When it comes to modern times, everything has a way of making its way back. Target is overflowing with ‘’90s-inspired fashion, a boy band who said goodbye in the 2000s may just be on the brink of a reunion, but SUSU is pulling from further back than all of the above. They pulled from the ‘60s for their latest single, “Die Inside.” We, no pun intended, inside the story behind that throwback sound, what’s to come on ‘Call Susie,’ which drops later this year, and more with SUSU.
Kendra: It’s been a handful of years since ‘Panther City’ dropped. With that, what growth have you noticed in the band as a whole when you listen to that EP, and your 2023 LP, ‘Call Susie?’
Kia Warren: Panther City felt more like a raw experience as it was recorded live with a band of hired guns where ‘Call Susie’ was the culmination of songs we as a band had cultivated on the road.
Liza Colby: The big difference that you’ll notice in growth is the sound. The EP leaned more toward classic rock while this full-length record is more pop oriented.
Kendra: Is there anything other bands might consider out of the ordinary that you all do together to stay on the same page musically?
SUSU: We don’t know what other bands are doing but we certainly focus heavily on our personal wellness and prioritize each other’s needs and wants. We utilize a modality called 30/10/0 to really make sure we stay on the same page and communicate as often as necessary.
Kendra: Perhaps it’s being a “one and only” type of band. I love that because that’s how I signed everything throughout high school since no one had my name then. However, in today’s musical realm where you don’t just have to be on top of music, but also social media and whatnot – do you think it’s getting harder for new artists to stand out?
SUSU: Absolutely. It’s extremely difficult to cut through the noise – period. That being said, the thing that we stay true to is focusing our energy where we are most excited to express it. Everyone has a finite amount of energy which is a precious resource for us, so the joy that we find in SUSU and working together is channeling that energy into spaces and places that we find generative. Basically focusing on creativity as opposed to worrying about producing “Content for social media”
Kendra: That doesn’t seem to be a problem for SUSU because this year alone you’ve released a cascade of singles that really do all feel like individuals who met at a party and wound up having a blast together despite their differences. “Rubber Hits the Road” gave rock and roll, “Mine” had that ‘70s soul,” and your latest, “Die Inside,” a retro vibe. When you write, do you go in with a sort of style in mind, or does that come as the song progresses?
SUSU: Firstly, a great way of describing our singles being individuals at a killer party together – we love that! When writing, each song is on a case-by-case basis. A lot of the songs are birthed with a hint of the style within it. Once we start refining them, we collaborate on what’s best for the song this sometimes retains said style or offers us ideas on how it can sonically evolve.
Kendra: Back to “Die Inside” because this is definitely one of my favorites of the year. It reminded me of those infomercials that showcase the 50s/60s CD collections. Those, on top of watching ‘Grease’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ made me love that style of music, but where did your love and appreciation for that classic ‘50s girl group sound come from?
SUSU: We grew up being exposed to all of the musical genres and the harmony that you hear in a Shirelles or Ronettes song is something that we are naturally attracted to. You can’t be a musician and not be completely bowled over by Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” and that is something that really resonated with us from our pre-SUSU supergroup Revel Sound.
Kendra: You played some shows in July and have a few more dates in the States between now and November but in December the band’s heading to Guatemala. Will this be your first time playing there?
SUSU: This is our second time playing in Guatemala. We have had an ongoing partnership with Ilegal Mezcal and got to play there in 2021 for the 1st time. This round we’ll be playing at Ilegal’s flagship bar Cafe NoSe which we have been wanting to do forever! Ending our 2023 playing Antigua is a great way to tie this year up in a nice bow.
Kendra: Time for a side note – August is a huge month for me, with so many loved ones’ birthdays being celebrated, so I’d love to know what song you’d dedicate to your loved ones, be it friends, family, or both…
Kia: I’ve always always loved “Dedicated to the One I Love” by The Mamas & The Papas. On the nose? Maybe. heart melting and appropriate? Absolutely.
Liza: “(You Don’t Know)How Glad I Am” by Nancy Wilson
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Call Susie’ dropping this fall and some dates already on the books, what else can the people out there expect from you as 2023 rolls along?
SUSU: The rest of 2023? Mo singles, mo singles, mo singles! We have a few collaborations dropping with Oxygn (a production duo from Poland) and Brass Against.
We also have bi-coastal Record release shows for ‘Call Susie’ in LA (November 9th at the Peppermint Club) and NYC (November 15th at the Bowery Ballroom) And ALL the found objects costuming and bits that we can squeeze in from here till the new year!