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ultra sunn killyouridolsInterview with

Sam Hugé & Gaelle Souflet from Ultra Sunn

Sam Hugé & Gaelle Souflet started their project back in 2019 and since then they managed to win audiences throughout Europe with their dancy, vibrant sounds and atmospheric shows. With their most recent single ‘Set Yourself on Fire’ being the great quality harbinger of their third EP ‘Kill Your Idols’ that will be out on March the 3rd they prove their light is still as enchanting as ever. About the live shows, inspirations, artistic progress, and the upcoming material - with ULTRA SUNN.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello, first of all, thank you for finding time for the interview. I know you are in the course of the tour. How has it been so far?
Ultra Sunn: Hey! Thank you for having us. Great, it’s a pleasure for us to get back on the road and travel again. We share very intense moments with the public we feel so grateful.

RoD: Do you like playing live? You will be playing small club events as well as the big ones, e.g., Grauzone in Hague. Which is your preferred way of performing?
Ultra Sunn: Of course, we do! We try to enjoy the moment. When we record something, when we work in the studio, we try to tell ourselves that this is a great time that we must cherish and live to the fullest. It’s the same when we play live. We take all these experiences and encounters. It’s impossible to choose, we are happy to be able to alternate the two. Playing in a crowded club is a very powerful feeling, people are in a trance and so are we. When we play in bigger events it’s great too, it’s an exciting atmosphere. The most important thing for us is to establish and feel a connection with the audience, we are doing the show all together.

RoD: Your most recent single ‘Set Yourself on Fire’ was out in January 2023. It’s a fantastic, catchy song. What is it about?
Ultra Sunn: Thank you very much, we’re glad you like it. This is one of the first tracks we composed when we wanted to do this 3rd EP. It talks about letting go, and the relationship between mind and body. To set yourself on fire is like surrendering to your nature, your true identity or what you are made for.

ultrasunn promo01 byKrisParenti

RoD: Could you disclose any details regarding your upcoming EP ‘Kill Your Idols’?
Ultra Sunn: We really liked composing this record, we’re happy with the sound and the energy of this EP. We kept our EBM, New Beat roots with our modernity. We listened a lot to music from the end of the 70s, a lot of records from IGGY POP or DAVID BOWIE, we also listened a lot of stuff from the Californian garage scene from the last 10 years. We were looking for freshness and rebellion. We really wanted to compose songs that are positive and give a powerful feeling of self-confidence to the listener. We wrote the track ‘Kill Your Idols’, which is also the title of the record, in our changing world. People speak more freely, which is a very good thing. The hard part was seeing role models, heroes of our teenage years or images we grew up with, turned out to be responsible for abuse and / or unacceptable behaviour. Obviously, we believe the victims and we can only imagine a small part of their suffering. We had a feeling of betrayal. As if you were going to the other side of the mirror, you lose your bearings a little. So, our answer was that we had to let go of all this weight of the past and rethink our future in a healthier way and by including anyone who wants to join us, regardless of the generation. In the end, it’s all about the mindset.

RoD: You started out in 2019. How would you say your music has evolved since then? Do you feel your interest in the topics and your area of artistic interest shift in any way? Have you changed as artists or people?
Ultra Sunn: We started at the end of 2019, a little before the pandemic, then everything was closed. We worked a lot during the lockdown, I guess it was a way to keep our minds clear during this strange time. We believe that from the very beginning, our mixing technique has changed, the machines we use also. In fact, we use less and less computer in our process. The computer intervenes at the very end. We probably needed to be more in contact with sound, in a more physical way. We got a lot more into the percussion on the new record. There are a lot of tambourines, claves, shakers, triangle. We had fun recording it all. The sound is probably a bit more organic and paradoxically the machines have never been so important.

RoD: The music of ULTRA SUNN is dynamic and dancy. What do you think is the purpose of music?
Ultra Sunn: Well, that’s the purpose of our music. We make music to dance and sing all together. And if we can as a bonus, give a positive vibration, that’s great. We believe in humans and their abilities. We try to share a little light. It’s great when people tell us that our music makes them stronger, confident and makes them see life on the bright side. It’s the best reward. Music serves above all to bring people together, to reunite. Gigs are moments of sharing and music in general exists to create connexions.

RoD: In the past, you took part in undertakings whose aim was e.g. to raise consciousness about gender equality or discrimination. Do you feel the artists should actively raise awareness of social problems, have an active voice in social debate, or just stick to music-making, and entertainment?
Ultra Sunn: It’s an interesting question. We believe everyone should do as they please. It’s totally ok if an artist who decides to focus only on music. For our part, it’s just a question of personal convictions, we would be just as committed if we had another job.

ultrasunn promo02 byKrisParenti

RoD: How would you describe the people who listen to ULTRA SUNN? Do you feel you have a stable audience or is it rather dynamic, the diversified environment that changes depending on the country you play in?
Ultra Sunn: Our audience is very varied in age, gender etc. The public changes quite well according to the country in which we play. We notice that our public is always very cool and respectful and we are so proud of that. We have always wanted to create safe places in which you can really be yourself. We think that the crowd has completely understood and adheres to this philosophy.

RoD: On the 3rd of February, you’ll be sharing the stage with the legend FRONT 242. Do you like their music? Are there any artists you would name as your inspiration? What actually gives you ideas to write new music?
Ultra Sunn: We opened for the 2nd time for FRONT 242, it was really great. Of course, we love their music! In Belgium, it’s like the music we grew up with. We had a great time with them, they are cool, smart and kind people. For our influences obviously FRONT 242, A SPLIT SECOND, NITZER EBB or DAF to name the classics. Also, DAVID BOWIE or IGGY POP as we said. The current scene is really inspiring and refreshing too. We had the chance to work with people like KRIS BAHA, ZANIAS, KONTRAVOID, CURSES or SARIN to name a few. There really are people of great talent today too. We like to draw inspiration from other media, such as movies, painting or fashion. We consume a lot of things outside music and often it is what stimulates our creativity the most. Sometimes emptiness is very beneficial too. Spending a day in nature like in the woods or by the sea can really feel good before getting back to work.

RoD: If you were to describe the current Belgian music scene would there be a particular, dominating trend?
Ultra Sunn: It’s hard to say. Belgium is kind of a segmented country. The radios are not the same in the north or in the south of the country and the trends can be quite different depending on the language you speak. We live in Brussels and we have the chance to have family in all regions of the country so we regularly go to both sides, noting that there are more things that bring us together than the opposite. That being said, we don’t listen too much of what is currently being done in Belgium. The mainstream register sounds very poppy and quite soft. However, we keep a good culture in electronic music. We have excellent DJs, a good techno scene and the clubs are inviting very cool European DJs at the moment.

RoD: You once said ULTRA SUNN name refers to the beauty of light - mostly sunlight - and everything positive and optimistic that the term may bring associations with. Would you say it’s still your approach to life and aesthetics? On the bright side?
Ultra Sunn: This is totally and more than ever the case. This is what defines the band and our aesthetic research.

RoD: Apart from the EP and the upcoming concerts in February, March, and April - what can we expect from you?
Ultra Sunn: Our full EP ‘Kill Your Idols’ comes out on March 3 and we will be touring all over in 2023. Meanwhile, we’ll release new videos. As we speak, we have gigs planned until November and other dates will soon be added to the tour date.

RoD: Thank you for much for your time!
Ultra Sunn: Thanks a lot for the chat, see you soon!

Pictures by Kris Parenti

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