Galician born, now London based Xexus Flores aka Suso Flores is an experienced DJ and producer and has played all over UK’s capital city since his early days back in 2005. He has also amassed a good following in Madrid, playing at world-renowned club Fabrik and the smaller, Moroder Sound Club.
Electronic Groove: Hey Suso, thanks for the time to chat with us. What originally got you into circuit bending?
Suso Flores: Thanks to you. I liked the idea that I could make really cheap toys that sounded fat, reinforcing the DIY/recycling attitude.
EG: What was the first thing you circuit bent?
Suso: Actually, I think it was this toy >>> https://readymag.com/Vandaproject/123015
EG: How important is using a range of different equipment in the studio and on stage?
Suso Flores: At home or on stage, it is like having more colors for painting or more possibilities to choose within other possibilities. But for the sort of thing I do on stage, you have to be careful to do not have too much equipment, otherwise, it is easy to get confused.
EG: Do you feel more creative when using a piece of equipment you know well or are something you’re still learning to use?
Suso Flores: Both cases spawn different types of creativity.
EG: How do you go about choosing an item to circuit bend?
Suso Flores: By listening to what sounds the object makes and what sounds I need. For example, there are many 2nd hand electronic toys with drums that can easily be converted into a sort of drum machine with triggers and control voltage. Depends on the sounds you are looking for; generically when looking for an electronic sound device/electronic toy, it is nice if the push buttons trigger each time they are pressed – with some toys you need to wait until the sample finishes but it always depends…because if you like that sound on that toy, then you should bend it of course.
Also, many times older toys are better than new ones. For example, the new range Vtech electronic toys do not have pitch resistors but you might find another could trick to do with like making loops and some other bends.
EG: What’s your favorite item in your studio and why?
Suso Flores: I don’t have any favorite, I love all of them the same…
EG: What role do visual/interactive elements play in your live performances?
Suso: At the moment none, but been planning to soon collaborate with some friends for the event/label I organize; ‘Massage Brain Cult‘. I’ve also thought to add some Video Bending module to the set up I use; for showing the shapes of my music/sound waves in projections or other more fun ideas…but if this happens, it will be late 2018. Got many sound-related things on the go and don’t wanna stress out just in order to make a statement.
EG: When preparing for a live performance, how do you choose which of your repurposed toys you’re going to use?
Suso: As I said its better to not have too many, its good to have a sort of control within the uncontrolled world of making dance floor experimental music.
On my live set up I try to have no more than 2 different toys that make particular sounds that I think fit with the live set I want to do.
I am quite careful to not choose many sounds that are too harsh – I like them with a shape of sound that does not stray too far away from my electribes or modular synth, those are the other 3 items I use for my live set.
These days, my live set up is 2 electronic toys that receive triggers and CVS on a pitchable kick and hat. The other toy I mainly use for some light photocell effects on drum loops. I’m planning to soon include a DIY sequencer with 3 oscillators that I’m building from scratch (by using schematics from the internet and linking them with some little modifications, mainly for triggers and CVS on the controls).
EG: You have recently performed at family events like Big Fish Little Fish, what are the benefits of children engaging and experimenting with music at an early age?
Suso: If they like it, it makes them really happy. It’s really interesting to see the different reactions. Also, some children are shy but like to play the electronically bended toy on their own. It awakens their senses – it helps them exist in the moment in a way it helps them to get rid of the mind programming that humans are nowadays trapped by. Also, the fact that circuit bending promotes recycling is crucially important too…so it gives them morals as well 🙂
EG: Is circuit bending something anyone can learn how to do?
Suso: Yeah, definitely, at first it seems difficult but with a few sessions of fiddling around you will get it. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re stuck or need info to start; I’ll try my best to respond. If you’re keen, I also teach circuit bending as part of Spectrum Music Courses, an online school
EG: Do you think there is anything that can’t be used as an instrument?
Suso: Not as far as I’m aware of! I think absolutely everything physical can be used as an instrument.
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