SUIR is a Cologne-based duo consisting of the guitarist and vocalist Denis Wanic and Lucia Seiss on synths, guitar and bass. The couple formed SUIR in 2016 and already the following year the project bore its first fruits in the form of their debut album “Ater”, closely followed by the album “Soma” in 2018.
Both releases have paved a foundation, that spreads from the colder latitudes of Darkwave to Post-Punk and Shoegaze. Menacing synth sounds and yearning guitars build the fundament for SUIR’s atmospheric anthems of sadness & agony – a contrast between raw intensity and empowered vulnerability.
In 2021 they’ve released “Studio Sessions” – a selection of titles from “Ater” and “Soma” recorded live in their studio in Cologne.
The duo’s songs “Warm Waves” and “Den Of Thieves” were featured in the UNEARTHED #6 broadcast from 31.01.2022. KAE now proudly presents the UNEARTHED interview with Lucia and Denis.
photo by Jürgen Vorhof
THE UNEARTHED INTERVIEW WITH SUIR
KAE: Please describe your music by using five words.
SUIR: reverb, reverb, sad, reverb, reverb
KAE: Can you two remember the moment when the desire to make your own music was born? What was the initial catalyst for becoming a musician?
Denis: I was around 11 years old when I discovered Nirvana in my fathers music collection. I saved some money to buy an electric guitar and started to play Cobain songs. Quite naturally I started to write some own, rather shitty songs, but discovered that this is what I want to do in my life.
Lucy: I grew up in a quite musical family but didn´t have the impulse to actually become a musician. It was more or less a process of growing into it while being part of this band. Though I was always involved in creating our records the courage of actually expressing myself through music and feeling like a musician happened in the writing process of our forthcoming album.
KAE: How did you meet and decided to form a duo?
SUIR: We meet through friends in 2013, fell in love, became a couple and started this band. As we were living together and there were many instruments around we simply gave it a try. As we wrote first songs a friend of ours offered us to play live. People actually liked it and kept asking for a record and more shows. So we just kept going.
KAE: How do you come together during the process of writing? Do you develop your ideas right from the beginning together – at home, in the rehearsal room, during jamming sessions? Or do you work separately and then bringing it all together at some point?
SUIR: A starting point is usually a musical idea created by Denis. We then together develop songs out of it in our own recording studio. This very well worked for the last records but for the new album we wanted to try a more intimate approach. This led us to also write some lyrics separately expressing our very own personal issues. We are very happy with what came out of this.
KAE: Being a musician in the digital age is different from the „oldschool times“. Stepping out into the world online, engaging closely with a fanbase on social media, getting direct feedback of any kind – how do these factors impact the process of creating your music and establishing as a band? Do you think the „digital age“ makes it all easier or harder?
SUIR: We think it doesn´t have a real impact on our writing process. Although we as people are strongly influenced by the digital world in our daily lives, we try to leave it out while writing. So for us the creating process is mainly analog. We are using guitars with real amps, analog synthesizers and more in a mainly analog studio. Furthermore we don´t share music while writing or recording so there is no immediate feedback from the outside in the process of creating. Writing songs feels very personal that is why we mainly concentrate on ourselves. Also we are well aware that most of our songs are exactly the opposite of what the Spotify algorithm would prefer. But who doesn´t love six minute songs with three minutes of intro? 🙂
Still the digital world has a huge positive impact when releasing and distributing our finished music. It allows us to easily reach a worldwide audience. We are shipping vinyl to countries like Japan, USA and Australia – places we never played before. This is great! We also really enjoy interacting with our community on platforms like Instagram.
KAE: When it comes to the work of other artists, musicians, filmmakers etc. what is the most significant influence on your own work as musician/s?
SUIR: Though we surround ourselves with the work of art house filmmakers, graphic design or fine arts on a daily basis it is mainly other musicians that have the strongest impact on our own work.
KAE: Your 2018 album „Soma“ was written in Warsaw, and includes a song titled „Warsaw“. What is your special connection to that city and how did it influence the creative process of „Soma“?
SUIR: We moved to Warsaw to make a pause and disconnect from routine for half a year. Lucy had fallen in love with that city during a few trips she did before and Denis has polish roots but never really saw much of the country so we easily decided to go there for a while. We basically went there to write a record which is exactly what we did. We literally spent half a year in the tiniest apartment writing songs and really focused only on doing that – enjoying the city and working on new music. During this time we found great inspiration. We met amazing artists from the local scene, which later became friends and got heavily influenced by the city itself. As we lived there during the cold winter the greyish atmosphere really hit us but in a good way. At first glance Warsaw can appeal rather rough and heavy but the longer you stay the more it invites to linger. We also feel like this could be a fitting description to the sound of „Soma“. Warsaw felt a lot like home.
KAE: Which five (contemporary and active) bands or musicians would you like to recommend to your listeners?
SUIR: We´ll do six and use our answer to recommend the amazing bands of some of our friends (in no specific order):
SKY (Sorrow kills Youth)
KAE: One question about our current global situation: the most mentioned negative impact of the current pandemic situation on music creators is the loss of income from live performances. What less obvious effects have you had to observe or even experience yourself? Which solutions have you found? Are there also positive effects to report?
SUIR: Besides the obvious and all the pain and sorrow that came along with the pandemic we really miss the interaction with other artists: Getting inspired by other´s concerts, seeing exhibitions, having the possibility of a constant creative input from the outside is something we truly miss and hope to have back soon. But at the same time the pandemic forced us to concentrate on writing rather than playing live shows. We obviously spent lots of time at home which is where our recording studio is. So for the first time we really felt like having all the time we needed to write an album without the pressure of needing to release it quickly. Also we found the time to do new things. So for example Denis used this time to start his own solo project „Keine Angst im Dunkeln“ and Lucy started playing the guitar which now became her main instrument. It is something she wanted to do from the beginning of the Band but never found the time to learn it. With that we also needed time to figure out how to substitute a main instrument (Lucy played Synth before) without changing SUIR´s character. In the end we can tell it was a long process and required a lot of trial-and-error and mostly time. But now we are extremely satisfied with the results which you will be able to hear soon.
KAE: Please share with us, what is to be expected in the near future?
SUIR: We will release our third album in 2022. It is named „Not all of your pain is self chosen“ and for the reasons mentioned we never felt as connected to our own music than with this record. We can´t wait to release those new songs to the public!
It is also the first release that we are doing with „This Charming Man Records“ and our publisher „Hall und Echo“. With this record we also got supported by the funding of „Initiative Musik“ which gave us the opportunity to work with a lot of great people. You will see and hear more later this year.
Regarding concerts we are still unsure what will happen in the near future. We have a few confirmed shows but if the pandemic allows we should also be doing a larger tour by the end of the year.
SUIR’s SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Credits: header pic by Caroline Bonarde / cover artwork of “Soma” by Saskia April Kluge