A stroll through tempos and genres.
Yu Su's selection for Truants, which we picked as one of our top mixes of 2018, showed the Vancouver-based, Chinese-born artist's knack for crafting intimate home-listening mixes. That mix, released in January of last year, began a breakthrough year for Yu Su, with her first steady run of gigs throughout Europe, Asia and the US. In 2017 she had a low-key hit with Infi Love, released on the Washington DC label Peoples Potential Unlimited. Whether she's making music, DJing in the club or crafting online mixes, everything Yu Su does feels mellow and unhurried. It's probably down to her home city's dance music scene, which is at least partly defined by its laid-back vibe, and her own attachment to Daoism and nature.
Yu Su said the mood of her RA podcast, which includes tracks from Golden Teacher, Topo, Yak and Bell Towers, was "quite free," noting its regular tempo changes mean "you can either jog, or drive up a mountain, or chop onions really slowly" while listening.
What have you been up to recently?
I have been hibernating at home, cooking and working on a few very different projects. I put together a composition to perform on a brand new octophonic (8-channel) system at Western Front in Vancouver (an artist-run-centre focusing on media arts and new music). It was a challenging but great learning experience (thanks to my partner Scott Gailey for his tech support). I am so grateful for the support from the institution and everyone who came to the concert.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I first came up with a brief tracklist on the airplane flying back to Vancouver from China after obsessively listening to that Topo track (haha!), so I borrowed a friend's CDJs when I got home and did the recording properly with my DJM 600 that's missing some knobs; then I did some post editing on my Klipsch.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
There isn't really any idea other than that I definitely didn't have the idea of "a club night" in mind. In fact, I find it impossible to try to record a mix imagining it being for a particular hour at a club or something. For me, a set at a venue can only happen at that date, that time, that location and for that moment. In general, I think about recording a mix or DJing in general in the same way I think about making music, almost as if every track I'd play next is one musical element and that the whole mix/set is just one giant track. Like all my other mixes, the genres of music are all over the place, the reason being that I can only pick tracks that either have elements I absolutely love or tracks that I wish I knew how to make; for example there might be certain polyrhythm percussion combinations I like and they can be in a hip-house track from the '80s, or in a techno track that's just released a couple of months ago.
This tweet of yours really resonated with people last year. Are you good at following your own advice? What are your favourite ways to embrace nature?
Some people think I have a moralistic tone when I try to give out advice like this. The truth is, things I believe in are deeply rooted in Daoism, and the main thing about it is that there is no absolute right or wrong in any situation, just like the yin yang sign, things all go in circles and are constantly flowing into something else. I didn't have the access to nature before I moved to Vancouver, and really, to be able to be surrounded by any sort of trees, water, or stones are good ways to embrace nature. That to me, is the most efficient way of experiencing solitude and the smallness of your own being, which helps understanding this truth that nothing matters.
You're a keen cook. What's your favourite dish to make?
I have a cooking obsession. To name a few: Big plate chicken, Biang Biang noodles, dumplings with chives and eggs, and carbonara.
What are you up to next?
I have another EP coming out on a label I appreciate a lot, and will be coming over to the EU and UK for some shows that I'm looking forward to. Also, hopefully figure out a food/music thing to do in London in the near future.