Simultaneously based in London and Tokyo, Subhead‘s Jason Leach and Phil Wells began their Subhead label imprint in 1996, today including over 40 records across their five imprints featuring some of the most twisted material ever put to wax.
Originally meeting in Shoreditch East London as dispatch riders, their melding of minds cranked up the Subhead warehouse party circuit in 1995 while giving birth to the Subhead label (appropriately aboard a Russian nuclear submarine). That year also brought in third-Subhead Jamie Lidell (Super_Collider) where notorious studio sessions quickly hammered out a raccous catalog of the first Subhead releases (“Punchy but weird…like us” - Phil Wells).
Subhead‘s embrace and strangulation of hard-edged technology falls into no category or school, dropping only hints at Hip-Hop, Breakbeat, Freestyle and Electro backgrounds besides the obvious hard Techno functions. For spotters of Vogel, Landstrumm, Si Begg and Captain Beefheart, Subhead deeply delivers scalding but quirky and pumping raw funk-powered Hip-Hop hi-hat battles for the speaker phreaks. The music is as abstract as the people behind it with do-it-yourself indie-know-how letting the tracks speak for themselves (as tough and loud as they want it). Gigging and putting out the latest Subhead sessions themselves have kept hardcore followers intrigued with Jason and Phil‘s uncomprimising art of invisibility. Shrugging off self-promotion and magazine coverage adds to their anonymity while intense live-performances have built devoted followings worldwide for anyone seeking Art on the right angle: Punk rock while pure Techno. The band launched the Subhead label offshoots 2CB, FIX, Extras and Subhead Remixes to keep up with their manic flow of output.
Phil Wells spread Subhead mania further by moving to Tokyo in 1999, continuing he and Jason‘s heavy output via state of the art technology and lots of jetlag. Wells jump-started his Dotcom label and suddenly transformed into DJ Sueme as new camouflage for Tokyo‘s edgy Underground, as well as his further outings in journalism, motorcycle racing, acting, fashion modeling and touring with Jason throughout Japan. Wells‘s move further triggered more collaborations between he and Leach, and landed the rockin‘ “Arucknaphobia” EP with Tresor in mid-2000.
While Subhead‘s massive backcatalog consists entirely of 12-inch/EP vinyl, their 2000 release, “Neon Rocka” (Tresor), was their first-ever album release and stongest sampler yet, featuring loaded doses of all their shades and styles. Underground and as tough and loud as Leach and Wells are known, Subhead‘s art attack breaks the dancefloor standards with everything between sampladelic freestyle and raucous bottomline Techno. Unbelieveable while totally understandable, the myths about eccentricity are true: Subhead‘s reign has just begun.