Suki Sou

Electronic composer and sound designer Suki Sou tackles our quick-fire questions

Hello Suki. Where are you right now and what can you see?

“Hey! I just accidentally baptised my studio decks with a tsunami of water here in the Peak District.”

So, your parents sent you to boarding school in Berkshire, from China, on your own… aged eight. That shapes you, right?

“You know how humans care for their kids until they’re 18? Giraffes have it figured out – 18 minutes and it’s ‘Get up and go!’. My boarding school experience was like a giraffe/human hybrid that laid the groundwork for my insatiable curiosity to explore the uncharted terrains of sound.”

Your debut album, ‘Notes On Listening’, is born of a fascination with early electronic instruments…

“Early synths are like audio time-travel machines that let me zigzag through sonic dimensions while providing solace during moments of loneliness.”

You list some serious influences – Riley, Ciani, Cluster, Spiegel… you’re Electronic Sound personified!

“OMG, ES personification! Discovering these legends is a bit like stocking up a pantry with seasoning and herbs. Each of them offers a unique blend of notes, flavours, smells and textures that enhance and elevate the hue of my own compositions.”

Michael Rother has also added his seal of approval. Wow, eh?

“His approval feels like a kosmische high-five. It’s a humbling and invigorating experience that has given me a lot of motivation.”

You say you’re inspired by “the quotidian, the overlooked and the pleasurable” – give us an example?

“It never ends. Let’s go… maybe the sounds of a Yorkshire pudding rising could remind you of the word ‘auction’? Or John Lennon’s voice feels like red cellophane, the type you get around toffee apples, and Brian Eno’s ‘An Ending’ sounds like a slowly stretching ribbon of fresh butter that never slips off your knife…”

You also have synaesthesia – in what way does that affect your music-making?

“It’s like having a built-in special effects team in my head! It’s a wild ride and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

The album has quite the analogue arsenal – Buchla, Moog, ARP, Serge, Synthi… you don’t own all of them, do you?

“No, I don’t own them. I had the privilege of using these incredible instruments at the Willem Twee Studios in the Netherlands, which is an amazing space filled with a vast collection of rare and vintage synths. I do however have the Buchla Easel, and I’m in the process of expanding that into my own Buchla 200e system.”

What colour is Moog?

“The plummy sparkly electric colours you see when you press your fingers over your closed eyes, but it tastes like a velvety brie made from the milk of a powerful cow.”

I think that’s the best answer to a Brief Encounters question, ever.

“I enjoyed talking to you. Let’s have dim sum next time. Goodbye.”

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