While the past two years haven’t been easy for most of us, some musicians have found that it was the perfect time to hole up and get creative. And with the magic of the world wide web, even bandmates on opposite coasts can collaborate remotely.
That was the case for new band Sub*T, which formed in a mosh pit in the summer of 2019. Grace Bennett and Jade Alcantara decided they wanted to climb out of the pit and make their way to the stage. They just had to write some songs first. Oh, and they had to learn how to play guitar.
Grace went back to Brooklyn and Jade went back to Oakland and they sat down with their guitars and started writing. During the lockdown, they shared files back and forth and their particular sound was born. Taking cues from Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, and other 90s alt-rock women, they crafted infectious, driving songs with layered vocals and crunchy guitars.
After months of writing, they recorded and released their first singles “Boxing Day” and “Too Soon Too Long” earlier this year. Then they converged in Nashville and recorded more tracks with Alicia Bognanno of Bully. The duo released their four-song EP So Green on Nov. 19 and will play their very first live performance Nov. 21 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn.
Alcantara and Bennett sat down with Full Time Aesthetic to share how it’s been going.
Sub*T (photo by Kenzie Davis)
You say you have a lot of 90s influences. What is it about the sounds and culture of that era that speak to you?
We are really inspired by the 90’s. For us the music has a sense of nostalgia that we really associate with our music and lyrics that we really love. I think it’s also because it’s kind of this era that can’t and has not been replicated since. We just want to create music that makes us feel the way the music we love so much made when we first heard it. Also, so many bands with women… especially when it comes to singing style we always felt really inspired by their vocal delivery.
What was it like recording with Alicia Bognanno in Nashville? Why do you think she was the right producer for you?
It was a completely comfortable, vulnerable, empowering situation. We have been a huge fan of hers and we really admire how different she is and how she has always followed her own path when it comes to her musical sound. She also knew exactly what we wanted this EP to be as soon as she heard the demos. We recorded it in her house with her dogs, her snacks, her books and gear and we felt really at home. It was really special and we feel so lucky to have had that experience.
Sub*T (photo by Kenzie Davis)
What new sounds did you explore with Alicia?
Alicia has a ton of experience with producing, engineering and performing live so we really got to play with guitar tones in a way that we hadn’t before. We also had some inspirational songs that she could really help us channel when it came to how we recorded. There was even some pre-work we did where she even helped me (Jade) explore new things with my vocal delivery and timing. It was so much fun and we can’t wait to hopefully do it again to see how else we can explore these things.
You’ve said that you both share a strong vision for Sub*T and want to remain a duo. Can you tell us a little more about that?
I think we both realize how lucky we are to have found each other. And how hard it is to completely trust and believe in someone else. Especially because we are both extremely stubborn and really have a vision for what we want. Alicia also gave us so much perspective on this. We write our lyrics and arrange our music and even do our own visuals. We are really passionate about having really fun and stand up people around us, but we know at the core we are always Sub*T.
You have your first live performance coming up this week! How do you think performing live is going to affect your songwriting moving forward?
Absolutely. We are shocked at how good it sounds to hear our songs live. We want to have a huge presence as a live band so we are really figuring out what works. Right now we have been rehearsing with one of our best friends playing drums and another friend playing bass. It’s also really cool to just note things that are slowly evolving as we play them. When we recorded, you know, we didn’t always think about having to sing and play at the same time…or how we would reproduce the sounds on the EP. But we’re so excited to keep writing songs to play live. We actually just wrote a new song for the live show because we really had a vision for how it would feel to perform it.
How are visual art and aesthetics important to you?
This is really 50% of Sub*T. We’re both visual artists. Grace is really good at editing and creating videos. We both love collaging and Jade is constantly in Photoshop making new things. We love that we can incorporate that into our music and will always do that in the future.
“Table For Four” artwork
Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to try?
We really want to go on tour. We want to travel so much and meet new people. We have a zine coming out soon to go with our EP.
What advice do you have for any aspiring or emerging musicians out there?
Honestly just do whatever sounds good to you. It can be scary knowing nothing. But if you just start, it can and will happen. That’s what we did!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We have two shows coming up! And we can’t wait to keep making music.
So Green is out now on all major streaming platforms