Suté Iwar on Family Collaboration, The Process Behind ‘ULTRALIGHT’ and more [@SuteIwar]

Suté Iwar on Family Collaboration, The Process Behind ‘ULTRALIGHT’ and more [@SuteIwar]

“ULTRALIGHT is a journey that takes you through a range of emotions, from the high energy and excitement of life to the introspection and self-reflection that comes with it… my goal was to create music that speaks to the heart and soul, to evoke feelings of love, hope, and inspiration. Each track on the album tells a story and takes the listener on a journey through soundscapes that are both familiar and new.” GUAP sits down with SUTÉ IWAR on his latest album ULTRALIGHT and more.

Bethel: Beyond creating tracks with a set of relatable stories, what has this album revealed to you about yourself?

Suté Iwar: That’s an interesting question. It really made me appreciate everyone who’s been a part of my journey a little more. Those messages, all those voice notes on the album – none of them were orchestrated. There was no script or anything. It’s literally just me telling my friends “Hey man, I’m doing this, let me know how you feel.” And so all those messages that were sent, me listening to them for the first time was interesting, because these were things some of my friends hadn’t even told me. It really made me appreciate my community of friends and peers, even more than I did before.

Bethel: You’ve dotted around a few talking sequences in the album. It’s a slightly different style to how you’ve structured your previous albums. What inspired that decision?

Suté Iwar: I didn’t know it was going to be that way when I started on the album, because for me it’s always the music first. I’m always trying to make a musical statement first. I take album making very seriously and I’m always making music, so what usually happens is, I latch on to one song that I made, and I’m like “well that’ll be a great foundation for this album.”

With this album, it was actually ‘SIGNS’. I remember making that in like September 2021, and being like “Well that’s very interesting, let me follow that through.”

The album was out last month – that’s about a year plus. Within that time, the ideas for the album just kept building. I didn’t know it was going to be a concept album when I started, I didn’t know it was going to be this narrative build. What sort of happens a lot of the time with me is that the music leads me in a certain direction, so I’m paying attention to what the music is telling me. I made ‘SIGNS’, ‘MEDITATE’, ‘JUDA LION’ all within the same time, and I realised the music was leading me in a certain direction, where suddenly I’m making a really personal outbound and so I decided to follow that through to the extreme.

With album-making, I always want the album to be very tight. That’s one intention I always step into album-making with. With this album, it felt like that was a great way to piece it together. With all my albums, there’s a musical thing that’s tying it together, and I just added that layer of the stories on top of it.

Bethel: You profess the need to practice mindfulness on your track ‘MEDITATE’. What do you to help you manage with the fast-paced nature of being an artist, especially when touring?

Suté Iwar: I make sure I do the things that I like, even outside of music. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re doing music or creating in any way where you feel like you have to do things that would make people like you. I feel like it’s a pressure some people feel, and for me, it’s always been better to just lean into the things I like and expose that part of myself. If in a moment, I’m not enjoying social media, I’m not gonna do social media because I know it doesn’t benefit me and whoever is listening to my music won’t want to engage with me on social media if I’m miserable on there.

I really pay attention to that and make sure at every time, I’m intentionally doing things that I can show up in the best form. It’s not always easy, because there’s so many different pressures, but it’s something I do intentionally, and really just engaging with other things that interest me outside of the music.

I’m kind of music obsessed. When I’m not making music, I’m listening to music, but I have things outside of it that allow me to not have to think about it. Allow me to rest my mind and engage my body.

More recently I’ve been skating. I’ve been out with skating kids and they’re so interesting. They don’t care about me at all, they just like doing their skating thing. And with meditation, I don’t get to meditate every single day, but there was a period in my life where I would. Once you do it the right way, it’s easy to buy into it. So, I feel really satisfied about the song and what it’s doing in the world. I go on Instagram and I see all these people using the song in the reels to meditate, and that’s fascinating. It’s also not easy to make a song about meditation without sounding corny, so it’s really cool to have this song that people are vibing into heavy, and so I love that bit of songwriting. That’s really nice songwriting to me and I really am really proud of that.

Bethel: This isn’t the first time you’ve collaborated with your brother on a track. How would you describe your working relationship with him?

Suté Iwar: It’s the easiest thing, really, because we speak the same musical language in many ways, and we literally grew up in the same room. I don’t need to explain anything. A lot of the time when I’m working on music with musicians, I have to tell them “this was my intention, this is what I was thinking, this is where I want to go.” I have to do none of that (With Tay). I just send the music. We’re always sending music back and forward anyway, so it’s a mind connection. Also, those are my best friends, my brothers, so it’s just very easy.

My older brother (Terna), he’s a photographer. He does all of our creative direction for us and he’s probably the best singer from all of us, but he doesn’t sing. With him, it’s great to have the influence he’s had on us, because a lot of our taste comes from from him. So yeah, it’s very seamless.

Bethel: You have a strong musical background starting from a young age. What has helped you maintain this interest in Music for so long?

Suté Iwar: I digest a lot of media, I’m so impressed by everyone doing anything. The world just marvels me and I really love to keep that child-like excitement about whatever. When blogs were around, I was that guy on blogs checking out what’s new. I love films also so I’m getting inspiration from that. It’s inspiration from everyone creating, and I feel like that inspiration is truly endless, so there’s never been a point where I’m having a writer’s block, or I don’t know what to create. I could open up a book, and there’s a paragraph in that that will inspire me. Keep that child-like creativity, that child-like excitement, and just really stay open to information. It’s not really coming from me, it’s coming from somewhere else. So yeah, it’s endless. The world is really beautiful, it’s really dark too, but in the midst of all of that, there’s so much inspiration and potential for art, music and stories.

Bethel: Earlier, you said that your work relationship with your brother is easy. You also have other features on your album. What is it that you would like your featured artists to know about your style of working?

Suté Iwar: Interesting question. The way I work is very organic. So a lot of the artists that feature on the album are like friends, you know. Even if we met doing music, there is a real friendship there. I hope they leave knowing that I’m always ready to work on more music, and they can call on me if they need help with anything musically or outside of it.

Listen to the full album below:

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