Adapting her music for a band format led Yu Su to open for Brooklyn indie-rock band Parquet Courts
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Yu Su & Her Band
When: Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
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Where: Fortune Sound Club, 147 E. Pender St., Vancouver
Tickets: $20 at ticketweb.ca
Yu Su is a Vancouver-based DJ, composer, and now bandleader. Following a request by Seattle radio station KEXP in 2021, the Chinese-born DJ/electronic music composer got a group together to play live.
This led to a show opening for Brooklyn indie-rock band Parquet Courts in their hometown and opening slots for Japanese psychedelic act Kikagaku Moyo in Vancouver and Seattle.
With Su about to play her first headlining show, we talked to the musician about Pink Floyd, hallowed stages, and the meaning of “hometown show.”
Q: What was your reaction when KEXP contacted you?
A: At first I was like, ‘Oh no, I can’t because I don’t really play live.’ It’s usually a site-specific sound installation type of thing which is like a totally different world. There’s nothing to see. But then I kind of made a joke about it, like, ‘Oh, what if I just started a band for fun and see if I can pull it off.’ So then me and two of my closest friends tried it and spent two days and somehow we figured out how to translate my music into a band form.
Q: Were you surprised to hear from Parquet Courts?
A: I’m not from any kind of band background at all. I don’t know much about anything and I was like, ‘OK, yeah, sure, we’ll come to Brooklyn.’ And my manager helped me get work visas for all of. And then I had no idea how big Brooklyn was. And then Parquet Courts were like, ‘This is our hometown show,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know what a hometown show means.’
Q: What were the Kikagaku Moyo shows like?
A: The Seattle show was insane. The theatre was so beautiful. It’s all so unfamiliar to me but so fun because it’s brand new. And I think because I don’t come from a band background I don’t get nervous playing on any of these stages because I don’t have the knowledge and background. Like, oh, this theatre is important because Nirvana played here.
Q: Are you writing a different kind of music now?
A: Yeah. In a way. I listened to Pink Floyd and Kurt Cobain for the first time in the last couple years. These are totally fresh sounds to my ears. And I’ve been getting a lot of influence from band stuff because it’s new. The next album I’m trying to write is going to be recorded with my band.
Q: So you came here to attend university and you were studying anthropology when someone took you to a dance club, and that was when you decided to become an electronic music composer. Is that right?
A: Yeah. That first party I went to was during the last year of university. So when I went there, I was like, ‘Well, this is this looks fun. Maybe I can do this.’ Then I just started teaching myself and at some point, I was like, ‘Oh, I can do this full time.’ And now I’m doing it full time. I think I got pretty lucky with timing.
Q: What’s going to be different about your first headlining hometown show compared to your three other live shows?
A: I think the structure of the set will be a bit different. And there will be a couple of brand new songs.
Q: Would you call them rock ‘n’ roll songs?
A: I don’t know. They’re pretty rock-y and played by a band with real instruments. But it’s still electronic.
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