If you’re looking to start your week off on a high note, we’ve got you covered. East coast phenom Stephen Suchan a.k.a. SOOHAN is back with his second full-length album and it is chock full of silly dope music. A continuation of the style he showcased on his debut, Made in Baltimore, things get even wilder on Volume Twohan. Tribal rhythms are chanted over rolling 808 bass-lines with a heavy dance-floor influence, making for a perfect blend of raw, (dare we say) ratchet energy and spiritual vibes.
Lots of this B-more beatsmith’s flair comes from his fantastic use of samples and there’s plenty of familiar and unexpected twists on this release because of them. Cinematic scores from District 9, WALL-E, The Social Network and more are chopped up alongside classic hip-hop vocals from iconic players like DMX and E-40. A lot of interesting choices are made stylistically throughout the album, but that’s honestly a major part of the appeal. Plus, you have to have some faith in someone with enough confidence to remix both The Beatles and Sigur Ros.
SOOHAN has released Volume Twohan independently and the album can be downloaded for free here. We had the good fortune to sit down for an interview with him last weekend at Emissions Festival, so give it a read while you listen to the release; full stream after the jump.
Your set at Emissions was a fantastic way to debut your sound on the West coast. What was your first impression of our festival culture and the music out here? How does it compare to gatherings on the East coast?
Oh man, I’m completely blown away by it all. I honestly didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was definitely excited when I got the call to play out here. California sort of has this elevated, almost mythical status back home; so it was really cool to get a chance to experience it for real. As far as stuff on the East coast goes, I’ve played at some Burner parties that have a similar set up. The vibe is completely different out here though, and the music is unreal; some of my favorite artists right now we’re all at Emissions.
How does playing at a festival compare to club performances for you?
I definitely prefer festivals and outdoor performances in general to playing at a club. Especially at Emissions; my tunes just felt right being played out there, where you can hear them and feel them. There’s something ritualistic about being outside and seeing a community of people unite and celebrate together through the power of music. That tribal nature is definitely a big part of festival culture.
What made you choose ‘Soohan’ as your alias?
It’s my last name. *chuckles* People have been calling me that for years, so it was a natural choice. I just spelled it a little differently.
What was the first piece of electronic music you ever heard? Did you love it or hate it?
Hmm, I can’t remember exactly what it was. Probably something by Ace of Bass though; it was the ‘Woomp There It Is’ era. I really dug it! It became the basis of my sound when I started to focus on making music.
What inspires you as a producer?
I’m a huge fan of Baltimore club music. It feels super OG, but with a fun, bouncy vibe. I try to incorporate that feeling and style into my own music whenever I can. I’d also say I’m influenced by people like MIA and Diplo; and, of course, I absolutely love Missy Elliot.
Your first album, Made in Baltimore, was released to rave reviews. What was the driving force behind its creation?
Well, I started messing around with production back in 2009. I was using Garage Band at the time and mash-ups came pretty easily to me. I made several of those and continued to improve on my own sound as well. But, then I decided to focus more energy into hosting my own events and that took up most of my time for the next three years. When I switched back to production, I basically picked up right where I left off. Lots of what you hear on Made in Baltimore are retouches of my early projects, as well as some basic ideas re-imagined and more smoothly mixed. I was feeling really motivated and wanted to release something that would make an impact as soon as I could.
How do you spend your time when you’re not making music?
Honestly, I’m almost always making music. It’s been my biggest focus over the last five or six months; I’m already working on another full-length album, as well as honing my skills in general. Ideally, I’d like to release 2-3 albums every year. Other than that, I have a job delivering Thai food. No big deal.
Who are some emerging artists you think we should definitely know about?
Space Jesus for sure! He’s an amazing producer and a massive inspiration. I’d also say keep an eye on David Starfire. He’s taught me a lot and has some big projects in the works.