SUB BLUE crafts smooth, sultry grooves from his own interpretation of modern RnB. Taking his name from his self-described style of music, “suburban blues”, the artists formerly known as Tyler Mensah offers a fresh take on chilled out, introspective rhythm ‘n’ blues. But what does he mean exactly by suburban blues? “It means I’m reflecting my experiences and telling the stories of me and my friends who have grown up in a suburban setting, where life isn’t always as nice or as straightforward as it appears,” he explains. “There’s a texture and vibe to that – which I try to bring out in my music.”
Below, Sub Blue gives us some insight into the sounds that influenced his brand new EP, Suburban View; and you can listen to the first single from the EP, Take A Picture, right here.
When I was writing Range Rover I was listening to a lot of The Weeknd. Beauty Behind The Madness was the soundtrack of how I was feeling at the time. The Hills gave me the idea to create the world of a gated residential community where people of privilege kind of feel invincible, like they can do as they please and not worry about the consequences. When I worked with XamVolo in the studio to bring the record to life, he definitely saw my vision within this.
T R A P S O U L
I remember having this whole album on repeat on a trip to New York in 2015. I hadn’t really written many songs in the last few months, but once I got home I wrote a record called Looks Can’t Fool Me, which was the first proper song I’d written. It was Exchange off that album that really connected with me; I remember really wanting that overly-tuned vocal on near enough all of my songs. I guess it really inspired my whole writing style and how I vocalled my records.
I’ve always connected with the stories Frank sings about. I used to listen to the whole Nostalgia, ULTRA mixtape on the way to the studio, but Nature Feels has been my favourite track at the moment. His wordplay throughout the record inspired me to really think about exactly what it was I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. Not just going with a line because it sounds cool, but sometimes breaking that boundary and saying something that doesn’t necessarily fit the melody.
I was listening to a lot of Nav’s stuff while writing and I think a lot of the topics he touches on his in songs really connect with me. As soon as I heard Mariah I had it on repeat for a solid week or so. His melodies and wordplay are what inspired me to keep writing and try different things within my songs.
When the Starboy album dropped it was on repeat for a solid few months, especially when I was working on my EP in the studio. I flew out to LA last year and actually had the privilege of working with Sir Dylan who worked on the Starboy album. Particularly with my favourite track off the album, Reminder, what I like are The Weeknd’s rap melodies and the bassline melodies from the live bass and 808s in the background.