No love songs for her

Taka­hara Suiko is not your av­er­age singer­song­writer

The Sun (Malaysia) - - YOUTH - BY JES­SICA CHUA

TAKA­HARA Suiko aka The Venopian Soli­tude’s first at­tempt at writ­ing hap­pened when she was grip­ing about her brother on her blog us­ing metaphors. She was only 14 when she learnt how to mask her words. Lit­tle did she know, she was paving the way for song­writ­ing. “It’s a hor­ri­ble way to start writ­ing, but it taught me how to be cre­ative,” said the 26-year-old.

De­spite her grow­ing in­ter­est in mu­sic, Taka­hara took up elec­tronic en­gi­neer­ing in Ja­pan to ap­pease her par­ents. But as she was about to fin­ish her di­ploma, she con­cluded that study­ing en­gi­neer­ing be­came a chore, and she just wasn’t cut out for it.

So Taka­hara re­turned to Malaysia to fo­cus on cre­at­ing mu­sic – pro­duc­ing a num­ber of EPs along the way, and even re­leased her first full-length al­bum Hikayat Per­awan Ma­j­nun in 2014. The singer-song­writer dab­bles in var­i­ous sounds and gen­res, but one thing’s for sure: she doesn’t write love songs.

“I tried to but I couldn’t. It’s just too per­sonal. Even if I did, I wouldn’t put it out,” she said.

Taka­hara re­cently hit an­other mile­stone as she’s the first Malaysian artiste se­lected – among thou­sands from over 100 coun­tries – to at­tend the es­teemed Red Bull Mu­sic Academy in Mon­treal this Septem­ber.

“I'm try­ing not to let the pres­sure of be­ing the first Malaysian alumna get

Could you re­call the begin­ning of your af­fair with mu­sic? I started com­pos­ing mu­sic in stan­dard two or three. I wanted to take up piano but my mother didn’t al­low it. So I started mak­ing melodies us­ing my fa­ther’s phone in­stead. That was when phones had mono­tone sounds you can play with. I never had any ex­po­sure to mu­si­cal in­stru­ments ex­cept for the recorder in school. So it was ei­ther that or the phone.

How would you de­scribe your mu­sic? It’s re­ally loud and an­noy­ing. I say that be­cause I don’t know what kind of style it is. It changes from song to song. If you don’t agree with that and you hap­pen to like it, then good for you. I scream a lot when I per­form live – it’s nec­es­sary to con­vey the emo­tion that was writ­ten for that part of the lyrics or song.

What is mu­sic to you? Mu­sic is some­thing as nat­u­ral as breath­ing and eat­ing. I don’t pride my­self in do­ing mu­sic be­cause it’s like hav­ing pride in eat­ing and breath­ing. Ev­ery­one does that. But it comes nat­u­rally to me that it doesn’t be­come a thing that I fo­cus on. Like eat­ing and brush­ing my teeth af­ter­wards, mu­sic is some­thing that I have to do, whether I like it or not.

The best piece of ad­vice you’ve ever re­ceived. There are sev­eral but the one that I re­ally remember is by Fynn Ja­mal. She told me to make my own path, and that I can­not fol­low other peo­ple’s paths be­cause I’m dif­fer­ent. While ev­ery­one else walks down a cer­tain path, it was ac­tu­ally eas­ier for me to make some­thing of my own be­cause the other paths were al­ready crowded. To me, that was a rev­e­la­tion.

What is your main goal? I would like to ex­pe­ri­ence a black hole. I guess that’s the metaphor of my dream; to un­der­stand some­thing that I don’t un­der­stand, and to un­der­stand as many things as I can.

Where do you want to see this in­dus­try go? All fields have to col­lab­o­rate to make ev­ery field rel­e­vant to each other, which can fos­ter ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Peo­ple are start­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate some form of art now, like a nice-look­ing tudung or a lo­cally made T-shirt. To me, that di­rec­tion will head to­wards per­form­ing arts as well. For ex­am­ple, Yuna in­cor­po­rated a silat artist and bal­le­rina in her re­cent mu­sic video. But right now, it’s too early to say whether or not it’ll work. It will take time. But what mat­ters is that we keep do­ing it.


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