click here for more
Cool Rainbows

Cool Rainbows

Monday 12th March, 2012 10:39AM

Djeisan Suskov is a name becoming synonymous with quality releases of which he can soon count his own as he sets about releasing debut album Whale Rocket under his Cool Rainbows moniker. We caught up with Dejeisan over email this weekend  to find out more about the new record (out March 19th on Lil' Chief), his musical beginnings and his production work...

Hey, how’s it going?

Hey there, its going great! having a bit of a lazy Sunday.

Let’s start at the beginning, what got you into music?

I can't remember ever not loving it.. when I was a toddler I'd sneakily tax mums stereo or radio alarm clock with my big sister and listen to the hit countdown late at night. The stereo had a cassette record function complete with equalizer I used to try and operate hah. We would try to remember how to sing the songs the next day. I grew up in churches too where there was always music. My dad is like a rock n roll encyclopedia so I've had it drilled into me from a young age.. there was no escape!

Who were some of your early influences and inspirations?

I've been through a broad range of genres over the years but a lot of 60s and 70s rock n roll stuff really.. the usual Beatles, Neil Young back catalogue etc.

You were involved in a few projects before Cool Rainbows, tell us a little about them?

I've been in a lot of bands yeh. My first proper one I played guitar in when I was 15 with my friend Jared playing drums and a couple of other mates. We were a hard rock band that played ATDI and Tool covers heheh we weren't very good. Then Jared joined the band Steriogram. It was around that time I made a band with high school friends and we made a post punk band called Nova Echo. That ended and they turned into Cut off your Hands and after doing an OE I eventually formed Trees Climbing Trees with some good friends.

And how did Cool Rainbows come about - what were some of your inspirations/influences for this particular project?

I started Cool Rainbows as a way to be free of any expectations of the traditional band format.. when you're in a band things can start to get comfortable and you can start settling for the same sounds that you all know work to some degree. Cool Rainbows was a way I could do whatever whenever and not be treading on my mates' toes by saying things like.. "wouldn't it be cool if we didn't have any drums or guitar and all just sung in this one?". Say that in a band and there could be that awkward eerie tumbleweed silence hah. As far as inspiration and influence for this record goes John Cale, anything Beatles related,The Chills, Neil Young, Beach Boys' Pet sounds, David Kilgour, Tall Dwarves, Edmund Cake and many more.

Essentially a solo project - do you have any regular contributors?

Yeh it definitely started as a solo thing but then morphed into Alex Freer, Cass Mitchell, my wife Emily, Jon Pearce and more recently Rikki from Trees getting more involved with it as a band thing. Without these people I'd still probably be pottering around in my bedroom writing more songs but never releasing them. Jonathan Bree was also a big part in helping me to finish things.

Tell us about the new album Whale Rocket (writing, recording, guests)…

The writing process was a drawn out one.. some of the songs are like 3 or 4 years old and others are a few months old. In terms of recording I wasn't necessarily looking for shiny sonics or everything to be technically correct but more just a sound of its own even if that was totally messed up, as long as it had some character and felt right we were happy.

Paul Roper played some stuff on the album early on and contributes when he's in the country. Hayden East of Panther and the Zoo played a solo and Micheal Ramirez ex cut off played guitar on one of the tracks. Mr Bree produced the record and played some bass. I've got a lot of other friends that contribute and just enjoy being involved with it so I'm very lucky.

How'd you hook up with Lil' Chief…

Jonathan heard some Cool Rainbows tracks on a myspace page I had, I suspect through Princess Chelsea. He was also familiar with trees stuff. I've always loved what lil chief do and was very happy to sign with them. They have have a lot of exceptional acts releasing great albums.

Was there anything in particular you were looking to explore with the album?

I met Sam Hunt by chance outside of the Killing Rooms in Kingsland mid way into making the record. He asked me what I wrote about and I said mostly about relationships and life stuff.. he said "that's not enough" in a way only he could hah! It cut me deep as most of my record at the time was about just that. So I took his advice and wrote some other songs about other things and it balanced things out a bit. A lot of it still has relationship ties or general life things but there's also more to it than just that. Some of it could seem borderline ridiculous but it means something to me at least. Still working on a lot of the advice he gave me though. He's an extraordinary person. I also tried to go with sounds that were more instinctual to me rather then trying to polish it into nothing.

You're also well know for your work with other artists and their releases (Dear Time's Waste, Tiny Ruins, Rube Frost, Pretty Sister) - what drew you to the production side of things and how did you start out?

I grew up kicking around a studio called Revolver run by my father in Royal Oak. So from an early age I used to sit in on sessions and annoy the engineers by making them shitty cups of coffee, not coiling the leads correctly or accidentally throwing away their drugs lol. It was a great place to grow up with many interesting people hanging around.

From there I'd watch how different bands and artists did what they do and the different approaches people had. The Royal Oak studio closed down eventually being rebuilt on a farm in Waiuku. I decided I wanted to apply some of the things I had learnt but I hadn't really had a chance to prove myself with the handful of NZ engineers at the time. So I ended up just starting to help friends in my bedroom at home with minimal gear I saved up for by working pretty crappy jobs around the place. Slowly moving into studio environments from there.

How does this work impact on your own music?

It's great to have the opportunity to work with friends who inspire me to do better. Everyone's different with talents and strengths in different areas which definitely helps to keep things fresh and exciting for me. It also helps my work ethic because a lot of the artists I've worked with aren't slugs and like to give things a good hoon.

Any interesting projects we should keep any eye out for?

I'm currently working with Glass Owls and you should be hearing a new single from them soon. Also the Artisan Guns album is on its way. Nick from COYH and I will hopefully be releasing a duo effort under the name Bellhawkes if we can find the time this year. Also the Pretty Sister debut EP should be released very soon. The Eversons album has been on high rotate in my itunes and will be in stores around the end of April.

What have you got in the way of live shows coming up and - what does Cool Rainbows live entail?

We are supporting the band Real Estate this Thursday at Kings Arms Tavern and our album release show is on Sunday 25th of March at Wine Cellar. We will be playing the Borderline Festival this year on the 5th of April and have a show at Cassette with Sherpa on the 20th of April. We will be in Wellington on the 5th of May to support the Eversons album release.

Cool Rainbows live is a five piece band with us attempting to put various instruments and gadgets to full use. It's a pretty chilled out affair for the most part.. hopefully like one of those parties that isn't too raucous or too sheepish but kinda a good balance that makes you feel like you had a sweet as time by the end of the night.

What's next after the album release?

We will play and tour for a bit and do some more recording where we can. We've been asked to tour the UK so hopefully we will manage to get the funds for that to happen soon.

And for anyone wanting to talk about you but are afraid to pronounce your name - help us out with a phonetic spelling…

Djeisan(Jason) Suskov(shushkov)

Thanks for your time!

You're very welcome thanks for having me! :)