Name: Su Lee
Nationality: South Korean
Occupation: Musician, visual artist, podcaster
Current Release: Su Lee's Messy Sexy is out via Crude Chapter.
Recommendations: Book: Meditations (by Marcus Aurelius) – This book is like a life bible for me. There’s just so much insight in this book about how to live a good fulfilling life (that still stands just as practical even after thousands of years of its writing)
Music: Wrong Crowd, album by Tom Odell – I would dare say this is my mostest, favoritest album of all time. Each song feels like little lovely star babies to me heheh …
If you enjoyed this interview with A Su Lee and would like to stay up to date with her projects, visit her official website. She is also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I don’t know why, but there’s something about his music that’s just so emotionally gripping, that it almost feels personal sometimes. Gahhh I wish I could explain it better in words, but I think it’s really just this unique “Joji energy” that pulls you in.
Ok, I will now shut up about how much I love Joji before it gets creepier.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
When I listen to music, the world becomes a movie scene.
Do I imagine myself crawling up buildings in a cool manner when I’m listening to Spiderman soundtracks? YES.
Do I imagine myself having an actual ass when I’m listening to Niki Minaj? YES.
And it’s the best thing ever.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
My development went kinda like,
“I HATE THIS. I HATE THIS. THIS IS CRINGE. I AM CRINGE. I DON’T LIKE THIS. I HATE THIS. OOOH! I THINK I LIKE THIS!!!!!”
and repeating this over and over again.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I try to abandon any particularly set sense of self-identity. I’ve found it better (emotionally and creatively) to embrace the fact that we’re always changing (including our sense of identity).
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
There’s no right or wrong, as long as I’m staying true to my instincts and having fun.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think both sides are just as significant. Music has been around for as long as humans have been around, so the histories rooted in certain genres and cultures revolving around them is something that should never be overlooked or forgotten.
But I also have an equal amount of respect for artists who create groundbreaking sounds and constantly, pushing their creativity to try new things.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
The most important tool and skillset for me would be knowing how to produce.
It took me hours upon hours of watching tutorials on Youtube, but it was totally worth it.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I wake up, eat some food, chill for a bit, get some work done (that could be producing, writing music, editing videos, brainstorming ideas, etc), chill for a bit more, get more work done, eat more food, etc ... etc ...
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Everything usually begins with a nugget of small little things (like a snippet of a voice memo or a sentence).
“Mayfly” for instance started with Ted (Miki Fiki, who is featured on the track!) singing “another day, can we take it?” without context and I instantly thought of Mayflies when I heard this.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Making music with other people is still something that’s super new to me. It’s always been such a private activity that at first, it felt weird singing and humming out ideas in front of people.
But it’s also been growing on me as well – there’s something really magical about collaborations where you end up creating something you’d never have been able to come up with on your own. I like collaborations and I want to keep doing them!
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I think of my work as an open journal entry. It’s an encapsulation of some of the most vulnerable experiences I’ve experienced.
And I hope my work can make some people feel more heard in going through similar experiences.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
I think the most beautiful thing about art is that anyone can make their own interpretation of it. My songs may have sprouted from my own personal experience, but once they are released into the world, it can take any shape and form to resonate with people in their own unique ways.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
I can't articulate this well. When it comes to music, I really just try to feel the music and not overthink it.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I think there’s art in everything, and mundane tasks maybe satisfy a meditative purpose while music allows me to really externalise my inner feelings.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
This is way too deep for me to answer gracefully. If I start asking why and how too much, my head starts to hurt.