How’s this for a new label launch? Last Friday saw Subdue Audio elevate from free download status to a legit paid imprint… Less than a week later, they’re currently number one in the Juno Download charts.
It’s an impressive look at any point and from any perspective, especially when you consider just how much music is unleased every single week. And the artist responsible? It’s Harley D.
A remarkably prolific new-generation talent, Harley has been turning heads on labels ranging from Crucast to Invicta to Grid with a wide-armed style that ranges from jump-up tear-outs to more introspective, deeper bubblers such as his release on Subdue… Frighteners.
“I love to do that. I got different sounds I like to showcase and Subdue are into the deeper side of what I do,” says Harley who’s been watching the label develop as mates over the last few years and already appeared on it before with a free download Critique. “We’ve been partying for some time and I’ve seen them planning and develop this for ages. Doing free downloads and building up a community. We’ve been planning this release for a year now.”
A year worth waiting. Subdue have been giving us our due subs since mid 2022, shining their spotlight on new talent such as Laney, Oversight, Che Mac, Serks and Harley himself. Frighteners takes things next level however as he lays down six of his deepest grooves to date. From the shimmering funk and stretched out bass of Enchanted to the tension and drama of Creeper, it’s an impressive dispatch that comes hot on the heels of his own new label as September saw Harley launch Divergent.
Forever flipping the switch, the name reflects Harley’s no-boundaries style and shreds across his widest spectrum. “I thought, ‘Let’s do something I can do my own thing on’,” he explains. “I love working with all different labels. But I also love to keep it varied and it keeps me busy. I like doing the artwork and videos and everything.”
And we like asking the questions. In the spirit of Frighteners (and the fact it was Halloween just a few days ago) we asked Harley one simple question: what are your own persy frighteners? For a man who reckons he doesn’t get frightened very often, he didn’t disappoint with these stories.
Read on and don’t be scared to keep tabs on Subdue Audio. They have a frighteningly promising future (not sorry)
“We were on a stupid sesh. One of those ones. I’m not normally a cider drinking guy but for reasons unknown I’d had about 100 shots of it and, if my memory serves correct, I think I was so bad a taxi had been ordered for me.
Whether it was ordered for me or not, it doesn’t matter. Because I got that taxi. And just minutes before, on my way out of the house, I took a hit on a bong thinking it was weed. This was a massive error… It was salvia.
“It was the worst cab ride home ever. I’d never done salvia before. I didn’t understand anything. My head was glued to the window like I was in a vortex. I must have looked like a mental patient to the driver. It really was a frightening experience. Wouldn’t recommend it. Would recommend salvia full stop. I’d never done it before, I’ll never do it again. I can’t even remember getting out of the cab!”
“I was DJing at a night once. It was actually a Subdue night. And sometimes the technology is against you, isn’t it?
Over the years I’ve dealt with all kinds of jumpy decks and USB failures. Most of it is easy to remedy but this night all four of the CDJs went into an emergency loop. All four of them went down one by one. It was an absolute nightmare and I had the MC looking at me urging me to play a tune. I was turning them off and on, I was trying different USBs. Nothing would work. The MC and the crowd are looking at me and I’m kinda shrugging like ‘sorry’ and hoping they’d understand. I wanted to leave but it’s a mate’s night so I couldn’t. It got resolved eventually, it was a power issue, but my set was over. It was a nightmare more than frightening and not an easy one to get out of!”
Let It Fly
“So I absolutely hate flying. It’s weird. I used to fly pretty frequently up to around five or six years ago. Never a problem.
Then I started getting dreams about them not taking off properly. It got to the point where I was petrified to get on a plane! But then I was booked to play Let It Roll and had to make the leap. I was trying to organise the Eurostar but that was going to be way too long and there were lots of my mates all coming as well and I wanted to travel with them so I did it. And that first flight was a proper frightener. It was horrible. Thankfully it was delayed and I got hammered which calmed the nerves and I hope I’m over it now.
“The set was amazing, though. It was actually the last set of the event. 5-6 in the morning. But it was still popping. The crowd the sounsydstems, the vibe. It was the best set of my life. So yeah. Well worth the frightening flight!”