A chat with Sub Club’s newest resident and rising star Stevie Cox – looking back at the year that was 2022
Dare I ask where on earth has 2022 gone ! ? ! ?
Time is an illusion my friend.
It seems like the year has flown, what have your highlights been?
Getting made a resident of the world’s longest running house and techno night, releasing my first EP with Fossil Archive and testing it at said night (nervously). Watching it fully pop off, then hearing that it got played in both Berghain & Panorama Bar the weekend it came out, as well as being supported by Marcel Dettmann, Carl Craig, Ame and loads more. My first headline shows since before lockdown selling out and being vibey af, playing on the Ilian Tape stage at Outlook for the first time on one of the sexiest festival lineups I’ve seen in yonkles! Teaching DJ development classes at SubSine Academy in Glasgow, and seeing friends who really deserve to do well, doing really well. Doing a Britney and feeling what a shower feels like on a freshly shaved bonce for the first time ever was an absolute vibe too. Although I’m now flexing some questionable tennis ball fuzz in the process of letting it grow back…
Have you discovered any new guilty pleasures along the way?
Er… life is so short… I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures.
You’ve lived in both Manchester and Sheffield along the way, what actually took you to Glasgow?
I’d visited Glasgow a lot over the years and fell in love with the place a little more every time I went. The first time I visited was on an impulsive diversion en route to Edinburgh with my girlfriend at the time – we headed straight to Sub Club. Within about 5 minutes of being in there I was like, fuck, this is such a special gaff. The idea of moving to Glasgow just felt right, largely because of Subby, and I followed that feeling. Fate, one might say.
Explain the role of Sub Club to all of those who have never been and what it means to the people of Glasgow:
It’s more than a night, it’s more than a venue. You can feel that the second you get through the doors. A couple of years back a Christian missionary was visiting from the US and posted on a Facebook group asking for tips on what to do in the city. Someone replied ‘Sub Club tends to be where folk go when they want delivering from evil.’ Lol. It’s true. It’s basically a lit church and Subculture is the main service. I’m not really sure you could put what it means in words to be honest. Roll on the sermon we’re having on Boxing Day though. Guaranteed to be biblical!
When did you decide to give DJ’ing a go then?
Just before I went to Uni. I had a friend who had decks, I gave them a bash on a whim and it just clicked right away.
And how did you get your first break playing out?
At The Zombie Shack in Manchester… I put a mix out on Soundcloud and a promoter messaged and booked me off the back of that. Then it was at the Tuesday Club in Sheffield, supporting Dub Phizix, which is when things started to snowball.
You cite Hoya:Hoya as a big influence on you in your early days, can you tell us more about why it was special to you?
Ah, I could probably write an essay on Hoya:Hoya… first of all, the musical variation is the first thing that springs to mind. The name means ‘fresh’ in Japanese, and that’s exactly what it was. One minute you’d be listening to house, the next some crazy obscure footwork slice banged out by Jonny Dub, whilst Fox and Chunky gave it some on the mic over stuff you wouldn’t ‘normally’ hear an MC on. I never felt like I had to stick to one genre when DJing, I’m sure partially because of Hoya. So that’s a real big one. The pace of the night was spot on too – a proper warm up right from the start, with natural transitions between the DJs. It taught me a lot.
The fact it was the last Saturday of every month, it almost felt ceremonial – in the same venue, with the same resident DJs – who were all absolutely banging in their own right (Jonny Dub, Eclair Fifi, Illum Sphere, Jon K, Krystal Klear) the same MCs (Fox & Chunky) and Emmanuel Biard with some stunning visuals. No big headliners on the bill, only ever the odd time – and when it happened, it was special, people like Om Unit, Four Tet, Hudson Mohawke often unannounced in a 200 capacity space – aka The Roadhouse.
Magic happened down in that wee basement. Such a vibe. It was honestly something else. You also had the same people in the crowd week in week out, I made some very good friends there. It showed me the importance of community and residents in really making a night. As well as all the other factors – artwork, sound, etc.
How do you feel your musical journey has progressed since then?
I’m definitely x10000 more into loopy as heck stuff than I ever was back then. If you’d have told me I’d be able to enjoy more than a sprinkle of deep linear techno, I’d have said “ok on yer bike pal” but aside from that, it’s just expanded in a lot of ways. Really it’s still pretty similar at the core. I like that I got booked for DnB stuff first though. I think it made me so much technically better than I would have been otherwise – ya gotta be really on the ball and make sure the levels are right for those double drops. I still get down to all sorts and I love the variation of the stuff I get booked to do alongside Subculture. I feel incredibly lucky, I like being able to mix things up and think about how I can add something different to a variety of different lineups. Switching it up keeps things zesty and Hoya:Hoya. Aside from that, I started producing about a year ago 🙂
Where do you stand on the role of social media in electronic music right now?
My overall stance is that it is what it is… ultimately, promoters have to sell tickets and if social media is the main way that’s done nowadays. It is what it is, at least until and if things change. I deleted all of my accounts in summer and then ran into problems, including having something fall through because I deleted Instagram, which tells me that it’s much more important than ever before.
I made a brand new account a few weeks back and feel better about it after a big break. Ideally though, I would love to not use it and just focus entirely on the music, and there’s so many people who’d say the exact same. In an ideal world, it would be way less important… but things aren’t ideal. There’s a really great article that Shawn Reynaldo wrote a little while back I’d recommend reading called ‘fake it til you make it’. Faking it and then making it happens for a lot of people. No judgement at all, life’s short. If being a touring DJ is what you dream of doing, then you do you and go for it.
It’s also important to remember the positives with social media and I have been reminding myself of these a lot lately – I could share a resource that has really helped me, that might really help someone else. The meme pages bang, the visibility it gives to people who might not otherwise get it is great too, and it’s a good place to find out about new releases and parties, stuff like that. My mate Nick said something pretty spot on about it recently – if you use it in the right way, and only engage with stuff you’re actually interested in, it can be sorta just like an electronic newspaper. That helped me reframe it a bit in my head. I do hope it becomes less important, but if it doesn’t it’s also not the end of the world.
What advice would you give to others who are starting out and finding their feet with it all?
My number one tip would be pleeeease learn how to do a proper warm up. Aside from that, stay true to yourself and don’t follow trends unless you actually authentically rate the trend, because all trends change. If and when you catch yourself comparing – which is human, remind yourself no one is behind, no one is in front, the journey is just different. The ‘top’ doesn’t exist. The sky’s the limit baby. Support your friends, and surround yourself with people who support theirs too. It’s not a competition and there’s enough room for everyone. Focus on today, break things down into wee little chunks, and wear your earplugs… 😛
Now we’re coming to end of the year, care to share a few of your secret weapons?
Massimiliano Pagliara – Flying Away From You (instrumental mix)
On the topic of warm ups, I present to you the perfect warm up tune, a gift that keeps on giving. I played all 11 minutes out at Subculture just before we went into peak time and you could just feel the tension in the room building and building the whole way through. Stunnin!
Ackroyd & Surface – Into The Valley
Loads of emotion, very pleasant, very nice 160 number.
Andrea Cossu – Plagale
My favourite thing I found this year. Included this in my Ransom Note mix: atmospheric, sexy, slick, slaps in the club, slaps at home.
I Want It Rough (Mike Dunn’s BlackBall Vokal MixX)
BANGER. Popped her in my Ransom Note mix too… 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦.
If there was one thing you could do again this year, what would it be?
A natural sleep for 13 consecutive hours 💦 .
… And one thing you definitely would be happy to leave by the wayside?
Celery juice 🤢
Any resolutions for the new year ahead and and what can we expect from you in 2023?
To continue taking life one day at a time. As for what you can expect, let’s see…