Suki Sou: "Making A Living From Music Is Like Trying To Compose A Symphony On A Calculator"

Suki Sou:

Suki Soo was born in Macau to a Burmese father and a half-Japanese, half-Chinese mother, whose philosophy in raising Suki was to throw her into the abyss.

"My parents sent me to a Catholic boarding school in Berkshire when I was eight years old," he told us. "I traveled to England with just a dictionary. My mother's theory was that I should learn the language on my own, without anyone's help."

The do-it-yourself attitude persisted, and with some influence from her father, an electrical engineer, Sue developed a passion for synthesizers and software. Now he owns the best of an amazing studio, making eclectic mixes.

It's Music describes it as "electronic, cosmic, proto-techno new morning". It has a refreshing "no rules" philosophy, doesn't strive for perfection ("it can cloud the big picture"), and has some of the best advice we've seen for aspiring producers. Read on for tips on the Pure Data "minefield" and achieving the soft gel effect.

How did you first get into the world of music?

"It all started when my mom encouraged me to learn the piano because of the cognitive benefits [laughs] . But when I got into music, I became very interested in the sound and how it could take me further. I started playing with records." field, foley and electronic instruments to create a sound palette that places the listener at the center of the event.

“Through my music, I try to capture sounds that are often overlooked in our world, like the sweet sound of jelly falling on the floor or the echo of space in an empty vase. I want to create worlds that encourage people to explore and offer them a world of sensory experiences they may have missed, auditory experiences they may not have had before.

When and how do you say that you are successful or at least earn a living with music?

“Making a living with music is like trying to compose a symphony with a calculator: it's a delicate balance that requires patience, persistence, and risk-taking. I am grateful for the opportunities my job as a sound designer brings. career is that you must be able to adapt, take on new challenges and stay true to your vision. It's been a bumpy road, but the privilege of having the freedom to experiment and ultimately being able to share what you create with others is priceless. "

What is your general philosophy or approach when it comes to music?

"I do my best to balance precision with intuition, driven by curiosity. I know that the pursuit of perfection can cloud the big picture, so I trust my gut and let the music do the talking. Attention to detail is Basic, but it lacks more."

When and how did you find your way of making music on the computer and how did it change the way you work?

"I was determined to free myself from the shackles of depending on other people to create the music I wanted. It all started with a group of Japanese friends who introduced me to the innovative sound of Aphex Twin, Broadcast, Prefuse 73, Four Tet, and all the artists of Warp Records from the early 2000s 21. Inspired by his creative process, I dove into learning and experimenting with the Korg EM-1, and the rest is history.

Tell us about your studio team...

“I have several synths, sequencers, and drum machines that I use frequently, including a Korg EM-1, Buchla Easel, Knas Ekdhal Moisturizer, Moog Mother 32, Korg Minilogue, and SQ1 drum machines, as well as a Casio 403 and Bastl Softpop. 2-drum box.” Motherboard To take care of everything, I connected everything through a Soundcraft 16-channel mixer, a Focusrite interface, and my MacBook. I also have a lot of MIDI plug-ins, pedals and controllers."

Can you tell us more about this plugin?

As for my favorite plugins, there are so many great options that it's hard to pick just a few, but there are five that I keep coming back to, each with their own unique features and capabilities.

Arturia V Collection. This pack is an absolute powerhouse, packed with amazing textures, effects, and more. I love the variety of instruments, from the classic sounds of the Synthi V and Modular V to the modern features of Pigments and Analog Lab. With so many great options at my disposal, I can easily create the perfect sound for any song.

Cherry Audio ARP 2500. It's a virtual emulation of a classic analog synthesizer and it sounds absolutely stunning. The attention to detail is truly extraordinary: every knob and key has been meticulously reworked to replicate the sound and feel of the original instrument. Whether I'm creating advanced pads, booming basslines, or other soundscapes, the ARP 2500 is an essential tool in my arsenal.

"Pure data. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm happy to share that it's made it to my list of favorite tools. It's an open source visual programming language for audio and video processing that allows me to create my own patches and algorithms I'm amazed at how complex it is and how much control it gives me, its use in audio and signal transmission has been a great resource for designing new sounds and experimenting with different processing techniques.

Spitfire Audio Laboratories. This chain is a real gem. It's a free collection of high-quality virtual instruments covering everything from strings to pianos, experimental soundscapes and more, with each sample carefully recorded and processed to create a truly immersive and expressive playing experience. And did I mention it's free?

"Pure Magnetic Accessories". These are also some of my favourites: they range from classic analog sims to the latest granular synths and each one is packed with unique features and capabilities. I also love the variety and the fact that they are constantly releasing new and innovative instruments for musicians and producers to try out."

Have you worked with other manufacturers?

"I have not worked with anyone on this project, but I have worked with several other musicians over the years. Collaboration can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It requires a lot of communication and commitment, but it can also result in unexpected and interesting results. ".

How do you usually start the track?

"I often start by experimenting with different sounds and textures using my collection of effects and backing pedals. Once I find a set I like, I expand it with various MIDI playing patterns and custom patches created with Logic Pro X or software like Max /MSP and Pure Data for complex control.

"Then I layer additional vocals with hardware like the Buchla Easel or Moog Mother 32 for warmth and depth, add Feld or Foley recordings for more movement, and of course lots of VST." Using equalization and compression, I carefully shape and polish each element to create a smooth and cohesive final product. "

How do you know when the track ends?

"OMG...finishing a song can be hard, but it's about learning to trust your instincts and accepting the process. I was inspired by Pauline Oliveros' intense listening practice, taking the time to fully immerse myself in the music and let it speak to me on a deeper level. It felt dangerous." Very! Sometimes that means taking a step back and coming back with fresh ears, or taking a break from music altogether.

"I'm a firm believer that simplicity is the key to finishing the course. Instead of maximizing results, overdo less and knowing when to stop tinkering and refining is key. Follow your intuition to experiment, but also know when it's time to let it go.. keep going... move on and move on to the next project And most importantly, realize that music is a journey. We all die somehow, enjoy the process and let the sound take you where you want to be go".

Can you tell us at least one of your tricks or production processes?

"One of my favorite tricks is to create a sense of movement and progression through repetition and variety. I often start with a simple pattern or motif and then gradually add new elements or interpretations of the theme. I find this approach really allows me to create mesmerizing and welcoming environments.

What's on your wish list?

I am currently on a mission to build my own Buchla 200e system. I also have my eye on the ARP 2600 FS and would like to add the EMS VC3S to my collection if the opportunity arises. In the meantime, I searched Reverb and eBay for old Tascam M-208 or SoundCraft 32-channel recorders and mixers.

What further developments in production technology would you like to see?

"Something that really interests me is the use of artificial intelligence in music production. Using new machine learning algorithms, we can create models that can analyze and learn from vast amounts of music data, generate ideas that are truly unique and innovative, and perform in real time with human musicians.

Take Google's NSynth for example: you can use it to create entirely new sounds by combining elements of existing sounds in creative ways. Then there's Amper Music, an AI-powered platform that can generate custom music tracks in seconds. progress With artificial intelligence, we will discover more creative possibilities for music production, including automatic arrangements, real-time performances and new ways of sound synthesis.

There is still a lot of room for improvement regarding the integration of software and hardware.

"Another area I'm really interested in is haptic feedback technology. This type of technology provides physical feedback in response to digital input, making audio processing easier and more intuitive. This technology is already used in things like video game controllers and the iPhone, but I think it has great potential for music production as well. Haptic feedback could provide a more responsive way to control things like filter clipping, LFO speed, and pitch damage. immersive, making performances more expressive and enhancing the creative process.

"There's still a lot of room for improvement in terms of software and hardware integration. We've made some progress, like being able to switch between sound decks or control multiple sustain pedals and effects from a single interface, but I think there's still a lot that can be done." to make the workflow smoother and increase creativity.”

What song would you like to produce and why?

Laurie Spiegel's " Patchwork " is a song that really shows how innovation can drive emotional and expressive music. The four-part compositional structure is woven through the intricate interplay of melodic motifs, rhythmic patterns, and compositional techniques. Fascinates me!"

What is the best advice someone has ever given you?

"I've learned a lot about the technical aspects of playing live and working in the studio - invest in quality equipment and software you're comfortable with! A reliable laptop or just a MIDI controller, combined with a powerful DAW platform and plug-ins , it can make a difference." Good for its ability to deliver smooth and engaging live performances.

The more tools you have, the more creative and versatile you can be in the studio.

For study work, I recommend staying organized and efficient. Develop a system for organizing your samples, presets, and project files, and be sure to back everything up regularly. Also, be willing to experiment with different software and hardware, and don't be afraid to try new techniques and workflows—the more tools you have, the more creative and versatile you can be in the studio.

From the music industry: However, try not to feel bound by traditional rules and other people's expectations. It's important to follow your own path and not rely solely on other people to make things happen for you. In today's industry, with so many tools and resources available, it's easier than ever to tackle your own problems and create your own opportunities. Don't be afraid to take risks."

What are you planning for the future?

My latest release is a hugely successful mini-album called Notes On Listening . It's a morning mix of neo-electronic, cosmic and techno elements, with clean synth chat and soggy loops. I hope listeners find it nostalgic and forward thinking. I'm also currently focused on writing my next album, but I'd like to do a residency in Europe this year to challenge myself in new ways."

Listening notes are now available on Curious Music.

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