lends itself so well to collaborative efforts hundreds of miles away?

Ben:  Well, actually, thats been a huge stumbling block in our output.  Collaboration isn’t easy even if you’re in the same room, much less being connected only by a shoddy internet connection!!!  We’ve had to co-ordinate our kit somewhat.  I basically told mark when we were getting started that it was time to graduate from Reason and start using a real kit.  (Truthfully I have nothing against reason except not having the foggiest idea how to use it, and an intense unwillingness to learn).  Mark ended up getting into Cubase… thank god.

We both use Cubase 4 and have matched our plugins to a certain extent.  I’m very minimal in my kit, only a couple of synths, and KONTAKT 1.5.  As for mixing/processing I am a loyalist to UAD (I have two cards in my system) but Mark is a pain, and he uses a powercore….  Natural enemies LOL!

MC: Any advice for those looking to collaborate?

Ben: The thing with collaborations is that you can’t be scared to be honest and express your feelings about what your partner has done to the track.  If mark does something I dont like, I tell him, and vice versa.  you can’t get all bent out of shape if your partner takes something out / changes something that you made.  if you like the idea that much, make a solo track around it!

MC:  What is Subsonik Sound Recordings all about?

Ben:  Well Subsonik Sound was born via a collaboration between Mark and I. Together, the two of us felt that the labels have a lot of control over the content and style of dnb that is marketed on a large scale, and we always thought it would be a good idea for one of us (or both of us) to create a label to push our unique sound of drum and bass. This is how subsonik sound was born.  It is a vehicle to promote not only OUR tunes, but tunes that go along with the general vibe that we try to promote.

MC: I see you have also included some like minded artists in the upcoming catalogue, give us the scoop on what’s next for the label.

Subsonik: Well, we try our best to grab hold of the quality tunes out there that may not be heard due to the fact that it is near impossible these days to break through in the scene. There is an absolute overload of crap out there, and when somebody comes along with quality tunes, he/she will most certainly have trouble getting people to listen. This has been a major focus, and that being said, we found a group from Austria through a good friend of mine, (Austrias Krooked) named “Fourward.” Since thier debut on our label, they have been sitting comfortably in the beatport top 10 for many, many weeks. 002 was just released featuring a tune of thiers, “Robot” and is still setting at #4. So, naturally we are stoked to have them aboard. Next up, we are going to have some new Subsenix stuff along with some Cause4Concern and some other things that i won’t mention just yet…

MC: What can we expect to see from Subsenix or each of your solo efforts for the new year?

Ben:  Well Mark and I fully plan to continue to produce our brand of vocal & musical drum and bass.  I’m hoping we can get some remixes done, and a few original tracks as well in the next year.  I’m thinking there might be a  “Let Me Down” vip remix…. not too sure what else is on the radar.

Lately I have been focusing on making slower tracks, but i always return to drum & bass.  I am working hard on the DIY thing – trying to release as many tracks as possible via digital downloads.  Finally the industry is ready to support a non-vinyl future for some of the less dj-oriented music.  I keep working on tunes, and when I feel they are decent, they go someplace!  Hopefully a few releases for Sudden Def too.

Subsonik: I have a fair amount of releases slated at the moment on other labels, and that also includes my Trance/ Electro side project. My first 12” of the 4/4 variety hits shelves early next year with Philadelphia’s Messinian , on Enhanced Recordings UK.  As for DnB, you can keep any eye out for upcoming releases on Technique, Urban Takeover, Sudden Def and Xposure UK. There will also be a steady flow of 4 tracks a month on my label including at least 2 of my own or Subsenix tunes.

Subsonik did up a little mix for our readers. Epic!

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(Stream & Download Courtesy of Media Contender)

01. Fourward – Plasma
02. Agent Alvin & Antiform – Counter Intelligence
03. Mindscape & Stuc4c – Retribution
04. No Money & Identity – Krakatoa
05. Body & Soul + Fourward – Pure
06. Awaking State – Ordinary Days (Subsonik Remix)
07. Camo & Krooked – Dakota 2009
08. Cause4concern – Relentless (The Sect Remix)
09. Awaking State – Out There (Subsonik Remix)
10. Muffler – Swinger
11. Inside Info – Stations
12. John B Feat. Jennifer Loren – Pathway (Epic Remix)
13. Subsonik – Hold On
14. Agent Alvin – Love Lost
15. Quadrant – Whisper

Website : Ben Sage Tunes on YouTube, Subsonik Myspace, Subsonik Sound Recordings


6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Danny // Nov 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Ill shit son!!

  • 2 bace // Nov 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    wicked mix. can’t wait to hear what subsonik sounds has in store.

  • 3 Mr Boxed // Nov 28, 2008 at 5:19 am

    wkd mix :) !

  • 4 Staticka // Nov 29, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Ok, I’ll call you a sucker if you cast the same level of title this way. I wanted to give a few proper listens before I spit my couple cents in the coin machine. This mix takes me back to the days of high-energy, yet deep and runnin’ D&B. As they say, “Them Good Old Days.” Thank you Subsenix and Subsonik for keeping this vibe alive. Not an easy task.

  • 5 Subsonik Sound Recordings Podcast 004 // Jul 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    […] can check some past Subsonik related Media Contender love here & […]

  • 6 Brynell // Apr 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Walikng in the presence of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

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