MusicMakers011: Say Sue Me

MusicMakers is an interview series from Adafruit that explores the intersection of the DIY music and maker communities. We’ll be talking to some of our favorite musicians about art, tech, DIY, gear tips and more. Along the way we hope you’ll find some great new music as well as some ideas and inspiration for your own projects.

Photo courtesy of Janice Li

South Korea’s Say Sue Me have been charming the music world, including everyone from Stereogum to Elton John, with their delicious surf-toned indie rock.. After a standout set at this year’s SXSW, the quartet issued their stunning new album, Where We Were Together, through London’s Damnably and Seoul’s Electric Muse labels. Between the addictively breezy “Old Town” single, the raucous “B Lover” and the aching “Coming to the End,” the new album is a total triumph with a so much to offer.

One of the things I love about the music industry today is that for all the noise and difficulties that artists and labels have to overcome, there is still the potential for music to reach people a world away. Say Sue Me have found their second home on a UK indie label with a great ear and a lot of heart and together they’re finding their place. The band have been able to play shows in the US and Europe; thanks to changes in technology and music distribution, people are listening and people are connecting with what they’re hearing. Say Sue Me’s joyful music is full of fight and it dares to hope.  It’s clear from the first listen that the band have love to share and a dream to live. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

As huge fans of the new album, we’re so happy to get better acquainted and hear from the band on their big plans, changing technology, quitting jobs and more in this week’s MusicMakers interview.

Where are you based?
We’re based in Busan which is the 2nd largest city in South Korea. Busan is famous for being located by the sea and our practice room is right by the beach. We think this is our biggest strength.  

What was your introduction to music?
I really don’t know. Doesn’t everyone feel depressed and get into emotional music during puberty? That’s when I started listening to Radiohead. Or maybe my ancestors were people who loved music, so music was already in my genes!

What have you been working on?
The last full-time worker in our band, bassist Jaeyoung recently quit his job, so we’re all focused on our upcoming shows. We recently played at SXSW 2018 and the release show of our 2nd album Where We Were Together in Seoul. Now we’re on a five week tour through the UK and Europe, so we’ve been building up our strength by eating well. 

How have you seen technology change the creation and consumption of music in your lifetime?
Of course I started with cassette tapes and CDs as a teenager. I always carried a CD player and 10 CDs in my bag when I went to school, even when others were switching to mp3 players. Now, of course, I listen to music on my phone.  

Describe your recording or production setup:
We used a Macbook and Logic to record demos for this latest album and then recorded all the songs at Mushroom Recording Studio in Seoul. Before this, we used GarageBand and our cell phones to make demos for our first album We’ve Sobered Up and the Big Summer Night EP and recorded right in our practice room for a more natural and lo-fi sound.

Any tips for gear or customising your workspace?
If you change the order of your guitar pedals to something atypical, you can create a slightly different sound.

What’s one song everybody should hear?
Our new single ‘Old Town’ off our forthcoming album! It sounds like heaven. Elton John recommended it too. Don’t you want to take a listen?

Who do you think we should ask these questions next?

After Elton John recently introduced us on his radio program, we love him so much. You will have to ask that lovely guy.

The Where We Were Together LP is out now on Damnably / Electric Muse.

Say Sue Me are currently touring Europe and you can see where they’ll be heading next on the Damnably site and Songkick.

You can follow Say Sue Me on Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

Photo courtesy of Janice Li

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