Get To Know: Su-Real
20 August 2012
The crucial data point with regard to DJ Su-Real is that he doesn’t give a fuck. This is, at the very least, what you’ll learn if you sit for a while and listen to him hold court. Upon closer observation, however, it becomes clear that he gives an enormous fuck about maintaining a lifestyle in which no other fucks have to be given.
How else are we to explain finding Su-Real everywhere we look when we’re looking for awesome music projects in New Delhi? As a longtime resident at TLR, Su-Real (in conjunction with Santana, visual wizard-in-chief), founded Disco 31, TLR’s long running Saturday night party. In doing so, he created a home for those Delhi party kids who were looking for something a bit more innovative, welcoming and affordable than your local five-star.
As a contributor to Imported Goods, the global music blog, Su-Real has regularly brought wise words and nasty mixes to our ears. And as a prolific trackmaker and remixer, Su has chopped up everything from 2 Live Crew to the Flash Gordon soundtrack and Nikki Minaj.
This eclecticism finds its way into his sets, where Top 40 hip-hop blends with moombahton, tribal jams, old-school desi disco, and a whole lot of air horn. It may come from all over the place, but it’s all headed in one direction: dance floor ass shaking.
When I ask DJ Su-Real to describe his sound, I’m met with a very long pause. “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. Global house party? … Urban ethno? … Nano-genres?” He stops, says, “Yeah, that’s it.” And then he repeats them all, this time without the question marks. “Nano-genres,” he tells me, “that’s nano-dash-genres,” as if it’s the punctuation that will really clarify his sound for Delhi’s dancing droves.
Su-Real’s nano-genre of the moment is nu trap (or future trap, or trap house, or a handful of other buzzy descriptors that crop up in the blogosphere). Trap music, more a loose descriptor than a specific genre, draws on the slow tempo of cough syrup infused Houston hip-hop and the almost military snares and high-hats of New Orleans’ 90s No Limit sound. Recently rediscovered by nerdy dance music producers everywhere, its intricate drum patterns and minor chord progressions are being rapidly repurposed for the club.
Like many Delhi DJs these days, Su-Real is excited about where the scene is headed “Over the last year, there’s more of an open minded crowd. People just come ready to party and they’re open to accepting new forms of music they haven’t heard before.” But, he tells us, we’re not quite yet where we need to be. Not until we do away with “[t]he old Delhi attitude… of people who only want to listen to exactly what is on their mind at that time. To which I say, ‘go to your car asshole, and put on your iPod.’”
*Su-Real will be partnering with DJ White Rabbit, Flash Hardcor and our very own Wild City DJ to launch The Trap, Delhi’s hotly anticipated new after-hours party, at Ssky Lounge on Saturday, 15 September*
The first piece of vinyl/music you bought with your own money?
I think it was a cassette tape I bought of Ice Cube "Death Certificate" in 1992 when in Inverness, Scotland. I got the money from some older skinheads I was jamming with and then beat at ping pong.
The best set you’ve ever played?
I dream about it often... I'm highly critical of my sets... Usually I'm happy just getting to play what I want as opposed to what the crowd needs, but that's rare as I'm quite the crowd pleaser.
The one song you’d want to listen to while you were blasting off into outer space?
I.S.O. - I.S.O. - experimental minimal electro-acoustic album featuring 3 amazing Japanese artists; Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M and Yoshimitsu Ichiraku. This is what space sounds like.
The best album for making love?
2 Live Crew Megamix. 'Nuff said, ho.
One track that’s a guaranteed dancefloor filler for any crowd?
No such guarantee. You have to read the crowd. I've played a track 1 night to a super response and then the next night, to absolutely none. The only sure-fire hit I have is the airhorn sample - that's unfuckwithable!
Your favourite book?
Right now I'm reading Nietszhe's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra". I thought I would love it but I'm kinda bored. Feel like gettin into some Calvin and Hobbes though, that's palatable philosophy for my generation.
Your worst/most embarrassing DJ experience?
Any of the three times I was literally physically assaulted by drunk irate Rihanna fans... Those were the worst. Embarrassing? I'm still workin on that.
Your favourite city to spin in?
Montreal, PQ. The P stands for "no holds-barred, putain!"
An artist or producer whom you admire or respect, but rarely feel compelled to listen to?
John Cage... I feel like every breath could be a John Cage piece.
The effect of zero gravity on the downbeat?
Erect penis + lubricated vagina.
Words: Kerry Harwin