With mixes that overflow with colourful melodies, musical landscapes that usher in dreamlike mind-states, and productions that mirror those aesthetics, over the last three years, Yu Su has been creating her own world. The Kaifeng-born, Vancouver-based artist’s work has captured the attention of labels such as New York’s Arcane, re-issue imprint Peoples Potential Unlimited, Music From Memory sub-label Second Circle, and most recently, Ninja Tune’s Technicolour. The expansive knowledge of music that’s evident in her work stems back to her childhood. “My earliest access to music came from before I was born,” she laughs. “My mom would listen to Liszt and Debussy all the time. I think she read somewhere that it’s good for the intellectual development of the baby...
“Debussy has a big, big influence on me, so there it is.” In 2013, she made the move to Canada to study, and submerged herself in the rich music scene of Vancouver. The city has been an invaluable part of the process, but her sources of inspiration reach much further outside her immediate surroundings. “Every city has its community and sound I believe, but it’s still up to the individual to figure out who they are,” explains Yu Su. “I was introduced to the kind of electronic music that I make and DJ now by the people here, but everything has developed into all directions ever since.” You can find her early work under the guise of You’re Me alongside Scott Gailey, with music released via the 1080p label, and a cassette tape on Isla in 2016.
Her ‘Watermelon Woman’ single on Technicolour goes down a delightfully psychedelic disco route. “I think I was just obsessed with Bufiman’s music, also Golden Teacher, and for a whole year I’ve been wanting to make some psychedelic mid-tempo dance tracks, but just didn’t really know how. One day I just sat down and sampled a drum break, and it became this in some hours of turning the knobs on the Minilogue.” It’s the aforementioned Korg synth and the Prologue that she uses frequently, and believes that constantly discovering new sounds and genres is how the style of the music she’s making is constantly shifting. “My narrative is a reflection of my learning curve,” Yu Su explains.
With the eclectic nature of her sound, it’s one that is taking her far and wide, with DJ bookings in Poland, Albania, Amsterdam, France and London this summer, most recently playing NYC and LA, and Australia this month. For her gig at Giant Steps in London, she amalgamated two of her favourite pastimes: music and cooking. “It felt like the most special gig I’ve done, there’s something very otherworldly with feeding people,” she says. “I love cooking so much, and I’m planning on putting on more events that involve food.” Right now she’s focusing on an album, with some remixes to come in the meantime. She’s also working on co-scoring a documentary for a multi-disciplinary artist in Vancouver, which will show yet another side to her production mastery.