Interview with Suffer the Children
Suffer the Children started out as a mutual need to prioritize intelligent songwriting, honest collaboration and the freedom to experiment as friends and creators. With these things in mind, how have you managed to ensure there is integrity in your work in each step of your career?
Well, our careers leading up to this point have all been very different from each other, and the process of combining forces is still really in its early stages. One thing that we all bring to the table is a strong sense of personal and artistic identity as individuals, and a strong body of work to date as professional creatives – not just within the music industry, but also in visual art, dance, writing, and fashion. We definitely don’t always agree on things, but that’s really the best part of independent collaborations like this – we have as much room as we need to discuss, try new things, change what isn’t working, and inspire each other to grow as artists – without having to modify our creative process or the final product based on anyone else’s needs or opinions. At this point, we’re all excited that we can challenge ourselves and each other as artists; that each of us has something really different to bring to the project and as a result we all grow.
You guys have created a mix of electronica, trap, pop and RnB in your sound. What does a songwriting session look like with all these different influences coming into play?
Our writing sessions have become really streamlined, which has really motivated us to stay in the studio and ride out this creative wave as long as we can, before changing direction to start working on a live show. Over the past year or so, we’ve just organically developed a way of doing things as smooth as we could ask for – it’s been a surprise for all of us how easy things are flowing (well, except when they’re not, which to be honest isn’t often). I think that we’ve automatically gravitated towards creating something that kind of crosses lot of different genres because we all bring really different things to the table. Each of us gravitates towards a different vibe, and we’ve been able to find a pocket that works somewhere in the middle. We generally start with music, then words. Sometimes we’ll chat about topics in advance, but most of the time that comes from one of us once we start bouncing lyrics around. Everything is open for input from all of us, but generally Chin does all of the composition and production, Shallom writes most of the lyrics, and Rian sets a lot of the vocal melodies and does most of the singing.
In a world progressively advancing with rapid information, how do you stay grounded as a band?
We stay grounded by constantly being honest and open with each other, and giving ourselves and each other time to breathe outside of this project.
Each member of STC has additional roles they play out in their careers. From choreographing to record producing, style to art – how do these outlets support the direction the group is heading towards?
Music, art, style and performance have always intersected in some way, and there’s a lot of potential magic to tap into when that happens. If you look back through musical history – especially since the 60s – so many of the artists we revere were iconic in part because they were able to take all of these things and make them their own. Music was and is the central point around which Suffer The Children revolves, but we know that it can’t and shouldn’t exist inside a creative vacuum. There’s so much more possibility when we can be open minded about what this could turn into, and how our other interests can feed into that. It doesn’t make sense to lock any doors before we’ve at least had a peek behind them. It’s also really nice to be able to do almost everything in-house; from songwriting and production to album art, videos, styling, design. Not having to depend on outside assistance really speeds up the process in a lot of ways. Not to mention, we each bring with us our own global network of talented people and forward-thinking organizations who are excited to see this develop, and have been supporting us 100% as we move forward.
What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?
It’s always an ongoing battle with any artist of any generation in music, but one of the main challenges of being an artist is to remain true and real to your own creativity and ideas. In an industry where you have so many different opinions getting thrown at you and criticism it can definitely be a challenge to remain authentic to what you truly believe in. Yes it is good to get feedback, but if you believe in what you are creating, it is of good quality and it touches your spirit in a good way then there will be others out there that will appreciate your work. People are going to like it or not, that’s just life. Everything isn’t for everyone.
Your Instagram feed is a beautiful curation of art, musicians, style, emotion and mood. What’s the idea behind this collection of images. Who manages the account?
Thanks! Our Instagram is also a collaborative effort, we have a digital folder where we can all contribute images to choose from, and Shallom and Rian split the day to day account management. There was a moment at which we decided that this thing that was casually developing was worth more of our focus, and worth sharing with the public,.but when we were getting our social channels up and running, it was such early stages that we knew that we didn’t have enough of our own content to curate a feed that was 100% focused on STC. All of us liked the idea of curating a feed that highlights other creatives whose work we find inspiring, from music to art to fashion. As our project evolves, we are starting to include more and more original content – but we still want to continue sharing what inspires us on a daily basis. It’s a nice visual journal for us to look back on, and we hope that others enjoy it as much as we do.
In the current scope on the music industry, there is an emerging list of festivals and events popping up to include a more diversified line-up of acts. What’s on your radar to watch and where would you like to play?
We’ve been really interested in the Northern California festival scene for a while now; Lightning in a Bottle and Symbiosis in particular. Closer to home, Shambhala and Bass Coast; looking overseas we are big fans of how Cape Town Electronic Music Festival has developed, and continues to grow. Venues such as the Village Underground in Shoreditch East London or The roundhouse in Camden Town North London would be great to headline at some point later on down the line.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Well, we’re not sure yet! Ask us again next summer, once we’ve got our live set sorted out 🙂
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
We have at least a couple more singles on the way, followed up with an official EP release by the end of 2017. We’re excited to start exploring video content for some of these tracks, so expect to see some teasers on their way soon as well. Also, merch for sure! We’ve had a bunch of requests already, so as soon as we get a moment to breathe we’re going to do a limited edition run of high-end tees with our logo. Also expect to see some custom one-of-a-kind garments before the year is out. We’ve already got our eyes set on 2018, and are really excited to start playing some live shows and keep on releasing new music. The songs we are releasing this year were all written and recorded in the first half of 2017, and since then we’ve been working on a full length LP that is almost complete.