After reaching our phones on a global scale, New York based singer and producer Sub Urban quickly found his way into many of our playlists. Highly recognized from the song that took Tik Tok by storm, Sub Urban quickly reassured his fans with his undeniable musical talent and taste for style. His unique sound and perspective really shows what it’s like to think outside the box and gives a step by step tutorial of how to not tip toe the line.
Earlier this spring, Sub Urban collaborated with music artist Two Feet for their single and eerie music video, ‘PATCHWERK,’ showcasing his chilling creativity with visuals and lyrics. Most recently, the New Jersey native was enlisted as producer and creative director by friend and fellow Tik Tok star Bella Poarch for her music video debut, ‘Build A B*tch’ which also includes a cameo of online stars alongside the Cradles singer.
We got the chance to catch up with this young American-Canadian artist as he talked to us about his recent single ‘PATCHWERK’, his previous project ‘Thrill Seeker’ and his song ‘Cradles’ that shook social media. Sub Urban didn’t hesitate to give us an inside look at his creative process and artistic vision as he talked in depth about his young career.
XMPL: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest track, ‘PATCHWERK’? The meaning behind it and if you feel like that message was delivered how you intended it to?
Sub Urban: ‘PATCHWERK’ is a piece on the material world and its addictive hold on us. Humanity perpetually strives for chemical peace in an ecosystem where competition is truth. We are brainwashed to believe ambition will satisfy our eventual selves when it just fuels the darker tyranny of systematic consumerism and classism. It’s all just fleeting pleasure. This song is really a declaration to myself that I will one day buy my way out of this crippling system, though I may never truly get away from it all completely. The message may have found its way to people’s ears but all in all, I just wanted to make an interesting song that simplifies my thoughts on the matter.
How would you describe the energy Two Feet brought to this song and how did the collaboration between the two of you come about?
Two Feet actually inspired the original concept lyrically. When we first met for a session in New York, he went on a rant about his philosophy on capitalism, I found myself thinking about things that I never really thought about twice. His addition of guitar and direction over my digital production made for an incredibly experimental and explosive sound.
Watching the music video, I felt it was really well done and gave the song a haunting personality. Do you feel like the visuals portrayed the song how you wanted them to? What was the part of the video that stood out to you the most?
Absolutely, it’s always amazing seeing a vision of mine become reality. The most memorable and climactic part of the video was definitely when my Frankenstein self flashed colors and Da Vincian anatomy across each of my skin patches.
Touching on visuals, you’ve had a wide variety of intense visuals from your hit song ‘Cradles’ to ‘Cirque’. How involved are you in the visual process and what video stands out to you the most and why?
I creative direct all my own videos. I work very closely with director Andrew Donohoe. He nails the execution of my vision every time. I pay a lot of attention to the editing. I do most of the rhythmic decision making within the edits.
The ‘Cirque’ music video definitely stands out the most to me. It was the first time I ever experimented with a narrative driven video. The tentacle scene is iconic.
‘Cirque’ was on your project ‘Thrill Seeker’. This project was released in 2020 which featured many gems including the hit track ‘Freak’. Reflecting on the project what were some of the challenges you faced creating it and what were some of the benefits you gained from the experience?
My biggest challenge around Thrill Seeker has definitely been the regret of not releasing most of those songs earlier in my life and career. ‘Freak’ and ‘Cirque’ hold a place dear to my heart and align well with my current musical vision, but the rest of the songs are very obviously derivative of emo rock and pop. All of those songs were written before the age of 18, dating as far back as 15. I ended up releasing them when I was 20, so I no longer really connected to the project mentally. I’m very excited for my upcoming songs and am very happy I can finally move forward after giving the project a good send off at the top of the year with the music video for ‘Cirque’.
REI AMI was the only feature on the project, can you describe what it was like working with another artist on ‘Freak’?
It was a fresh and interesting experience, especially vocal engineering for another artist. Her voice nailed the part. She was so full of energy and very fun to work with.
‘Cradles’ dropped in 2019 but with Tik-Tok and streaming platforms it’s still going like a new track. How does it feel seeing everyone gravitate to a song you created?
It’s an incredible experience to have made a song that may one day be considered a cult classic by future music listeners. I wrote the song when I was 17. It was my debut single as Sub Urban and to see how far the project has gone is mind boggling to say the least. I will say, it does introduce this new pressure of having to one day top my very first song which can be, at times, frustrating for myself creatively.
You’ve released a single this year, a project last year and a single in 2019. Are there any more projects you are releasing in 2021 that we can look forward to?
The next few singles are going to have some very extraordinary music videos. All this leading to my first album, which I am hopefully releasing by the end of this summer. This project is more developed sonically and conceptually than anything I’ve ever released prior, I hope you enjoy.
With your unique visuals, I have to ask this. Do you have any other art forms you plan on working on and possibly releasing projects for?
I wish to touch as many forms of art as I can before I depart from this world. Direct, act, design, sculpt, write, just name it. Art has always been incredibly fascinating to me since I was born.