Suniel Fox and Henry Strange recently joined forces to release their debut collaborative track appropriately titled “Revolution.” We recently had a chance to catch up with one half of the duo project, Los Angeles based producer Suniel Fox.
Read this interview to discover more about the amazing talented musician and producer as he discusses his new project with Henry Strange, current inspirations, and the year 2020.
How has your past influenced the music you make in the present?
Well I grew up playing guitar in rock bands and studying classical music…so harmony and counterpoint is a big vein of blood that flows through me. In fact, I have a hard time NOT hearing music in my head. When I turned to electronic music, I found both incredible freedom and struggle because now I was able to write anything and everything that I heard but working alone can also be very difficult. But I’ve found that my study of classical music informs what types of chord progressions and chord voicings I gravitate toward, and my time playing in bands influences how much space and dynamics I’m inclined to give a piece of music.
You first approached Henry for his help on "Revolution." What first drew you in about Henry and what made you think he'd be the perfect fit to work with you on this track?
Henry is the master of the beat, and overall the Master of Fun. Whenever I write music that is upbeat and fun, he’s usually my go-to collaborator. I think of myself more of a composer rather than a music producer, so we make a great team.
Describe your creative collaborative process. What does it look like?
I almost always start a track in my own studio and once I feel I’ve got the bones of a song Ill bring it over to Henry and he however massive I can get the song on my own he will always make it 20% more massive at least. Once we feel we’ve got the song arrangement and most of the sound design done, we’ll play on Henry's modular synth rig and see if we can come up with any “pleasant surprises.” Once that's done it's time for mix down. Usually, Ill take a pass through and then Henry will take a pass. Its fairly quick once the song hook is done.
How does your collaborative production work differ from each of your solo projects?
Henry definitely leans more hip-hop, breakbeats, more minimal in terms of sound design, and more inclined toward Pop melodies. He’s worked for Kanye, Lady Gaga, Drake and many more name artists, so he’s seen first hand what types of hooks people are drawn toward. My background in bands also has given me an inclination toward hooks in melodies, but in my own work (which is very much still developing). I tend to lean towards a very epic type of film score-esque mood. In fact often times I have to tone this back to make it work in a song format! So I always welcome collaborators, because while I recognize I am a master of my own domain there's always something wonderful and unexpected when I keep my mind open to another approach.
What currently inspires you?
Well I started heavy into piano lessons again two years ago and I’ve been studying the composer Frederic Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach at great lengths. This has been very challenging for me, but the benefits are just so incredible and the music I've been writing recently just feels like its coming from such a new and wonderful place. Other more relevant artists that I’m inspired by would be Moderat (Apparat and Modeselektor), a UK band called Zola Blood, Odesza and various artists in the “Night Bass” genre like Malaa.
Since your debut song together is called "Revolution," has the name brought more significance with the recent tribulations in the world?
Well that's funny you should ask actually, because we had written this song before COVID-19 happened, and then the killing of George Floyd was followed by the massive Black Lives Matter protests. I just felt like “Who TF are we to call a song Revolution?” I've been a big supporter of Black Lives ever since I was shot by a Black man. That might sound exactly opposite of what you’d think, but that event really opened my eyes to the plight of our black brothers and sisters… And I realized this man who shot me was a product of an oppressive society designed to push him and keep him down. So I realized compassion and forgiveness was desperately needed. But back to your initial question… Yeah, I felt we were kind of co-opting a very important word, and we did consider changing the name. But I also believe that Love is the most important way to combat indifference and hate in the world and that was always our intention with this song, to bring about good vibes and to make people feel more connected.
How does it feel knowing that your son is following in your musical footsteps?It's super fun seeing the little man explore and have fun with music! But he’s only 11, so I don’t hold any expectations that he’ll be a professional musician. I just let him know that I'm always here to support him in anything he wants to do, and of course if he sticks with music he’s gonna get all my knowledge and insight. But I’ll say this, he’s a far better guitar player at age 11 then I was, FAR better.
What does 2020 mean to you?
In a word, redesign. I think there are many, many ways in which our world has not been working and 2020 is a complete rethinking and restructuring for all global systems of government, civil society, environmental policies and personal priorities. We’ve been running on that hamster wheel for so long that we forgot why we were running at all. So even though on the surface this seems like a catastrophic year (and truly it has been), I believe over time the “Gifts” of 2020 will reveal themselves.
What do you like to do when you're not working on music?
Riding my motorcycle, playing video games with my son, hiking, and drinking fine wine 🙂
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