Have You Met.. Subculture Sage

North London Hip Hop outsiders Subculture Sage ​return to our site following the release of the latest single ‘Tapestry’. This time, we take things a little deeper, as the group join our famous Q&A series, where we learn a little bit more about the artists behind microphone:

Where are you from? Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

SAGE: We’re from London, UK. It’s a cultural melting pot and even though corporations are the big blocks of the city its all us creatives in the cracks that give London its heart and soul. The whole world is in London, you can go to different sides of the city and find different cultures from all over the globe. From music, food, art, its all here.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

SUBCULTURE: I started playing the drums when I was 11 and was busy playing in bands for most of my childhood. I was particularly obsessed with Questlove and Travis Barker and was a huge Timbaland and Neptunes fan growing up. In the band I grew up playing in, we were always obsessed w the idea of working with a producer and I always felt growing up that a producer would be the answer to my band’s problem – that we never sounded as good in the studio as we did live. I was also largely influenced by other bands in the scene and the mainly old Rock and Jazz that my dad used to play round the house when I was a kid.

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

SAGE: We’re a MC/producer duo so we got most of it covered. We love working with our friends though and it’s always the good vibes we share that you hear in our music.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?

SUBCULTURE: Though I was only really playing drums, I was always obsessed with the structures and arrangements in songs. It was only in my later teens that I started producing on my computer, chopping up old funk beats and audio rips from my favourite movies.

Are there any other musicians, and DJs we should be paying attention to? 

SAGE: Rocks FOE is one of the best and most underrated artists in the UK. He’s a beast with the bars and makes all his own beats. Go sesh him NOW!

Are you signed to a label, if so what’s your relationship like, if not, has that been out of choice?

SUBCULTURE: Subculture Sage are unsigned and we self-release our music. Self-releasing for many years can teach some very valuable lessons about running release campaigns, the importance of creative control and the power of money saving. I think at the start we self released due to lack of options, though now with a pretty heavy streamed catalogue with all of our royalties still in our possession  we can really feel the financial benefits of having funded and released everything ourselves. Though it can be tough. Outside of this project, I do also run my own label – Twisted Hearts Records.

How have you changed your approach from your previous single two years ago, to your most recent project

SAGE: Yeah, we don’t really care anymore. We just wanna make our music.

I really like the single ‘Tapestry’ which sees you guys nicely link up with Illaman. What about his ability made you decide he’d be the right fit for the track?

SUBCULTURE: Illaman is a great friend of ours. He featured on one of our older songs ‘Happy Like The Sunking’ and we are both personal friends of his as a person and an artist. We all chopped it up at my Brixton studio a couple years ago and Tapestry was the outcome of that day.

Have you got any plans in the pipeline following lockdown, any future shows?

SAGE: Not really, we’re just making music at the moment. We like doing shows and performing our music live, meeting our fans etc but staying in the now it’s just all about creation.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Tapestry, you can below:

Author: Kofi Yeboah

I'm a Music & Culture Journalist, and DJ from London. I worked in radio, events promotions, and content production. .

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