Surahn goes solo on DFA Records
The Standard: Surahn Sidhu was born from classical Indian musical lineage in 1981…
Surahn Sidhu: My dad is Punjabi and my mum is an Australian blend of Dutch, Scottish and English.
You were raised in Adelaide, Australia and studied various disciplines including voice.
Adelaide is an awesome little Boutique town. Really, it’s a wine region, it’s surrounded by hills and has clean little beachside towns. It had a super solid techno and house scene in the 90’s and now has a pretty good disco movement too. Even though it’s small it still manages to be fertile enough for great things to grow.
You began his professional career as a boy soprano in theatre.
I sang a lot as a kid. It felt natural to move into theatre.
Surahn performing at Coachella with Empire Of The Sun
You became a multi instrumentalist for Australian band Empire Of The Sun.
Spending the last three years on the road has been amazing. It’s hard because you miss your family and friends but everyone on the road becomes your family. We were really lucky to play every major festival on the planet. Seeing the world like was amazing and incredibly unique. Working with Luke Steele is awesome, he’s a very clever man.
You like to ride a vintage motorcycle Kawasaki KZ200 and other Deus Ex Machina motorcycles.
I’m lucky enough to do some work with Deus Ex Machina and one of the perks is riding their incredible bikes when ever I’m in Sydney, Bali or in Los Angeles. They make awesome threads too.
You wrote and produced the track Say The Words on Usher’s # 1 album Looking 4 Myself.
Working with Usher was one of those pivotal experiences of my career. We met at Coachella when Empire played and got a long really well. Luke Steele and I sent him a track the following day and a couple months later we spent a week with him in Atlanta writing for the new record. Say The Words was such a little lo-fi gem and having Usher put his touch on that just made the whole thing shine. He is a lovely man and has some great energy around him, really great people. We all have remained close friends since.
In studio with Usher
You released music under the name Sidwho?
I did a bunch of disco before things with Empire took off and had loads of fun with it. Some of of it featured Luke Million from my old high school band The Swiss. It was very loose Arthur Russell inspired disco. I still play the records out sometimes but I like the idea of my son Salvador pulling out an old disco 12 in the years come and being like “Dad, is this you?”
Your first release on DFA Records features you on on everything: drums, vox, bass, synth, guitars. It was wrote, produced and recorded in New York City at the DFA Studio.
All my music is created from the ground up. I love playing everything in. I love playing with people too but there is a certain satisfaction in sculpting the whole piece yourself. I love the art of recording too so I see that as another instrument in the process. I locked myself away for this record. The whole EP is recorded in different places around the world but the single is recorded here in New York City. I slept in the studio down at the DFA studios in West Village. It was the best way to get things done. The label guys would come down stairs at the end of the day and I’d be in my underwear leaning over the console with my eyes closed. This city feels like home to me now.
You are in love with a blonde girl.
My amazing girlfriend Jessica Baldwin did the cover art for my EP.
You grow vegetables for a high end Italian restaurant in Adelaide Hills, Australia.
I studied permaculture this year out in Adelaide for a few months. It opened my mind to whole world of harmony I had no idea about. My reaction to that was to set up a small farm in the Adelaide Hills growing italian varietals for a good friends restaurant. Gardening, even when your young, is such a great meditative exercise.
You are a champion Table Tennis player.
Table Tennis is in my blood. I played a lot as a kid. I never went pro or anything. For a while we requested a table on our rider for Empire. I think if I didn’t play music, I’d definitely take a more serious crack at Table Tennis. I actually started a release with Woolfy (Permanent Vacation) call The Merryl Streeps, based around us playing table tennis and writing disco.
Friday November 9 at Le Bain, Discography and DFA Records presents Surahn. Featuring DJ sets by Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem), Surahn and Colin Rogister (Discography). The Standard, High Line. Doors 10pm.