Interview with DJ and producer Avi Subban as he releases his new “Seduction” EP via Swoon Recordings

With releases on many of South Africa’s biggest Deep House record labels, Avi Subban has set a name for himself in the industry that continues to inspire and keep progressing toward industry-leading success. With a focus on eclectic rhythms throughout the House music spectrum, Avi Subban showcases his versatility and abstract approach to music on his latest Seduction EP, out now via Swoon Recordings.

Speaking about the Seduction EP, Avi commented:

“The Seduction EP showcases 2 tracks forthcoming to A Field of Flowers album produced by Avi Subban.

With collaborations by MKLY & Je Suis Ohne, the EP is a captivating collection of music, aimed at bringing a contorted approach to electronica and the emotions expressed by the names of the tracks, ‘Seduction’ & ‘Mystery’.

Referencing analogue timbres and modulations of a “cosmic” description, to distorted guitars and slap-back vocals, this EP is able to give you a fresh sound with a sense of nostalgia in both songs.”

Avi Subban was the winner of the “Best Underground Record” at the 2019 South African Dance Music Awards for his work alongside !Sooks on the track ‘Oasis’ and he continues to propel the South African dance music scene forward with every release.

We shared some words with Avi in anticipation of his latest drop:

Looking back, what were some of your early entries into music appreciation? And music production?

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for music from a very young age, however, I took action when I was 12 years old and won my first DJ competition. That’s when I realised I had a talent and passion for electronic music. I started producing at 15 years old. Mainly self-taught until I was 18 where I furthered my education in Audio Engineering for 3 years and did 2 majors which included Audio Post Production & Music Production. This is what helped me polish my sound and techniques and I released my first 6 track EP in 2016 called Metanoia Awakenings on a South African label called Deepstitched Records. 

How did you get into the style of music you are making today?

I would consider my style of music a kaleidoscope of genres fused into one. I grew up listening to a variety of genres like Indian/Oriental music, African music, RnB, and multiple sub-genres of Electronic music. As my ear matured and I understood what I was listening too, I decided to recreate my own sonic environment combining these styles of music together. I wanted to create an escape from the world and place myself in a landscape I found in many genres and bring them together. I wanted to break the rules and I was successful in finding my own creative way of doing that while still making it sound appealing and technically correct. I found inspiration in the simple things, in and around me, my emotions, nature, maths, religion, space and people, which to this day continue to inspire me the deeper I dive into them. Due to the fact that I was thinking differently to my peers around me, I realised that is my advantage in creating a sound that was special to me and others.

What do you think your South African roots brings to the table in particular?

My country is filled with rich history and culture, our nation is born with a natural rhythm and I’d like to say that “The heartbeat of the Earth is in Africa” and I feel that run through my veins. South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation” because we have cultures from all over the world living here. To understand different cultures, music tastes and people, I literally just had to leave my house and venture on my own land to find the world right here instead of leaving my country, all I had to do was listen to what’s around me, attentively. Inside of me lives a piece of each culture from interacting with people and having the curiosity to understand, that is something I believe I wouldn’t be able to experience so immensely anywhere else.

Tell us about the origins and inspiration behind ‘Seduction’.

Seduction, likewise with my album A Field of Flowers, is based on a special person (who we will call “LV” for the sake of privacy) I fell deeply in love with. This special human drew a picture of 3 faces labelled “Mystery, Desire & Seduction” that was given to me as a gift with a really heartfelt message written on the back. I wanted to recreate the feeling of sexual tension we had between us, the unsaid thoughts and mutual thinking of these thoughts too. I created the song and realised I was missing something, and that’s when I contacted Je Suis Ohne to lay down vocals and a guitar riff for me which took the song to a whole new level that I envisioned. I’ve never centred my music around matters relating to sex, but this song came from a place in me I didn’t know I could translate into music so well which is something I’m excited to explore and understand more.

How did you come to work with MKLY on ‘Mystery’?

MKLY and I have been friends for a good few years and he is one of LV’s favourite producers. When I told him the story about the song and the idea behind the album, to our surprise we were going through similar experiences which was perfect timing. I actually made ‘Mystery’ 2 years ago and decided to use the track because it embodied the emotions I wanted to pop out for the theme. I couldn’t be happier having MKLY on such a special song because it became something sentimental to both of us.

With “A Field of Flowers” coming soon, what were you trying to capture/communicate on this album?

The whole theme behind A Field Of Flowers is based on a dream I had of LV, being in a field of flowers at golden hour, surrounded by gold and purple clouds, the air was warm and smelled sweet. The dream was surreal, I felt an overwhelming amount of love and peace which sticks with me to this day. It felt more like a vision/astral projection than a dream because of how vivid it was. I made every song name, theme and feeling around how much I Love and how beautiful I saw “LV”. It wasn’t easy to do this because after writing the first song and mentioning to LV, “I’m making my first album for you and about you”, we split paths a few months after because of many reasons, thankfully not because of the album, but we do not speak anymore. At that point, I kept my word in finishing the album but  I had to write the album on someone who’s not in my life and all on hurt, sorrow, depression and a love I couldn’t quench which became my release. I know now why Adele makes so many hits hahaha. Now when I listen to the album, I’m really proud that I didn’t give up and kept going because even out of something so heartbreaking, a beautiful flower which is this album, grew from the cracks of my heart :).

Has your creative outlook or process shifted in these strange and unfortunate times we find ourselves in?

Yes, it has shifted indeed. I don’t think anyone has not been affected negatively by COVID. With no shows to play at, fewer people to interact with, I had many dips of depression and felt lost. I wasn’t making as much music as I normally did, but with this, I grew stronger and more determined to be better, for myself in many personal areas as well as my career. I got out the loop and started making more music, started action plans and goals and ways to keep my creativity flowing. I got in touch with my deeper being and now I have a firm foundation of my creative capabilities. Even though the world stopped, I realised I should keep going. It wasn’t easy but nothing good is ever easy.

Anything you’d like to add with regards to the EP and album roll-out?

Firstly, thank you for having me feature on your article. It’s moments like this that I get to reflect and share what my art is about in words which I feel not many people get the opportunity to do. With that being said, I think the music will say what I haven’t. The only thing I want out of this album and EP is to impact people and have them feel new and old emotions. I make music for people and not myself, it’s just an advantage that I feel a sense of release by doing this.

To those who are experiencing/experienced love and heartbreak, this is for you. 

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