‘Twist the Rule’ is the debut single from London-based singer Alis.

If Alis sounds familiar, that’s because she is – for several years, she produced twinkling dubstep and house as Subeena. Towards the end of Subeena’s career (the project, at this point, appears discontinued) she’d started to incorporate her own vocals into her productions, shifting gears from dance music into modern computer soul, and Alis – despite being a different project, with different reference points – does to some extent feel like the logical next step for Sabina Plamenov.

We caught up with Alis to discuss the new single, which can be streamed below.

You’d been incorporating your own vocals into your work as Subeena towards the end of that project, but you were still known principally as a producer. Is the Alis work an aim to re-address that?

“Alis and Subeena were going to be ‘unrelated’ – it was only when someone said ‘it would be great to introduce it as Subeena’s new project!’ that I thought ‘okay’. Still not sure it was a good idea though.

“Alis is one thing, Subeena was something else. If we compare the two, I’m still kind of a producer and not entirely a singer, I just changed my approach and a few other things in the meantime. And rehearsed a bit more. Change is good.”

Why did you stop Subeena? Did you feel like you’d taken the project as far as you could?

“It was probably only in my head but I felt a bit stuck, plus I did want to change both music and name anyway so this seemed like a good moment. I just took some time, did non-music things and left the old music things on the side. Afterwards I also figured out it wouldn’t be bad to get my actual name back: the only people left not spelling [Sabina as] Subeena seem to be my parents.”

Where does Alis come from?

“Alis has just lived in London for a little longer and listened to more music – older music.

“With my old work I just wanted to make tunes that would fit in a kind of niche: whereas club-wise I found it hard at times, vocals wise I’d just put a lot of delay and reverb on them and think they sounded great. I still think it sounds great to be honest but I wanted to merge the two properly and do something a bit closer to songs, with my own instrumentals. I don’t mind the structure sounding a bit odd of unusual and am happy to stick to my background. I think it’s a good moment for new or different combinations between electronic music and vocal or ‘pop’ stuff, whatever the right name is.”

What particularly inspires the Alis project, musically – any particular singers? And is it still all produced by you?

“It’s produced by me and sang by me. You can probably tell by the syntax and grammar mistakes. But I mumble sometimes, which I guess covers that up.

“I listened a lot to Debut by Bjork which I always loved –  only found out a few years ago it was co-produced by Graham Massey- Tricky, Amy Winehouse and other stuff that I’d ignored for a while.”

What does Alis have in the pipeline?

“A few things but no set deadlines yet. There should soon be more music / videos coming – next show is at the Shacklewell Arms in early June.”



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