Since Eduardo de la Calles “Iadus-Iadavas” EP from 2017, Fran Domingo (aka Hakk) and Moy Santana have built a remarkably solid catalog with their record label Sungate. Appearances by the likes of Orbe, Stojche, Skudge and other equally talented artists have cemented the Spanish imprint as one of the most reliable suppliers of diverse and high quality electronic music. The surrealist-futuristic artwork by illustrator Abel Fdez that goes along every release is a good indicator of the amount of care and eye for detail that seems to be going into the label work.
The newest addition to the list of artists is Markus Suckut, whose “Bliss” EP will be out on 11 November 2022. From an acid leaning A1, over dub, and the loopy and groovy techno that has become Suckuts trademark, towards positive vibes and breaky atmospheres on the B side, the release is a good reflection of the versatile yet consistent sound of Markus Suckut. Monument premieres the track “Alter”, which comes along as a highly groovy floater with the rolling and dry low end, and sassy highs that the German artist has continuously honed over his more than fifteen years of producing.
When listening through the EP (find the snippets here), I thought that it would be the perfect introduction to your work for someone who has not heard your productions yet, since it reflects the different styles and genres you have perfected over the years as an electronic music producer very accurately.
Yes, it has become important to me showing the range of styles I can make. The A1 is acid, breakbeat and house – all in one. Maybe there is a nostalgic thought behind it. When I would go record shopping in the past, the A1 was normally the “flagship techno banger”, B1 “kind of cool” and the B2 normally the sickest track. The nice thing about this is that you can rediscover the music when you pick up the record again after some time. After two years of having it in your collection you might think, “oh, this track is actually also really good”.
So you would say the B2 is the best track of the release?
I don’t know (laughs). It’s hard to say. The A1 was a favorite for a long time, but I didn’t know what to do with it. After getting to know the guys from Sungate at a gig in Berlin, I remembered that they had requested an EP from me. So I sent them a bunch of tracks, five of which ended up on the EP.
This is how the label describes the EP: “Modern, subtle and impeccably produced Techno tracks. Four reasons not to follow trends.” This is very much in line with your philosophy of delivering a consistent sound and following a red thread undisturbed by hypes, over a long period of time. At the same time it made me wonder whether not trends also sometimes have the ability to help push the genre forwards?
I don’t like trends and hypes. I always try to keep that red thread, stay true to myself and not follow something just because it is what’s currently going well. As the proverb says, “only dead fish go with the flow.” I just do my thing, that’s how it is. Sometimes it fits the moment and the time – and sometimes not at all.
How do you stay inspired in your artistic work?
It’s difficult. It doesn’t show on the outside when I’m struggling, as you normally only hear about the positive sides. But there can be phases where I don’t do anything in the studio for three months because it just doesn’t work. What gives me a lot of inspiration though is to spend time in nature, going on long walks in nice weather followed by a studio session. This has changed over the past years. Before, making music was more like a valve, letting go of everything for 3 to 4 hours after work. Now it’s still a valve in a way, but I do reflect more these days, and this again reflects in the music. When I’m touring I’m in a different flow and normally much more productive. On the road it’s easier to forget about things that might be going on my nerves in everyday life.
Do you have some concrete strategies to stay fresh?
A few times a month I like to go to my record shelf, pick a random record and think about what I liked in that particular record when buying it. Even though it’s hard, I try to stay away from social media as much as possible. So I don’t really know what’s the hottest shit right now, or who is currently going through the roof. Nowadays it’s seldom long lasting anyway, so I feel a lot doesn’t have to be taken so seriously.
Other than that I love digging on Discogs. You can find a lot of inspiration there, especially from old stuff. Or in record shops – for me personally preferably in the second hand section. I find that it’s more interesting and has more charm.
In terms of new releases: what’s your most recent discovery?
The new Mike Parker on Token is simply grandiose! I think the A1 is an unreleased, 20 year old track from the archive. I also had to buy the new album by Jeroen Search on KEY Vinyl. In general I buy quite a broad spectrum, not only music for the club, but also just for listening.
Astral Industries became one of my favorite labels during the pandemic. I discovered it through Freddy K’s radio show, and over the past two years I basically bought the whole catalog. There everything fits: music, artwork, the whole package.
Speaking of radio: for many people, including you, it was radio that first brought them in contact with electronic music. And – like Freddy K’s radio program “Krzrzrz” during the lockdown showed – it can have a strong power, also in terms of educating people. Do you have some recommendations here?
I’m not sure if they still do it as a proper radio program, but I know the podcast is still going at least: “Deep Space Helsinki”. That one has a very good background, and you can discover a lot of great stuff. Another one is “Run it Red” by Ben Sims, where he plays what he got sent that month – a nice way to stay up to date.
What does the “culture” in club culture mean to you?
The feeling of freedom, that you can be and do whatever you want for a moment. Or, if you want to go a bit extreme, switching off for a whole weekend. Being with like-minded people. It has happened often when getting to know people at a party that I felt like I had known them for many years already since you’re already on the same wavelength. That’s beautiful.
You have been a producer for many years. How do you yourself see your artistic development?
I have become more open towards other genres. You learn something new every day, so in that sense it’s an on-going process. Sometimes, when someone tells me that they really like one of my older records, I listen back to it and wonder if I would still release it today. The older productions do have their charm, but I am not sure if I would still send them to a label today. About some of my records I also think “why was this one celebrated so much back then“?
Some people say I have this signature sound. I don’t even know how I make it, it just sounds like me. That’s what it’s about as an artist: having your own handwriting. The best example is Mike Parker. You don’t even have to listen five seconds and you instantly know it’s a Mike Parker track. Or a STL track. You hear it instantly. Or Levon Vincent. He has just done his thing since he started making music, which is a mind-set I can relate to very much concerning the longevity of the music.
You say that your sound just happens. Do you know how you make your trademark grooves, or do they also just appear?
It mostly happens by mistake. I record almost everything I make in the studio, maybe put on an effect that doesn’t necessarily fit timing wise, loop it and then you already have a swing. So that groove is actually made quite fast. Everything that is just straight ahead is boring to me, it has to have some life. Also I keep it dirty sound wise. I have my analogue 24-channel mixer, which has its own background noise. I keep this noise or even accentuate it. That way you can create life in the track. But basically it just happens – sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes you build four drafts in one night, and sometimes nothing happens.
What can we expect from you looking ahead?
I’m currently preparing for a live set at the Globus floor of Tresor on 12 November. In that hour, I want to present totally new material. Other than that, I have a lot of ideas and projects in my head going towards other genres, but lack the time to finalize them. Maybe it will see the day of light next year. What is sure is that there are two EPs planned on ODD / EVEN for 2023.
Markus Suckut – “Bliss” EP is available via Sungate from 11 November 2022.
Photos: Sebastian Morgner, Markus Suckut, Sungate