Suuns and Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart actually met in 2012, spending a week in a Montreal studio. Later on, these sessions ended up in a live performance in summer, which was inspirational for both bands. And in 2015, they finally released their collaborative album. Before their live performance at Salon in Istanbul tonight, I had the chance to send Suuns some questions about this collaboration.
Did you come across with Middle Eastern music before you started working with Radwan or did you come to a closer contact through him?
He was playing a lot of it in our van when he was our front of house engineer and around when his first solo JIMH record came out. That was mostly our first experiences with it.
What strikes me most about the last album is the transcendence of you and Jerusalem In My Heart, co-existing in the same atmosphere rather than overlapping each other’s music. I know that you have been friends for a while and talk about music a lot. But still I wonder about how you have arrived at such a shared commitment to exploring different musical territories.
It was natural. We tried writing and recording with no expectations and also the willingness to walkaway if it didn’t work out. Suuns is good at existing in the same spaces adn not overlapping or overstepping. Radwan, as it turns out is good at that too. It’s more of a collective mindset than a soloist mindset.
Which of the songs in the album has had a way more influence on your feelings, that sense of “wow, we haven’t thought we could do this that way! Feels good!”
Gazelles in Flight turned out to be great. It sounds like a bunch of noise and clicks etc. But it’s actually quite structured. Haters beware…
In your live shows, we can say that you are interpreting the album rather than following it note-by-note as the songs seem to be in progress all the time. So that’s why, your gigs feel much more personal to me, more private than your albums. Do you also feel that way?
Yeah of course. That’s always the case and the goal of all 5 of us. We are also working with a filmaker live, Charles-André Coderre and he’s fully trying to take it to the next level night after night visually. We have to keep up with him.
Do you think releasing a live album is like taking the photograph of a moment in life? Do you feel the same? Any thoughts about releasing one?
Sure. I’ve never released one, but I like documenting our shows. Because when we pick up this project again, we’ll probably play these songs differently. But, I think taking a photograph is more like taking a photograph of a moment in life.
As far as I know, this is the first time that you have been playing with another musician? Have you ever had any challenges while playing with Radwan live as he is on stage this time?
No, because Suuns + JIMH is a different band than Suuns or JIMH solo. We would have more challenges breaking into a Suuns song mid set or mid tour. We are on a specific tip with this stuff. So, it’s actually pretty easy. Travelling with 4 film projectors is the hard part.
What has changed since you started collaborating with Radwan? How are you influencing each other in terms of sound?
I think the exploration of sounds and repetition have influenced us. Non-western pop music style song writing plays even more so into our way of working now. It’s been a great experience and one that I foresee us revisiting soon.