Sub.mission, based in Denver, CO, represents and books shows with some of the finest DJs in the world. Their epic anniversary parties have long been the highlight of the Bass Capital’s calendar.
With the recent announcement of the lineup for the 16th anniversary of the first Sub.mission show featuring Bukez Finezt, Commodo, and the debut of Om Unit’s live electronic set, anticipation for the yearly anniversary is high. It takes place at the Black Box on April 8th.
Sub.mission Founder Nicole Cacciavillano was kind enough to sit for an interview to discuss the movement she started in Denver, which has gone worldwide because of the Sub.mission Agency.
Party Guru Press: Sub.mission has become a well-recognized brand across the underground event space. As the upcoming gathering celebrates the anniversary of the company, what historical moments in your journey running the company stand out to you?
Nicole Cacciavillano: It’s such a hard question. For me, it’s about moments. A thing that sticks out for me is the first Sub.mission event. There was a small group of us that put on the first show. No one knew what dubstep was yet, so we didn’t know how it was going to go. And it ended up just being such an amazing night.
I think other pinnacle memories I have are the five-year anniversary, when we brought Deep Medi as a label. That was the first time Deep Medi came to the U.S.
Another memory is the seven-year at that little underground venue where we partied all night with the Deep Medi guys. A lot of the anniversary parties have been Deep Medi nights and those ones are very special to me. A recent moment was when Alix Perez dropped Boylan’s tune and the venue exploded with energy.
All of the Sub.mission Europe and Outlook events were special as it meant so much to see how the brand translates across the pond. I have been enjoying the Sub.Mish series; those guys up there are great to work with. Obviously, booking Skream for the OG Dubstep sets and then having him miss his flight to go B2B with Coki last minute for the first time ever.
Honestly, for me, the moments keep coming and I’m lucky enough to have a venue to experience these moments day in and day out.
Let’s talk about the early days of Sub.mission versus what’s going on now with the Sub.mission Agency and supporting The Black Box with the promotion company.
I started off Sub.mission as a monthly event, which quickly turned into more parties in a month than I could count on my fingers. At the time, Sub.mission was the only company bringing dubstep to Denver. The natural evolution of bringing all of the artists from the U.K. was to start the agency. For me, because I’ve always been a teacher — I love spreadsheets and figuring things out and sharing the music — the agency is about spreading the love of the music across the country.
And then moving into the venue, after working with the corporations and some of the largest venues in Colorado, I realized that for them it’s just business. It’s never been about the business for me. It’s always been about the music. That’s what The Black Box represents: the music, the love, the passion, the community, and the moments.
What is one thing you wish young nightlife professionals knew before they started pursuing a career promoting or booking events?
The biggest piece of advice I have is to stay true to yourself, stay true to your mission. Figure out what you want and keep pushing forward. Know your worth and know what you bring to the table. In the music industry there’s so much money and fame. A lot of people get involved for the wrong reasons. Understand the hard work that goes into it. It’s not easy money.
What have been some of your favorite Sub.mission shows throughout the years?
The first time I brought Hatcha and Benga to this venue (at the time, the building The Black Box now occupies was a venue named Benders Tavern) stands out for me as the most full-circle moment. You used to have to book a certain artist to hear certain tunes because dubplate culture was still a thing (a dubplate is an unreleased track accessible to only a very limited number of DJs, sometimes only one).
Obviously, the first time I brought Mala, that was a life-changing experience. Commodo, Goth Trad, the Skream old school dubstep sets, and Skream B2B Coki — these are legendary artists. The first time I was able to book Loefah was also a special occasion. Combining the last Electronic Tuesdays at Cervantes’ Other Side before moving into The Black Box with his first appearance for Sub.mission was great.
Also, the opening night of The Black Box was monumental. The amount of work the team put in to get the spot ready and being able to stand in our own venue and soak in the magic made it a night I will never forget.
Any special giveaways or pre-parties the fans should know about in the run-up to the anniversary party?
Well, looks like we will be having a bunch of special guests join us the night of the Anniversary. We are going to be giving away a lot of merch. I don’t know about pre-parties, I’m too old for that nowadays.
I remember you talking about about how DJs used to ship dubplates in a sealed container to your house. I was wondering if you could recount some of those stories?
Totally. Back when Sub.mission first started, all the artists from the U.K. still played records. CDJs weren’t really a thing yet. I remember having one of the very first CDJs that you’d actually put CDs in.
Only specific artists would have specific tunes. For example, Skream would write a tune and press it and only Hatcha would have it. Besides that, everyone was still pressing records and distribution was still a big thing. It was before the days of visas. You know, you couldn’t carry the records across the border without being questioned on why you’re bringing a whole stack of records. So, they’d ship them to my house and they’d be in the country for the sets. That’s how we made it work.
Everyone knows some of the iconic sayings and mantras you’ve introduced to the dubstep world. Can you tell us what “Sound Not Hype” and “Hustle Knowledge” mean to you personally?
When Sub.mission started, that’s what it was. Sub mission, the music that we are pushing, you need subs to hear the music properly. You needed to hear it on a proper system for the full experience to be able to hear it, to be able to understand it. With dubstep, and the low end, you need to be able to feel it. So it’s a much more physical experience. That’s what Sub.mission meant.
“Sound not hype” means we are here for the music. We are not here for anything else. We aren’t joining the bandwagon because it’s the cool thing to listen to this music. This sound is our mission.
Hustle knowledge came about because I was a teacher. The whole saying comes from a very forward-thinking, or very forward-pushing place. What we wanted to do was hustle the sound, but more importantly, that’s just the lifestyle. It’s something to highlight enlightening the fans about the culture of it all. Because Sub.mission was the crew here pushing dubstep at the time, it has always been about the culture. So for me, it was teaching people about the underground culture, what it meant, where it came from, and how to represent that to its fullest.
What do you want the fans to know about Sub.mission and the upcoming anniversary party?
Well, the anniversary is the first time we are able to have three international artists back in the venue under one roof in a single night since the pandemic restrictions have lifted. Commodo is one of my favorites. He’s such a forward-pushing artist. He doesn’t give a fuck and just does his thing, and I like it.
Bukez Finezt is such a heartfelt, genuine artist who makes absolutely fire music. Om Unit is debuting his new live act, which is really cool. It’s a really diverse lineup, with a little bit of music for everyone. You can expect some special guest appearances and a bunch of free goodies.
Tickets for Sub.mission’s 16 Year Anniversary party are on sale now! Be sure to grab yours soon as this event will sell out. Thanks to Nicole Cacciavillano for being gracious enough to sit down with us and give us her thoughts on Sub.mission, dubstep, and the music industry.
Big ups Nicole, and long live Sub.mission. Sound not hype!