We caught up with Melbourne based singer Sui Zhen to talk about Two Seas, Little Frog, and touring!
How has 2012 been going for you so far?
It's been non-stop. All my hard work from the past few years has been paying off. The Two Seas release kicked off in late 2011 with the 'Little Frog' single and since then I've done two mini tours in the build up to the Two Seas tour which I'm currently in the middle of - (writing this on the road from Melbourne to Sydney). I'm enjoying playing with my old band even when it gets tricky, as I'm based in Melbourne and they are very active in Sydney based bands.
Fox + Sui vinyls were delivered this week so as soon as the Two Seas tour wraps up it's all on for our Taboo EP release on Two Bright Lakes. For the past year I've been working on a new business and it launched this month: http://www.inframe.tv/. I've had a string of overseas friends visit me in my new home in Melbourne and I've also been doing a bit of visiting myself, spending time with grandparents who are based in Malaysia (my mum's side) and then Queensland (on my paternal side) as they're not doing so well. It's been a hectic, but very full life these past months. The constant travel keeps my perspective fresh.
You've just kicked off your east coast tour of Australia. How does it feel to be performing in some of the cool venues that the east coast has to offer?
It feels great to be back in the scene after a few years of wandering, working and waiting for things to be readied for release. I'd like to make it a regular habit
After the release of your music video for 'Little Frog', your debut album Two Seas has been pretty highly anticipated. How do you feel the album has been perceived so far?
It seems like people are listening carefully and enjoying the details within the songs and connecting with the lyrics - which is the most I could hope for. Sometimes my humour is subtle but if you peek closely, you'll find it.
What inspired your brother and yourself in the making of 'Little Frog'?
I tried to be a full-time musician in 2008 and I lasted six months. The stop-motion that became the 'Little Frog' video is the result of my craft experimentations during that time. I've always wanted to make a film and stop-motion was a good place to start. The story and setting came easy with pencil sketches. I convinced my brother to help me with some of the finer details - he added the wind blown hair effect. Having an extra pair of hands made shooting a breeze.
Who did you work with on Two Seas and where did you record?
It's an unplanned patchwork of places. I worked with Tony Dupe (Holly Throsby, Jack Ladder) who was based in Berlin for most of the time we worked on the album. I recorded most of my parts from an old shop in Redfern, NSW. I lived with producer Jamie Lloyd then, and he helped me to get started, he taught me the basics, triggered the space echo here and there. Later, when Tony returned to Australia, we recorded new vocal takes from an old sandstone church in Wildes Meadow. Some clarinet and cuattro were added from a beach house in Gerroa, and cello from an apartment in outer Berlin. I named the album Two Seas after living for sometime in Bahrain with my stepmother... Bahrain literally translating to 'the meeting of two seas'.
Any hints as to what the next single will be off of Two Seas?
I released 'Cupboards and Sand' with a small tour in April and the video came out just last month https://vimeo.com/41002559
The next single I release probably won't be off Two Seas, but my next LP... yet to be named. There are a few demos up on my soundcloud to give you some clues.
After your current east coast tour, do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
I've been writing lots of new material lately for both musical projects. As soon as I finish, I get to work on my release with Andras Fox for Fox + Sui. We're putting out our Taboo EP with a vinyl 7inch - which will be my first vinyl pressing.
I'm supporting Oliver Tank on June 20 at the Northcote Social Club and after that I'll aim to do more national supports, some festivals and maybe break some ice in USA? Fingers crossed.
Catch Sui Zhen this winter near you!
WOLLONGONG | Wed 13 June @ Yours and Owls
w/ Fanny Lumsden & Obscura Hail
CANBERRA | Thurs 14 June @ The Front Café & Gallery
w/ Daniel Champagne