T & Sugah are a dynamic duo in the world of drum and bass music, hailing from the Netherlands and bringing their high-energy beats to audiences around the globe.
Ahead of their performance at the huge LetItRoll festival we sit down with T & Sugah to learn more about their journey as musicians, their creative process, and their goals for the future…
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you both meet? And what first got you into drum and bass music?
Well this is actually already a really good story! We met in kindergarten, and (with some highs & lows) have been best friends ever since. In high school we started a punk rock band, which was semi cringe but a lot of fun, and eventually this led us straight to Drum & Bass.
Pendulum was our gateway drug in that sense, with them being a band but playing D&B. Hearing ‘Blood Sugar’ for the first time was the day both of us fell in love with the genre’s energy and fast pace.
Were you both producing individually before you started producing it together?
No, we actually started producing (and dj’ing) music together right from the beginning. However over time we have established a more traditional DJ duo division of labor where Robin is more of the producer and Philippe more the DJ. Although at least once a week we make sure to sit together in our studio for a day of co-writing, which we both love!
Collaborating as a team (especially with your best friend) has been an incredibly rewarding experience for us and has allowed us to constantly push ourselves to new creative heights.
I always like to know how artists got their pseudonyms. Where did the names T & Sugah come from?
We actually came up with our artist name in a moment of inspiration while hanging out together in the attic room of Philippe’s parents’ house (10 years ago!). We were trying to upload our first song to Soundcloud, but realized that we needed an artist name. As we were brainstorming ideas, we noticed a cup of tea sitting on the table in front of us. Which gave us an idea – why not call ourselves T & Sugah? – Our music will not take off right?
As you can see it was a pretty random decision at the time, however it turned out to be the right one! Unlocking infinite pun opportunities, such as calling our event / record label ‘High Tea Music’.
Which other musicians or artists do you think have had the biggest influence on your sound and style?
We’ve been influenced by a lot of different artists over the years, but some of our biggest influences include Pendulum, Sub Focus, and Netsky. We also take inspiration from outside the genre, such as Daft Punk, Nero and even some movie soundtracks.
How do you approach the challenge of creating music that stands out and is distinctive in a genre that is known for its fast pace and high-energy beats?
It’s definitely important to stay fresh in a genre that’s so progressive when it comes to production and mixdowns. Funny enough, over the years we focussed less on constantly keeping up with the most next level production and focussing more on the music and the story/emotion behind it.
A good example of this is ‘Stardust’, our collab with NCT and Miyoki, where the writing process and building of the story was an amazing process where all artists worked together perfectly.
Production-wise it’s solid, but I would call it next-level, the track resonates with a lot of people though, it’s our most played track to date, while more experimental or production-heavy tracks didn’t get as much recognition.
What is your creative process like when it comes to producing new music? Do you have any particular techniques or strategies that you rely on?
We don’t really have one creative process. Sometimes we start with a vocal and build a track around it. Sometimes we write something ourselves or together with singer/songwriters we know, sometimes a new plugin can spark creativity and be the start of a new track.
Another funny way is when we make something in a completely different genre and at a certain point are like “What would this sound like with a Drum & Bass beat and tempo?”.
Something to keep in mind through all this is to let creativity come and go. On some days it’s easy and we’ll be able to create multiple ideas with potential and sometimes you get nothing. At those times it’s usually better to just do some mixdowns or sound design and try again another day.
Aside fro Serum, which seems to be everyones first response, do you have a favourite plugin? If so what is it about that plugin that you like so much?
In a world without Serum our favourite plugin would be ‘Endless Smile‘. It’s a one-knob riser plugin. You can simply put the plugin on a channel, bus or even the master, select one of the 7 presets and turn the big knob to create a buildup.
Behind the hood this plugin uses filters, reverbs, pitch effects and noises etc to do that, but you don’t have to worry about any of this haha. It simply works great and is really fun to use.
What advice would you give to aspiring drum and bass producers who are just starting out and hoping to make a name for themselves in the industry?
Our formal answer would be:
Stay focused, stay inspired, and stay true to yourself and your sound. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of competition out there, but the most important thing is to stay committed to your craft and keep putting in the work.
One of the most important things you can do as a new producer is to find your own unique sound. Experiment with different styles and techniques, and don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. Collaborate with other artists and producers to gain new perspectives and learn from their experiences.
Finally, remember to stay patient and persistent. Success in the music industry doesn’t happen overnight, and it often requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Stay focused on your goals, and don’t be afraid to put in the effort and hustle to make your dreams a reality.
But the unofficial answer is:
Just get to work and try shit out, if you work hard enough and fail often enough, you might eventually get there. But there are no magical tips/tricks, just get cracking and enjoy the ride!
You’re performing at LetItRoll. Is this the first time performing there? What can people expect from your set?
We’ve actually had the honour of performing at LetItRoll before years ago! And it was an amazing experience, so we’re over the moon to be back (and on a bigger stage this time).
For those who haven’t seen us before, they can expect a high-energy set that showcases our signature style of energetic Drum & Bass with plenty of melodic and uplifting elements. We’ll be bringing a lot of new tracks and remixes to keep things fresh. Overall, we’re looking forward to bringing our sound to LetItRoll and making memories that will last a lifetime. Even more so because it will be Philippe’s birthday during the festival!
LetItRoll draws a huge crowd from across the globe, what are your thoughts on the current state of the drum and bass scene, both where you are in the Netherlands and internationally?
We think the Drum & Bass scene is in a great place right now, both in the Netherlands and internationally. There’s a lot of diversity within the genre, many new names and sounds are popping up, which keeps things moving forward.
Also focussing on the Netherlands, you’re seeing an immense growth in the number of visitors. D&B events selling out big venue’s such as the Melkweg was impossible 10 years ago, now the team is doing it with High Tea! Not to mention the visitor records Liquicity Festival is breaking! All in all it’s beautiful to see our beloved genre grow and be embraced by more and more people.
Artist wise there are so many incredible names popping up, Blvck Crowz, Formula and Falcon just to name a few. And both with our label as well as our management company ‘Tea Leaves’ we try to push these musicians to new heights.
Finally, what’s next for T & Sugah?
Well for starters, no album. We just finished our debut album ‘Sky’, and now we wanna focus on releasing some singles along with some remixes from the album. We locked some serious names for our remix project, more on that soon… And we signed a real exciting EP deal last week! Basically we’ll continue pushing our sound forward but exploring some new/unexpected territories!
Drum & Bass Playlist
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