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Suz Interview

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Finally we got our own Suz interview. We’ve put our minds into it for a long time now, because she is one of our favs and part of the Produkt family. Besides, as many other north-american artists, she is also underrated, due to the low frequency of gigs in Europe. Hopefully this interview will make a tiny difference in the developers’ eyes and we will get to see her more often playing in Europe. This particular interview introduces the reader into a small part of her history and acts as a small scale blueprint of the canadian scene, with it’s goods and bads. Of course, we couldn’t have not asked her for another one of her yummy recipes.

1: Hello Suz, how’s everything? How are you?

Hello ! I’m smiling so I must be doing well ;). I’m living life, alternating between busy and relaxing, all the while enjoying the tail end of summer. I found myself lying in a patch of sunlight in the grass today next to my pup. She always seems to find the most comfortable places to catnap – so I stole a bit of her sun. Now I’m listening to Mikkel Metal to set the mood for this interview I must complete for you guys ;). Okay, let’s get started!

2: How did all started for you in Canada, musically speaking ? How did you come in contact with the scene there, with Archipel etc.?

The world and all its aspects have always been very guiding for me. Up until now, I’ve never really planned anything in my life (long-term) and have always relied on my interests, inspirations, experiences, and most importantly my intuition to show me direction. I believe we should bend with the wind in order to allow our lives to take its proper shape. Granted, we do need to plan certain things, but we’ll just keep it simple for now. This was totally the case with music. I won’t bore you all with how much I listened to music growing up because I think we all pretty much had a diskman/ walkman/ ghettoblaster /record player/ musical instrument etc, and had some sort of like/love for it. I’m no different than the rest of the music lovers out there who connect to specific sounds and artists. Rather, it was more about the way I felt when I listened to, or played music. From being pea-sized, to now (being a somewhat larger pea), I always felt like tonal frequencies was where I resonated best – where I and other people made the most sense in this silly world. So typically, I wanted to become immersed in it as much as possible. So over the years, this lead to performing, producing, radio, journalism, etc. I was always very receptive to the way music entered my life, and went with it – growing and expanding. The key is to challenge yourself and to try new things, because new things take you to unknown places, and it is there where you might find your treasures. My connections to this day are all built based on friendships. Although I have a general respect for everyone, the people I really draw close to I feel I have a specific bond with, where it’s family oriented. The labels I work with, the artists I collaborate with, the people I even perform with – everyone is something special to me. I’m affiliated with Archipel because not only do I believe in aesthetics of the label, but JP is also a dear friend of mine, and working alongside with him is a complete pleasure. I support the things I believe in.

3. How is life there in Canada? And how come you didn’t move to Europe by now? You, Pheek and Akufen are all quite some interesting artists that would input their vision more effectively if you would live in Europe.

Canada is a beautiful yet interesting place, but musically its very limited. People may argue with me, but I’m only making this claim based on my own story, and other Canadian artists I’ve communicated with. I actually just had a discussion last night with a fellow artist, and we went on and on about this. I will use Winnipeg, MB as the topic city because this is where I live (and although musically it’s similar to other Canadian cities, I feel I will be less condemned for generalizing the big picture if I narrow it down to one place).

I like to use the analogy of a springboard. Picture yourself at the edge of a swimming pool, about to dive into a 9 feet deep pit of water. You slowly start to bounce up and down, until finally you reach a point where you either keep on trying to spring higher, or you give in and just lean forward and fall into the water. Winnipeg to me is that 9 feet deep pool, where you cannot go any further. If you try, you will hit your head at the bottom. I picture other countries to be if I continued to jump on the springboard, higher and higher  — and your limits are measured by your own capabilities. You can push yourself until you shoot high into the sky. It’s totally up to you.

Canada is a great place to start a musical career, and it will bring you to certain places … but I feel the aesthetics are much stronger overseas, and the opportunities found in other countries (specifically Europe) are endless. Canada really supports their hardcore and diehard locals, but seem to frown upon great success (please disregard anything commercial or pop culture because that’s in its own bracket and I wont be speaking about that).

There is no denying that local successful music labels have more support from overseas, and touring Canadian artists find more gigs across the world. Why not here? It’s not like Canada is a small place with a shortage of people. This whole situation is just so strange to me. It seems like as soon as you spring on that board to taste other places, you get the impression that your fellow Canadians are assuming that you turned their back on them. You surely cannot blame an artist for wanting to become immersed in a culture where their work is appreciated and fed — so, they end up leaving our nation to find it! I’ve mildly experienced this situation already, as well as many other successful artists I’m close to (to an even higher degree). I’m not only speaking of electronic music either – this goes with any art form.

As soon as you hide your face, you’re pretty much forgotten about. It feels like all the hard work you have done was nuked, and in order to be appreciated you have to party like an animal and show your face consistently. Art is not about the party, it’s about creation – and people sometimes forget that you need to take steps away from something, in order to create something worthwhile.

So you basically have to work REALLY REALLY hard here to develop yourself. So if you run your own consistent club night, or are playing across Canada (enough to make a living) then I think you deserve what’s given to you. It takes loads of dedication and great marketing skills to achieve these things.

I believe that Canada has the potential to become and remain the host to many amazing artists, but until it learns how to support and nurture them, they will all continue to leave and go places where they are able to both grow and be appreciated. Until that time, successful icons will continue to leave. I don’t want it to seem like I’m bashing my own Country, rather I hope that if enough people will speak out about the issues, changes might occur, and for the better. I will always support my local Canadian artists, because there are so many brilliant minds that were born here, and we should never forget where we are from. When I move from here, I will always say that I’m Canadian.

As for why am I not in Europe?  GOOD QUESTION! Haha! Actually I’m happy to announce that I will be heading overseas in a few years time. I’m completing another year of education, which will hopefully take me overseas when I’m finished. This is my goal. As for where exactly, I’m open to anywhere – but my eyes are focused either on Germany, Spain or Switzerland. My parents are from Hungary, so who knows maybe I’ll end up living where they grew up. 🙂 Time will tell (also where I can get a job!).  I will for sure participate in music and hopefully play a significant role of some sort. Again, because music is a hobby, it wouldn’t be a lifestyle for me, rather an endless love that I’ll take on dates a few days a week. 😉 But trust me, I’m beyond excited to experience Europe musically; I hear nothing but amazing things.

4: Can you tell us what are your current projects? What should we expect from you to see in the near future? Maybe an EP release, a remix somewhere or some new unheard weird project?

My album is a biggie. It has taken me much discipline to finally stop producing random songs/remixes, to focus on something I would feel would be a life long achievement. I know some may look at it like “just another album,” but it will be more to me. Music to me is not about numbers. It’s not about popularity. It’s not about making money. It’s about translating who I am into something that can be heard enjoyably. I will be making it more than an ‘8 song on a disk’ piece. I really want to create an art form, incorporating paintings, conceptual writings, and musical structures along with it. I feel at this point in my life this needs to be done, and based on my past experiences I have much to write about 😉 My life has been very trying for the past 6 years, hard but beautiful, eroding yet building – I just feel like I have so much to say, and I’d love to show something for it. Life lessons are meant to be past on with hope that you can impact another person with your experiences.  I hope people will be able to dive into it, both sonically and visually, to reach them emotionally and spiritually — which will give them a bit more insight into another character on this earth. After all, it is about connecting.

Fewf! Let’s get out of that serious mode for a second! Haha! I will be taking a break from my work to still participate in vocal projects. I have a few artists I’m working with right now for some pieces to be released in the future. I love doing vocal work, a ton of fun – random and retarded. Totally my cup of tea 😉

5: From the canadian point of view, you might see some other artists that will probably influence the scene in the near future. Who do you think will be the next ones to have a huge impact on everyone?

I don’t want to put names in my answer, because they would appear to come across as biased. However, I will say this: the artists I feel who will impact MUSIC as a whole in the near future are the ones who are able to break free from the molds, the popularity, the “trends,” and anything else that basically sets you off the path to aid in evolutionary thinking. The artists who willingly try different things, who are not afraid of rejection, and who are not expecting immediate acceptance for their art forms, are the one who will walk the planet with longevity. Sometimes to appreciate a masterpiece we need to step away from it, or look at it in more than one angle. This can take time and patience.

6: Music nowadays seems to tend to be more organic, more soulful, will your sound go in that direction too?

Hey, you’re preaching to a woman who has soul in her blood haha! My music will always have a form of soul, funk or organic rhythms. Sometimes obvious, sometimes not. To me it’s (and please mind the pun) MUSIC TO MY EARS to hear more soulful, house-oriented sounds incorporated into new styles of music. I need rhythm, I need melody, and I need to hear real instruments!

You mentioned ‘trend’ in your question. The thing is, I don’t see anything organic being a trend of any kind for this simple reason:  Organic means anything natural. Anything natural to me equals sustenance. Organic music will be around forever as a staple to remind everyone that this is where we came from. It’s that one tree planted in the middle of a metropolis. As techno as we want to get, it’s in our roots to be organic.

7: When will we see some more of you on 12″?

Pretty much when I’m done my album, or maybe somewhere in the middle where I might need to take a break from being too serious 😉 I do have a retarded side that needs to be nurtured as well 😉

8: What do you know about the romanian scene? Is there anything that seems eye-catching to you?

I really don’t know much about the Romanian scene. I do know that geographically you’re close to Hungary, so that kinda makes us neighbors! Maybe I should play interviewer now: So, what is the musical culture like in Romania? 😉

9: I understand you had your own club that you managed. How was it? This side of work, the club itself?

It was a different world! More business oriented, more about money, attendance, etc etc. It had its good sides and it had its bad sides, much like everything else in this world. We were called “O2 in the Basement” inspired by crappy 02 tanks that were down there, but more or less a play on words meaning “a breath of fresh air.” I believe that’s what we were for the 3.5 years we lasted. We were featured in several Winnipeg newspapers as one of the most successful and longest lasting club nights to ever take place in the City of Winnipeg. So I guess we did something right! Haha.

The good sides included:
–    Having a staple and reoccurring place to hang out for you and your friends, where you controlled the environment. Essentially it was like having a house party every weekend. So much fun was had it was incredible.
–    No matter how boring the city would be that night, people would come to “02” knowing they would see familiar faces and hear good music.
–    It was free for all our friends, and anyone else who would win tickets (which we pretty much made easy as pie). So to hear good music, you didn’t need to have a stacked wallet.
–    Families were formed. Our DJ Crew (Layborn, Oxide, Jules, Alpha, and myself) were renowned for doing a lot in Winnipeg, musically speaking. We became very close with each other over the years. Everyone helped everyone, because the harder we worked the more we could keep a good thing going. It was about music, not about popularity. We really demonstrated that with no ego or showboating attitudes. We pushed new music, always giving people something different. After much dedication, it worked because we finally developed a following that took us to the very end.
–    Being able to bring in entertainment from other parts of the world to play right in our humble abode for FREE. We made a deal with the owner of the club to pay for all performers, just as long as we bring the people. So we worked hard to promote the hell out of our nights, which in turn raised much attention to styles of music that were not really welcomed in the city of Winnipeg. People are more into Alternative music here, crappy retro 80’s/90’s Pop, and HipHop – so to promote an acquired taste in a “more popular music” downtown was simply brilliant (especially when it took off and did amazingly well). Awareness was our motive, and of course – to have a kick ass time.
–    We gave many new artists a place to perform. We were always open to welcoming up & coming DJs, giving them a chance to wet their whistle. They didn’t need to brown-nose, they simply needed to show up and give us a disk and the rest was decided based on their skill. We remained unbiased, which to me was a refreshing change from the other ways I’ve heard how people got gigs. It really makes you wonder how desperately people want to play sometimes (sheesh).
–    AND MY VERY FAVORITE: We hosted a handful of charitable events. We ran “The 50 Dj Fest” yearly, sometimes hosting TWO in one year. We would fill the entire bar with our choice of music, hosted by all the local talent in Winnipeg. Yup, we have many DJs. In the latter years, we actually hosted 100 DJs in one night (9pm-2am) in 6 rooms, and sometimes using another bar that was across the street. Each attendee who came donated money for the charity of choice (Juvenile Diabetes, Big Brothers and Sisters, Women’s Shelter, Humane Society, etc) and all DJs played for free with no hesitation. It was a brilliant night in Winnipeg, and it never ceased to go off with a bang. Seeing the 2000+ people and knowing all the money that just came in would be for a charity was enough to make me float for the whole evening. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and how everyone worked together to make it happen was another bonus the night. I miss those times very much. 😦 No one has ever done anything like this in Winnipeg before. It was new and very exciting, and of course rewarding.

Ugh, the bad things:
–    Politics / Money  — need I say more? You enter these, and you always get trouble.
–    Dealing with owners who only really cared about money. It made it severely difficult at times to push our styles of music when this wasn’t a factor in his books. Hmm, to sell out, or not to sell out – this was the pressure. Thankfully we never sold our souls.
–    Dealing with the dangers of Winnipeg nightlife. This may sounds strange, but Winnipeg is extremely dangerous. We’ve had consistent shootings at Winnipeg bars for as long as I can remember. People were dying left, right and center. Our downtown is a ghost-town at night, and is not a place you want your children. This is how our bar closed down actually. People were shot one week right on the dance floor, and the next week, one guy was stabbed to death right in front of our DJ booth. It’s a sad and sick reality of Winnipeg – who wants to mix culture with murder? Not me.
–    Aside from the good nights, bad nights had to happen. Belligerent drunk assholes (pardon me) would pretty much kill the vibe. People who were not there for the music, and only wanted to get loaded and to score with the loose-morale.
–    It would get exhausting running a joint 2 x a week. Sometimes you just wanted to stay at home and hide in your bed. A free schedule is something we should not take for-granted 😉
–    Yes and the hardest: HEDONISTIC valley!! Temptations up the yoohoo! Near the end of my club night I was already making some severe changes in my life. I quit drinking, started to eat very healthily, exercised daily and learned how to sleep at earlier hours :). I burned myself out completely over the years, and it was time to make a change. It was hard to go to work in an environment which I felt like I didn’t belong to anymore. When I make changes, I need to be focused – and being around belligerence just made it harder for me. Anyhow, I chugged through it, and to this day, I still uphold this new lifestyle – an incredibly healthy person who is very conscious of her life (now and in the long-run), so in turn, I wont be running any club nights ever again, or at least until I’m comfortable enough to balance both of the lifestyles together, so that they are not working against each other.

10: And as a last question, may we have another one of your yummy recipes? 🙂

Sure! I’m full of them (amongst other things HA!!)

Seriously, I eat pancakes everyday, so it’s only necessary that I share. This is my tweaked recipe – so feel free to incorporate other ingredients if need be (sometimes I add ½ cup of Brown Rice Flour for added protein on days I do a longer workout).

1 cup Organic Buckwheat Flour (light or dark)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Himalayan Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Stevia powder

½ cup of Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce
½ cup Organic Almond or Rice Milk (vanilla flavor)
½ cup of Purified Water (or to your desired consistency)
1 tsp Lemon Juice

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Then, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture (excluding the lemon). Do not stir rapidly, rather, slowly fold all ingredients together with a rubber spatula. Now add the lemon juice and continue folding ingredients together (doing this slowly will create tiny bubbles [air pockets], which will cause the pancakes to rise in the pan). Allow the mixture to stand for 2-4 minutes as you prepare your frying pan. Use a medium sized pan, and add a bit of olive oil or ghee (clarified butter). Heat on high until HOT, then lower the heat to medium. Then add your mixture to the pan to your desired amount. Cook slowly for about 4-5 minutes on one side (or until you see many bubbles form on the top of the pancake and the edges are solid and not runny). Flip over; allow to sit for another minute then remove from pan onto a plate. Repeat with more batter until your desired amount of pancakes fill your plate. I garnish/flavor mine with sliced mango, banana and apple sauce, and with a bit of Agave nectar. You would have never known that healthy tasted so good!

**WARNING – THESE ARE HIGLY ADDICITVE and loose pants must be worn to prevent tearing of the waistline, or crotch area.

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Written by pessh

September 8, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Posted in interviews - en

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