► Susanoo, Artist of Shadow and Light

Susanoô has just launched Nitoryu, his second solo project. He, a hit maker (particularly best known for his work on Mace’s “Police”, Diamond Song) and rapper, is now off to a good start in his career. Going back to the discussion with him, about this EP full of duplicity…

Susanoô, your first project Ichi means “one” in Japanese, and your artist’s name refers to Japanese mythology. Where does this passion for Japanese culture come from?

I grew up in that culture, you see: anime and manga… My first relationship with Japan was through history and mythology. I was influenced by all the Japanese pop culture of the ’80s and ’90s that has followed me even today because I still really love it. It’s a world I find myself in, it’s a part of me. Now everyone calls me Suze, even my mom! (Laugh)

You say you listened to a lot of French songs (Lama, Brill, Brassence, etc.), according to you, It had an impact on your way of writing?

i am sure. Singers at that time had a special way of attacking people in their songs. The text carried the entire piece and that’s what I wanted to approach while updating it with more modern and personal code. It all comes from my grandmother. All week African music was in the house and on Sunday it was French songs to clean up. Later, George Brassens and Jacques Brill offered me to put together 3 CDs, and I haven’t stopped since.

When I was younger, I started writing and producing for friends, and then started doing it myself. How was the transition?

A singer friend I wrote for him and his tune had taken a singing lesson. For this occasion, I accompanied him on the piano. Her vocal coach asked her if what she was performing was composition or cover. Then gradually, she made it clear to me that it would be interesting for me to defend my scripts. It took me a while to get started because I didn’t have a voice compared to the artists I met. This is where it all began, circa 2013.

I started with a little boat received at Christmas when I was a kid, then tried your hand at FL Studio (production software) which I quickly gave up to return to after a few years through acquaintances. You are not only interested in words and sound but also in production. Which of these two aspects of your career came first?

Going back in time, I started writing poetry and the Big Four, and then came authorship. The two then feed on each other and now complement each other. Then I was able to do certain placements (like “Street” and “Police” by Maes) which made me better known as the heartbeat maker but I’ve always had that artistic side at the same time.

Exactly, you are talking about ‘polis’ by mace which was certified by 1 diamond, earlier i had produced ‘Sicario’ with YL and Ninho which was certified single gold. Did those first big successes as a beatmaker confirm your desire to develop this aspect of your career?

semi-approval. I had a period during which I produced so much that I could progress. I was also in a similar environment. I got very attached to Jack Flag, Heezy Lee, and Big Dada, who push you to give your all. But I always wanted to keep these two games.

For you who produced your own songs, would you be satisfied with the result more than if you contacted another producer?

Depends on. There are certain tracks I’d like to work on for a couple of months, just for production but you also have to know how to say stop. Sometimes we try to be perfect when something is already there. For example, for the “Partir Seul” segment, I had only made the piece and the bass. And then while writing the script, I saw that was enough when I was originally planning to add drums, arrangements, etc.

Yes exactly, and sometimes when we call on producers, it’s hard to get them to understand exactly what’s on our minds, how we’re imagining the thing.

Exactly, that’s why I started production. Well since then I’ve done several collaborations and am now better able to work with someone on a production, rather than taking a ready-made one with only some arrangement to do.

© desert flower

Your project name Nitoryu is a reference to One Piece. Simply put, it is a saber fighting style based on the simultaneous use of two blades. Why do you call it that?

It’s to continue the scheme I’m trying to launch with my short formats. chi It is “one”: the unit, the first. NitoryuIt is a two-bladed sword fight: we are in a duality and this is what we tried to copy in the project.
These short formats will return from time to time in my career, but the next project will definitely not be a continuation of the series. I will enjoy another form.

We discussed your influences earlier, we also get a feel for Afro-voices, especially on the “Evader” track. It’s a style of music that you used to listen to a lot when you were younger.

Yes, of course. When I was young I could listen to Koto Bass, Grace Deca, Donny Elwood, Saly Nyolo…and there’s also Rema right now that inspires me so much, it influences me so much in my main lines.

You talk about the overheads, what is your creative process on the right track?

Either I start with a production that has already been produced, or I work on piano/acoustic guitar, write all the script, and then do the production. The first stage is one that I don’t go through all the time. I often do one when I have a hard time finding the topic of a text and writing.

Nitoryu is a great dance project with tracks like “Evading” and “Mauvaise Mood”, perfect for the upcoming summer. Was it a choice to make an EP that fit in that sunny weather?

Yes, we’ve already seen the EP news, we’re arriving in summer soon. And then, as I told you before, there is this duality. The dance pieces contrast with other more calm and melancholy dance pieces such as “Premier soir” and “Déteste”. For Nitoryu, we also thought about the stage. We’d love to be able to meet the audience at a concert and these are the pieces that fit that.

The last track from this EP “Premier soir” is awesome. What were your influences when you created it?

You are totally on Henry Salvador. It took me six months to write this piece. The guitar/acoustic pieces were the first pieces I made. I took my guitar and went to play it while I was wandering around Le Mans. I’ve had so many comments telling me he looks like Luidji, I’m very flattered by the comparison.

I heard Luidji on this track, and I’m not the only one I see. Is he an artist talking to you?

I think we had a lot of similar influences, we had to build ourselves up the same way. But you see, I basically wanted to add a battery, the 808 and then eventually left it that way. It made me love to finish on a guitar/sound like that.

You said last year that you tried not to hide your thoughts so that you could offer the most honest part of yourself.. TYou even said there’s a part of your life that you haven’t been able to artistically copy yet.

I know there is something and there would be a perfect way for me to do it. But until I’m ready, I don’t force it. I don’t put pressure on myself because if I want it to be as I imagine it, I have to let it mature. Some feelings take time to process and you have to be ready to talk about them openly

What can we expect next?

Great songs. I’ll finish with that. I have a lot of small projects, solo or not. Every day we work to get creative and I am happy with my musical lifestyle; It only provides the good stuff.

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