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An Interview with Sub*T: On their New Song, Musical Inspirations, and Plans for World Domination

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

RIYL: BULLY, BEABADOOBEE, HINDS


SUB*T is a band that was born in the mosh-pit. Tired of being in the crowd, Jade Alcantara and Grace Bennett taught themselves how to play guitar and started writing music together while on opposite ends of the country. Building songs through voice memos and text messages, they’ve crafted a sound that is both reminiscent of Liz Phair’s rambling and Veruca Salt’s fearlessness. Catharsis is the driving force behind their creative process. SUB*T is all about what is happening, what is hurting, and what is *cough, cough* SUBTerranean.


With one single, “Boxing Day” already released, the duo released their second single, “Too Soon Too Long” on June 18th. “Too Soon Too Long” is a love song between friends; an ode to the people you only meet a handful of times but are somehow always connected to each other's lives. It perfectly encapsulates the feeling of missing your friends and the adventures you had together but knowing that someday soon you’ll all be together again.



We sat down with Sub*T to talk about the new song, their musical inspirations and how they plan to take over the world.


To start things off, tell me a little bit about yourselves!


JADE: We’ve been really good friends for about four years and the past two years

we've gotten really close and started focusing on music. We both wanted to make music

and have always been interested in writing, whether it was lyrics or just the melodies.

Whenever you start something like this, you don't really know if it's going to work out but

early on, we knew that we were both pretty all in. A lot of people bring up the fact that

we live in different cities, but we think it makes us pretty unique.


If you guys live on opposite ends of the country, how did you meet?


GRACE: In our friend group, it's common to kind of all meet up for what we think to be

major events even if it's just a couple shows on a tour of a band we love. The specific

day that we met for the first time, it was when The 1975 was playing Madison Square

Garden and it felt like everyone I knew was in New York. I met Jade in the pit for the

first time and it was one of the most fun nights ever.


JADE: It's all kind of a blur now, but I just remember being so excited to meet Grace

because we had mutual friends, but we had never met or talked. It’s so funny now

because I still love [The 1975] but the more time that we’ve spent together and the more

my relationships have grown, I’ve realized that whatever band might have brought us

together really has nothing to do with it. We're just lucky to have those experiences.


How did you decide you wanted to make music together?


JADE: I wish I knew what the very first conversation was but you know when you go to

shows and you think that you could do that too? I feel like that was such a recurring

theme not even just with us but with the fact that everyone has something to offer

creatively. We believe that if you have something that you want to make, you should do

it.


GRACE: Around May, 2019 is probably when it happened. Jade was back in New York and we were going to a bunch of Shame shows on the East Coast. I don't know what it was about that trip specifically, but I know that at one point we thought that instead of going to all these shows, we should be putting on the show. There's a small number of people that actually want to do it rather than just be a part of it and we always knew that if we didn't do this now, we would regret it forever.


Is your collaboration process ever affected by the distance?


JADE: We actually spent a lot of time together last year with Grace’s school being fully online and everything. At the same time, it's always been a really normal experience for us to do things separately. Writing can't really be forced. The easiest and most natural thing has been just working when either of us feels creative and then bringing that to each other and inspiring each other in that way.


When you make music, does one of you focus on music and the other lyrics or is it a mutual process?


GRACE: I don't think it was really an intentional thing, but I think just in the songs that we've made now, Jade writes most of them. She'll come up with a melody and some lyrics, send me the voice memo and I'll write a guitar part. That's kind of how it starts. We'll just send the GarageBand project back and forth to each other. The songs that we have now are very personal to the person who wrote them.


JADE: That just helps us write better music. Every song we have has been written in a different way and I don't think any of them could have been finished by one of us without the other.


What kind of sound are you going for and who are your inspirations?


JADE: It's inevitable that you're going to emulate the bands you love the most. I think we always knew that we wanted to have a nineties rock and early 2000’s indie rock sound. It’s people like The Breeders or Letters to Cleo where it isn’t full punk rock. We really love that there’s some pop elements too. The most common element is that it's rock at its core, but always in a way that you can have fun. It’s music that gives you some kind of emotional reaction.


What is the inspiration for your lyrics?


JADE: It's actually so hard because it's very intimidating to write lyrics. Grace and I have analyzed so many lyrics of bands or songs that we love and just realized that it doesn't really matter what you're saying as long as it means something to you. I’m really inspired by all kinds of songwriting. We've referenced a lot of Sonic Youth and Kim Gordon style writing because it's super gritty, but honest and doesn’t follow any kind of structure. That sort of thing is really encouraging when you feel like you don't know what you're doing.


Where did the name SUB*T come from?


GRACE: We were both in New York and I don't even know what specifically we were talking about but Jade mentioned that subterranean termites were in her house and had eaten one of her setlists that she got at a concert. One of our friends said that Subterranean Termites sounded like a sick band name and we called ourselves that as a joke for a while. We shortened the name to just Subterranean so it would be less of a mouthful but it definitely means something else to us now. It connects to these feelings you have that you don't really let out or things that you wish you could do that kind of stay hidden and for whatever reason you don't act on them. We shortened it to Sub*T because that sounds more playful but it's up to interpretation.


What was the inspiration behind your newest single? Are there any specific stories that inspired “Too Soon Too Long”?


GRACE: That song was entirely inspired by a trip we took on the West Coast. It was kind of the last hurrah right before COVID hit. Some of the lyrics are things that one of us said on that trip. “Our hair grows when we're apart” is something Jade said and “when you leave / I'm going with you” was something we read while traveling and thought it sounded so sweet. There’s so many songs about romantic relationships but I haven't heard any songs that really captured the way that I feel about my friends and the special moments that we have together.


JADE: Grace had these lyrics for a while and they really inspired me. Certain experiences you'll always associate with people or places or things. It's really an ode to appreciating your friends and the nostalgia that comes with that. I'm sure you also have internet friends that you've hung out with two times, but they're some of your closest friends somehow. People who have had their teenage years fully on Twitter or Tumblr just have so many of those people and they never go away, they're just always your friend. Stan twitter needs that sort of representation.


The single cover for “Too Soon Too Long” is a collage you designed yourself. What was the process of creating that?


JADE: We wanted to release “Boxing Day” and “Too Soon Too Long” as the first two singles, almost like a pair, so we wanted to make the single cover’s the same type of vibe. Both of us looked through all of our zine and collage stuff and used that as inspiration. We bought those pink and green frames at the Dollar Tree because we knew that pink and green was going to be the theme. It’ll all be connected to our EP as well.


Is making your own art and being in control of that whole process something you want to continue doing?


GRACE: Completely. The both of us are too much of control freaks to let anyone else do anything which is something that really excites us. We get to fully control how we represent ourselves and I feel like that's going to continue for as long as it possibly can.


What do your future plans look like? What goals do you have for the long term?


JADE: Right now we just want to do everything. We totally want to play at [South by Southwest] which is a short-term goal that we really want to achieve and think can happen easily. We’re going to Nashville to record an EP that will be out by this fall at the latest. We want to get more experience playing live together and with a band, maybe supporting some other bands and then hopefully a year from now, we'll be really submerged.


The plan is to do this full-time and we’re so ready. If we could record our EP next week and then the album a month later, we would but we want to make sure we're not skipping over any big milestones, just because we're so excited. I'm really hopeful for the world to kind of be normal again and see what that means for us. More music, more experience. We're going to the moon.


Keep up with Sub*T on Instagram, Bandcamp, and Spotify


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