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The ‘Real World’ of SUDO: An in-depth interview

Japanese brothers, Isao and Takashi Sudo, better known as SUDO, have made a significant impact in the electronic music scene since their breakthrough in 2016. Their innovative music style has garnered attention from industry heavyweights such as Adam Beyer, Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin, Laurent Garnier, and Deadmau5.

Photo credit: SUDO – Official

The brothers Isao and Takashi – the former based in Berlin, while the other holds forte in their hometown of Kansai-Kobe, Japan – have been grafting away at their craft for many years, never compromising on quality, while eschewing trends. Instead, patiently creating and waiting for their opportunity.

Recently they have released the  ‘Real World’ EP via Drumcode. The link-up with the label happened after Bart Skils shared an early demo of ‘Real World’ with Adam Beyer and he quickly began supporting the tracks across key gigs at Awakenings, Time Warp, and Ultra.

Today we chat with SUDO exploring their recent release, future projects, and the journey that has shaped their music career, including Isao’s decision to relocate to Berlin and their experiences working in different cities around the world.

EG: Hi, Isao & Takashi! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. Where are you at right now? How have you been?

SUDO: Hi! It’s a pleasure to meet you too. Younger brother Isao is in Berlin, and elder brother Takashi is in Kobe, Japan. We just finished a new track, and feeling good now.

EG: First of all, congratulations on the release of your latest EP, ‘Real World’! You must be excited to be able to share this one with everyone. What has the initial reception been like so far? Do you remember the first time you played these cuts live?

SUDO: Thank you! Yes, before the release we were both excited and somewhat nervous and restless, but the response after the release was even better than we expected, we were surprised by the huge number of messages we got from all over the world, and, we were very happy to have the No.1 spot on Beatport Peak Time Techno chart.

EG: As we know, ‘Real World’ signals your much-anticipated debut on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode. So, what can fans of the label expect to find on this outing? What was the creative process for these tracks like?

SUDO: Like many artists, to release on Drumcode was one of our goals.  We feel that many of the label’s listeners are enthusiastic fans. As one of those listeners, we guess we are still looking for a new sound that evokes some emotion and surprise.

This EP was a dialogue with our hearts, and we asked ourselves what kind of tracks we truly would like to dance to at a party/festival, what kind of tracks we would be satisfied with from the bottom of our hearts, what kind of phrases genuinely come out of us? We did a lot of trial and error and came up with something we were happy with.

EG: What was the creative process for these tracks like? How does one channel a concept of “origins” (regarding the connection to your first vinyl) into music?

SUDO: We still vividly remember our origins, the uplifting and high-energy atmosphere that we heard when we first listened to this unknown white label vinyl that Isao bought (which we later found out was Underworld’s Rez). We wanted to express that in our current sound, with the essence of the musical history we have gone through.

“This EP was a dialogue with our hearts”

EG: By the way, what is your dynamic in the studio as a duo like? Do you have “set” roles in the studio, or do you take it track by track?

SUDO: We live in Berlin and Kobe, respectively, so it’s hard for us to be in the studio together, but we do have sessions using Zoom. Isao is in charge of the technical process, and Takashi is in charge of melodies and overall production.

EG: And how do you translate the music into your live act? Are you sometimes limited in what you can create because of the need to replicate that live?

SUDO: We arrange the tracks in such a way that we can freely change the structure of each part, such as synths, drum parts, and so on. Our tracks are basically made for festivals and big venues, and our live sets are mainly suited to bigger venues when the audience is excited at once. But we also love DJ sets and playing a wide range of music, not only peak time sets but also, for example, more groovy sets. We usually DJ, but when we have a special setup, we play live sets.

EG: Now, stepping outside of the studio, how do you feel about these gigantic LED screens that seem to have taken over festivals and big-name performances? Do you think these “immersive” experiences bring us closer or farther away from the music? What’s your take on this?

SUDO: Music and images have an affinity, so this kind of expression is a natural process, and we think it’s great that there are so many different ways to enjoy it. When we see the ones where everyone is taking the video at the same time on social media, it’s eye-catching and there’s a chance that the music being played will be of interest, but if we were there, we would probably distract ourselves from the music by being obsessed with the video.

EG: And how do you feel about the recent implementation of AI in the creative side of music? Have you explored any form of AI recently on ‘Real World’ or any recent recordings? What’s your relationship with that like?

SUDO: In ‘Real World’ EP, we don’t use AI, in terms of the title (laughter). But in other tracks, we are using AI-generated voice. Sometimes it’s fun to create unexpected things. The fusion with analog equipment is also interesting. AI will increase the speed and possibilities of what we can do. We don’t want AI to dominate creativity, but if we can use AI effectively it could be very interesting.

“We still vividly remember our origins”

EG: Finally, can you provide some insights into what’s next for SUDO? What can we expect from you in the coming months? Where can your fans catch you next?

SUDO: In fact, we’ve already almost finished a collaboration with a big artist that we really respect and can’t wait to release it. We’re also going to start collaborating with another artist we admire who had a huge influence on us when we started listening to electronic music, as well as our favorite artist that we always play in our sets. Of course, we are also preparing our new original tracks to release. We would love to play as many gigs as possible in different cities around the world, so we are planning to tour not only Europe but also the US, South America, Asia, and Australia. We look forward to seeing you all!

EG: Thank you so much for your time, guys! See you on the dancefloor!

SUDO: Thank you so much! We have enjoyed it very much. See you soon!

SUDO’s ‘Real World’ EP is now available on Drumcode. Stream and download here.

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