SubDocta: The Man Behind The Bass
OneEDM is proud to present 25 questions with SubDocta! Preston Charles aka SubDocta is a music producer/sound engineer hailing from Reno, Nevada. Over the past year, SubDocta has been making a crater-like impact on the bass scene with his famed track, “2009 Was Tight” as well as his most recent release “Skeleton Key“. We spoke with SubDocta about everything from his favorite musical memories to his current tour with Opiuo and beyond. Scroll below for the full interview!
OneEDM: Where do you draw inspiration from while creating tracks?
SubDocta: I know it sounds cliché but just life, to be honest. I never really think about where my inspiration comes from, and I can’t really pinpoint anything as I’m sitting here trying to answer this lol.
Does your dog influence your music at all? Does nature?
Haha, well I wouldn’t say he has a direct influence, but he’s my biggest fan (I assume). I’d say my internal battles influence my music more than external sources. I love nature, and I love living in the Reno/Tahoe area, but I wouldn’t say it has much of an impact on my music.
Are there any particular influences that stick out as a personal inspiration for you?(family, friends, artists, songs?)
My friends make really awesome music of all types and just being around them helps. We have always lifted each other up and it’s never been a competition, which I think is very important. Team effort all around.
Was there a particular moment in life that sparked or ignited your passion for creating music?
Well, I grew up playing the drums but moved into DJ stuff when I moved into the dorms for college out of boredom and constantly listening to old dubstep thinking “I should try this.”
I moved into production as a hobby while I was also working as a sound engineer at a local concert venue. I took the engineering side of things much more serious for a long time and ended up touring with Blue October as their monitor engineer/Ableton tech for two years. The last tour I did with them something clicked and I decided I needed to give my own music 100% to see if anything could come of it. I learned so much working with such seasoned professionals and when I would watch them go on stage hundreds of times living their dream I made the decision to leave and try to get there myself.
There is a debate in the bass community regarding big-time sound systems being better than one or the other, such as PK Sound vs. Meyer Sound, what is your opinion on this? I’ve read recently that nowadays most systems are pretty similar in respects to one another, but what matters is who is controlling those systems. Thoughts?
Well, as a live audio engineer I have a lot to say on this topic. In order to not ruffle too many feathers, I will just say there’s a reason D&B, L-Acoustic, and Meyer are generally the top three requested rigs on riders worldwide 🙂
But yes 100% the engineer, system tech, and venue/space play the biggest roles when it comes down to it. I’ve heard bad Meyer rigs and I’ve heard awesome JBL rigs! The problem now is that someone will see a Funktion-One, Void, PK, etc. rig and automatically assume it’s going to be amazing. Or an even worse mistake is people just assume that because there’s all the bass in the world or that it looks cool, so it’s a good rig. I could honestly go on and on about it but I won’t lol.
When you’re not creating or listening to electronic music, what kind of music would someone find you listening to on a random morning or evening?
I don’t listen to a whole lot of electronic music these days. Of course, I check new releases and friends stuff, but I try to stay away from it so I don’t get subconsciously influenced when I sit down in the studio.
I listen to a lot of “desert” rock stuff, metal, indie-rock, punk, alt-rock, jazz, funk, folk, and hip-hop. I’m really into All Them Witches, The Budos Band, Arctic Monkeys, Brown Bird, Takuya Kuroda, Audioslave, Incubus, Khruangbin, A Perfect Circle, As Blood Runs Black, Veil of Maya, Through the Eyes of The Dead, AFI, etc.
Are there any festivals or gatherings you’re looking forward to attending and playing at this year?
Totally! It still blows my mind that I can get booked at these epic festivals for my music. Definitely looking forward to Valhalla in Montreal. It’ll be my first time playing the east side of Canada and the lineup is all the people I’ve looked up to for years. Plus, a bunch of friends are on it also. Win, win, win.
Rewind to last year when Bassnectar dropped your track, “2009 Was Tight” at his Freestyle Sessions…What kind of effect did this have on your fanbase, and your drive to create music?
Oh man, I think that really got the ball rolling for me in a lot of ways. Up until that point I only had maybe 5k plays on that track and I really loved it and the vibe it captured from when I first got into dubstep. So to see the reaction from SO many other people who felt the same way really made me happy. I think I got something like 2,000 new followers that week alone, lol, it was wild. It really solidified that people aren’t done with that sound. Maybe a little time off and a rebirth was necessary!
Have you seen Bassnectar live? If so, when and where?
Yes, a couple of times. In South Lake Tahoe twice and Reno once I believe. Maybe like 2011,12,13 something like that?
In your latest track ‘Skeleton Key’, I hear a little bit of industrial inspiration maybe nodding at artists like NIN.. would you agree? Was that an effect you were aiming for.
Not at all, lol. Not a big fan of NIN. I was going through a time, and I was a bit angry and kind of in a dark place. That was the result.
How would you describe this track to someone? How long did it take to create?
Umm, an aural representation of the sh*t that goes through my head, lol. I made this last summer and if I remember correctly, it came together really quick actually. One of those tunes that writes itself in a sense.
How has your background in sound engineering benefited your career as a DJ/producer? Which do you enjoy more?
In ways that I could never describe. The two separate entities have really just converged into one talent that I am forever grateful to have gone through and continue to learn along the way.
Describe your work schedule/typical work routine in regards to music production.
I still do a decent amount of production work back home so whenever I’m not doing that I’m usually dicking around in Ableton trying to make something happen.
How do you approach performing live compared to being in the studio? Which do you prefer?
I prefer both for different things. Live is so fun because you spend all these hours crafting music and when I play live I don’t have to think as much and just really get to have fun and enjoy the music.
What are your all-time fondest musical memories?
Seeing my first show when I was 13. It was AFI and Yellowcard and it blew me away. I’m a die-hard AFI fan so my dad took me and it was amazing. The first time I saw Chase and Status’ live show with NiT GRiT has stuck with me also. Too many good shows to try to remember ha!
If you could collaborate with any artist from the past who would it be?
Like how far in the past? It’d be dope to get some Tchaikovsky on a track, hahaha.
How did you end up on tour with Opiuo?
Well, oddly enough my agent and his manager used to work together so Jake thought it would be a good idea to pitch me as support. Oscar dug my stuff and here we are! We’re halfway through the tour as I’m writing this and its gone over quite well. The dynamic of my music vs. his leaves me room to do what I do in my realm without having to hold back too much. Vastly different, but so far everyone likes it!
Any future releases/tour plans you’d like to expand on?
Yes, but I can’t right now haha. Lots of fun stuff planned this year and I feel very grateful to have the team I do helping me.
What kind of equipment/software do you use for sound design?
Ableton, Massive, Serum, Kontakt are all my favorites. Lots of fun post-processing plugins and foley manipulation really help shape my songs as well.
3-5 favorite movies?
- Star Wars (all of them idgaf)
- Harry Potter Series
- Ace Ventura
- Billy Madison
3-5 favorite books?
- Harry Potter series (lol)
- The Alchemist
- Any Dan Brown book
If you were left with one thing on an island…?
God hands you the AUX cord, what song are you blasting to the world?
AFI – “Days of the Phoenix”
OneEDM would like to thank SubDocta and his team for taking the time out during his tour for this interview. Stay in touch with SubDocta on social media to keep updated about new releases and upcoming shows.
Upcoming SubDocta Tour Dates
- Portland, OR – May 3 – w/ Opiuo – ticket info
- Seattle, WA – May 4 – w/ Opiuo – ticket info
- Vancouver, BC – May 5 – w/ Opiuo – (SOLD OUT)
- Atlanta, GA – May 26 – w/ Riot Ten – ticket info
- Dallas, TX – June 23 – Wobbleland – ticket info
- Quebec, CA – July 20-23 – Valhalla Sound Circus – ticket info
Connect with SubDocta
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Related keyword: Wobbleland 2020