INTERVIEW: Suris

Suris, welcome to VENTS!

Thank you! We appreciate your interest.

Can you tell us a little about your latest album, Bonehouse? 

We do what we do for love of music and the creative process. We’d planned to just work on one song at a time, giving each one the time and space it deserved to be individual and unique. But lockdown gave us a precious commodity – time! So the tracks started flowing and we decided to make a new album – but this time, taking on the entire technical process including mastering and video production.

Is Bonehouse a concept album? 

In the sense that the lyrics express some similar themes or ideas, you could call this a concept album, but this is more as a result of what we see and experience in the world rather than a predetermined approach to this collection. A great example is ‘Queen of the Night’; perhaps the ultimate lockdown song we can all identify with right now “…Just a bit further, c’mon….”

The songs journey themes of Escape, Rescue, Refuge, Identity and Legacy. However challenging these experiences are, they are fleeting and it is important tous that they are hopeful and ultimately, uplifting.

Do you have a favourite track on the album? 

Ha ha, that’s a bit like asking “Who’s your favourite child?” We’d have to answer that by looking at which tracks most greatly fulfilled their ambitions; not necessarily the more obviously ‘commercial’ tracks.

We’d probably start with the ambitious opener ‘Argus’, which has nearly 100 individual recorded tracks. Lindsey had been listening to contemporary choral music, including the work of Eric Whiteacre. We wanted to experiment with less harmonically obvious vocal textures, drawing the listener into the album in an unexpected way.

Dave is very pleased with the production of ‘To be Known’ – it sounds bigger than itself despite the very traditional instrumentation of drums, bass and guitars.

In contrast ‘Unsettled night’ utilises a wide range of layered instrumentation and samples to create exactly what it is – a dreamscape (featuring our own heavy breathing!)

The closing track ‘Fret’ was ambitious in that it breaks all the structural songwriting rules, progressing in ‘movements’, none of which are repeated, and concluding with a beautiful electro-violin solo by our friend Steve Bingham.

Does being in a husband and wife duo help or hinder the creative process? 

Helps – without doubt. We met at university when we played in different bands – our eyes met over the speaker stacks! We’re blessed with a great relationship on every level; we finish off each other’s musical sentences and, with a family and real life to skim off affectations, there’s little time for, or interest in, ego. We’re very fortunate in that we complement each other so well. Lindsey is the main creative force – a novelist and poet as well as a musician. Dave is perhaps more ‘technically creative’; he’ll ‘interpret’ Lindsey’s ambitions for a song and try to bring them to life.

What is the impact that you would like to make with your music? 

We hope that listeners will want to re-visit our songs to discover the many levels on which they work, hearing new and exciting things each time. These are definitely ‘growers’, reflecting our own tastes for music of depth and emotion. We’d love our songs to be used in Film & TV – we stop everything when we hear the opening music to The Bridge (Hollow Talk by The Choir of Young Believers) – and we’d love to be in that company!

Lockdown gave you time to experiment with your sound, how has your sound changed from your former releases? 

We’ve certainly become more intentional and adventurous in our approach to both songwriting and arrangements. We’re now less concerned with ‘following the rules’ and more interested in creating unique experiences that sometimes defy convention.

In the past, we may have started by ‘layering up’ a range of ideas to see what worked, but now we subscribe to a ‘less is more’ approach; tracks like ‘Queen of the Night’ and ‘Found’ exemplify this approach.

But above all we wanted each track to fulfil its own ambition, and although we may have started with a very basic skeleton, we’re excited by some of the more heavily-layered outcomes. 

With such an eclectic sound, how does the writing process start? 

Always with Lindsey – writing at the Piano, testing musical and lyrical ideas until she has produced a cohesive song. Very often she and Dave will discuss the intention and how well it’s working, sometimes resulting in a restructure or adaptation of melody or tempo. By the time we start recording, the outline of the song is pretty much defined.

Then we start the second phase of the creative process, using our studio as a creative tool to fashion sounds and ideas that reflect the original concept. Experimentation is inevitable – more is rejected than used – but we always seek to find musical expressions and sounds that are as original and unique to Suris as we can make them.

Outside of music, what inspires you? 

It’s Faith, family and friends that keep us grounded – and we’re both inspired by great art of any type, from literature to film and theatre.

We’ve enjoyed learning how to make our own videos, which has involved a crash course in the art of ‘greenscreening’ – inevitable in a time of lockdown when access to locations has been limited. Our most recent video To be Known is an example of our ambition to provide a great video for every track on the album.

Perhaps our greatest recent inspiration is the range of human kindness and endeavour displayed by so many throughout the Coronavirus epidemic. How great would it be if humanity doesn’t revert to the stereotypical self-interest of the social media age?

What else can we expect from Suris in the future? 

We’d like to create a live band and tour the material – hopefully when the world is more ‘normal’ we can do that. But for now, we’ll complete our Bonehouse project with a video for every track, and then develop more original material using the many song ideas we already have in the pipeline…

We’d love to share our music with film-makers – we’re always interested in a project where we can apply our skills in new ways and learn something along the way…

Stream now on Spotify

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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