My Musical Influences: Submorphics
Submorphics (Greg Axelrad) has made his name with soul-drenched, deep, emotive, nostalgic yet forward-thinking music. Drawing on eclectic influences from his formative years in Detroit, Chicago and San Francisco, Submorphics‘ productions have graced iconic Drum & Bass labels like Hospital, Shogun, Metalheadz and The North Quarter displaying a fine-tuned signature sound developed over the last decade. Whether he’s chopping up vintage samples or playing all the music himself, his distinct feel for tone and melody have earned him admiration from fans, DJs and music lovers across the globe.
Early in 2020, Submorphics released his debut album ‘Kodak Dreams’ on The North Quarter, this presented his most complete artistic statement yet. A 14 track multi-genre journey that took his vision to the next level. He recently returned to the imprint with his ‘Newport Magnetic’ EP which dropped on 9th April, check out our premiere of ‘Inifinite Void’ here!
With an increasingly busy DJ schedule and a new home in The Netherlands, Submorphics is set to have an exciting next few years, unleashing his own brand of modern Drum & Bass on dance floors all over the world!
Given his track record for chopping up vintage samples we thought it would be a good idea to delve a bit deeper into Submorphics and asked him to reveal some of his musical influences…
Calibre ‘Mr Maverick’
Calibre has arguably never had a bad year in his career, but around 2004 he was consistently churning out some of his most well-known anthems at a furious pace. ‘Drop It Down’ came from this era as well, but for me ‘Mr. Maverick’ sums up everything I love about soulful 21st century D&B. A dubbed-out soul vocal, classic breaks executed to perfection for the dance floor, warm melancholic chords and a devastating bassline that will make you say screw up your face despite all the other smooth elements in the tune. I don’t think it has ever left my “crate” as long as I’ve been gigging.
Influx Datum ‘Can’t Understand’
One of the first 12”s I ever bought in the early 2000’s was this gem from men-of-the-moment (at the time) Influx Datum. My entry into buying D&B records was in this time period now known as a Liquid Funk golden era, with Fabio championing breaking talent like High Contrast, Calibre, M.I.S.T. and a host of other producers infusing house, disco and soul into their dance floor-oriented productions. I’ve chosen one of their lesser-remembered tunes here, but it was seminal in my musical journey with its pulsating analog synth chords and house vocal summing up the era very nicely.
J Dilla ‘Phat Kat Song’
J Dilla’s classic ‘Welcome To Detroit’ LP summed up the sound of a producer who had already become an industry secret weapon among the likes of Tribe Called Quest, Janet Jackson, D’Angelo and Busta Rhymes. The 2nd half of his career saw him branching out as a solo artist in uncompromising fashion; programming loose organic drums, flipping soul samples and incorporating electronica in innovative ways that have still never been duplicated.
On ‘Phat Kat Track’, simplicity is the name of the game, with classic keys getting permanently stuck in the head of anyone who hears it. Detroit’s often celebrated underground MC Phat Kat spits over this one effortlessly – it’s almost too easy for him. 20 years later and I was fortunate enough to get Phat Kat on a soulful D&B roller on my new EP – an important addition to my discography given how much I owe stylistically to Dilla and the Motor City!
Pink Floyd ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pt 2’
Pink Floyd’s seminal ‘Wish You Were Here’ album is one I have consistently returned to throughout my life, having discovered it as a teenager 25 years after it was originally released. It’s the perfect blend of psychedelic rock, soul and funk – with simply timeless songwriting. ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 2’ closes the LP with the perfection blend of hazy ‘70s guitars, sleazy clavinet and synths that could have easily soundtracked a galactic sci-fi flick.
Henry Mancini ‘Lujon’
The legendary 20th century film composer Henry Mancini gave the world some of it’s most memorable cinematic moments with his sweepingly epic orchestrations. This piece ‘Lujon’ is one that a lot of us have heard at one point in our lives – yet most people can’t think of the title to this iconic melody. It opens with a distant, subtle groove before the legendary strings wash over you – and then it’s game over. One of the most quintessential pieces of music from the 20th Century, in my humble opinion!