Student DJ Subfer selected to play at SnowGlobe music festival


Grant Miller “Subfer” performed at Phi Kappa Tau’s philanthropy event “Oasis” on Saturday. Photo credit: Julia Maldonado

A mix of blue and pink fluorescent lights fills the empty black space. Glow sticks that radiate blue, red and green colors are spread throughout the audience. One student gets his audience amped up with his electronic-dance music and eccentric energy. This is Subfer.

Chico State student Grant Miller is the man behind Subfer. He recently was named to the setlist of this year’s SnowGlobe music festival in South Lake Tahoe. The festival will take place from Dec. 29 to Jan. 1. Chico State students who attended Phi Kappa Tau’s annual fundraiser concert Oasis on Saturday got to experience what makes Miller so electric.

While DJ’ing at Oasis, Miller had different sides to his performance. At times he was totally in the zone as he held his headphones up to one ear while twisting a dial on his soundboard. Sometimes he danced to the music while shouting out to the crowd to pump them up and to thank them for its energy.

Miller grew up in La Jolla and expressed his love of that area, but loves Chico and is glad to attend school here.

“I had never moved once before,” he said. “I really wanted to go somewhere like a small college town. I think it’s really cool how a college controls the town, like everywhere you go there like college students.”

“Everyone always asks me why I came to Chico when I lived in San Diego, I absolutely love nature and going on hikes. It’s the complete opposite of San Diego I think, where in San Diego you have the beach, but here you have trees and a bunch of scenery. I love it here.”

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Grant Miller poses on the stairs of Chico State’s Arts and Humanities building. Miller enjoys Chico for many reasons, one of which is the music program at Chico State. Photo credit: Tara Killoran

He said he came for the music program at Chico State, although he expressed some concern for budget cuts to the program.

“I think the music program is good… I’m a little sad they’ve been cutting funding,” he said. “It’s not for me specifically but I think there’s a lot of cool resources here… for not being an art college.”

Hundreds of Chico State students danced and partied while Subfer performed on stage at Oasis Saturday. Photo credit: Caitlyn Young

Comparing the music culture of Chico to San Diego, he said, “It’s different. I feel like it’s more of just a difference (between) colleges, and people my age in general who aren’t in college.”

“I’ve noticed in college there’s a big EDM scene, and like house music is really big, but then in San Diego it’s a lot more rap, and EDM is definitely not as big there. It’s hard to compare because Chico is such a small city compared to San Diego. Chico is cool because you have a lot of aspiring musicians here… everyone is very musical and super open to working together.”

Miller stays “in the zone” at Oasis Saturday as he transitions between electric and EDM songs. Photo credit: Caitlyn Young

On his future plans, Miller said, “I want to be able to make music and make a living from it.”

“The goal is to be able to create whatever I want to create and somehow make money off of it, which I think everyone wants. I want to be able to make music and tour, like you basically get to travel for free and play shows and meet new people, so I just want to experience all that…but I don’t really care about the money as much.”

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Miller smiles at the crowd and points at a photographer as he dances to the song’s beat. Photo credit: Caitlyn Young

He expressed high excitement for being selected for the SnowGlobe festival. “I actually told my manager I didn’t want to do anything else until I did SnowGlobe,” he said, laughing.

“I honestly didn’t think it was going to happen this year. It kind of happened last second and I was beyond excited, just because it’s such a big festival for California and especially since I have more of my fan base here in this area. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me at this stage.”

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Miller takes his headphones off and takes a small break while a song plays at Oasis Saturday. Photo credit: Julia Maldonado

Because he didn’t expect to be selected for SnowGlobe, Miller said he hasn’t thought very far ahead to what he hopes to do next.

“I’m just hoping that I can get more shows going after that,” he said. “If I can get a tour going that would be sweet. Right now besides that, I have a lot of music to release and finish.”

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Miller is a music industry major at Chico State. Photo credit: Tara Killoran

Miller is also focusing on rebranding before looking for more shows.”I was lucky enough to find someone whose art fits with my music,” he said, “so I’m having him redo all my stuff.”

Asked about his dream musical collaboration someday, Miller needed a moment to think. “There’s so many,” he exclaimed. “Honestly, I think Flume is one of the most OG people of that style. When I was first getting into creating this kind of style that I’ve adapted to, he was such a big influence.” He also listed Odesza and Porter Robinson as major musical influences.

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Miller hopes that SnowGlobe is just one of many festivals he gets to perform at as he plans to continue to be Subfer after he graduates college. He is also open to collaborating and working with other local artists. Photo credit: Tara Killoran

Miller hopes to hear from anyone who is attending SnowGlobe. He hopes to meet and get to know others who are interested in his music or in the industry overall.

“I’m a pretty friendly person, I don’t see myself as above or below anyone else,” Miller said. “I’m always open to collaboration and meeting other musicians, and just talking about music.”

Natalie Hanson and Julia Maldonado can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion and @julianewsblog on Twitter.