True to BSTN’s proprietary ‘Feed Fam, Fuck Fame!‘ philosophy, we’re introducing you to some members of the immediate as well as the extended BSTN family. In their own words, they talk about themselves, their career, and selected topics close to their heart. This is Feed Fam – Episode XI featuring Sujazz, a musician, DJ, and co-founder of music platform Fabtribe.

On the influence that Asian culture has had on her:

I grew up with two siblings. Our parents have always made sure that we experience and learn as much as we could about our Asian culture. In addition to traditions, it was always important for them how their children handled themselves when interacting with the outside world. Humbleness was a key virtue for example. That has definitely shaped me as a person.

As someone who was making music, it wasn’t particularly easy for me to go beyond that and open myself up to others. In that regard, I slowed myself down for quite a while as it was difficult for me to show myself in an emotional state. To a degree, I believe that I still am a little shy or reserved in certain situations.

But music has certainly helped me to open myself up. And I am very thankful for what our parents have instilled in us. My ancestry and my roots are an important part of me.

On balancing her passion for music and her day job:

It’s not easy to find the balance between my day job and the passion that I have for creating music. There are certainly phases during which my job demands a lot of my time. My work is something that I have used as an excuse not to do other things for the longest time. I was too tired. Things were too stressful.

But I love music so much that I can’t let those things keep me from following my passion. I’ve got to take it seriously. In addition, music is what calms me down in the most stressful situations. In a way, music itself is that balancing element for me. That’s why I have established specific days during the week – usually on the weekends – that I reserve for making music.

On the influence of R’n’B, soul, and gospel:

Growing up, there was always music playing in our house. My older brother introduced me to the big R’n’B artists of the 90s. I was fascinated by their way of singing and by the way that the music made me feel right away. When I dove in deeper, I discovered Brandy and Aaliyah. Those two have definitely become some of my biggest inspirations.

Therefore, R’n’B, soul, and gospel strongly influence the music that I make myself, too. It’s the music that touches me the most. I believe that’s something you can hear in my own tracks as well as in my DJ sets. I’d call the latter soulful, which is fair to say if you ask me. (laughs)

In addition, I started singing at an early age. I must have been five or six. I recorded tapes for myself and also sang in a gospel choir which has helped me tremendously when it comes to vocal arrangements and harmonizing.

On music as a form of expression and the difference between making music and DJing in that regard:

For me, creating music is a more personal thing than putting together a DJ set. DJing is a lot of fun for me but I don’t necessarily have to use it to express myself. However, it is very important to me that I play songs that I personally like or would listen to myself. Therefore, it is a reflection of my personality or my musical development to a certain degree.

With songwriting on the other hand, I lean on personal experiences a lot. But both songwriting and DJing are equally therapeutic for me. I draw a lot of energy out of both of them.

On featuring lesser-known artists in her DJ sets:

It’s my own aspiration to constantly evolve when it comes to music. Discovering new things is an endless process. That’s the great thing about music. And I personally believe it’s essential to being a DJ. As someone who consumes a lot of music, I love when a DJ ‘feeds’ me new songs that I’ve never heard before. It’s one of the biggest joys in DJing for me.

In addition to classics and certain songs that just ‘work’ for specific situations or crowds, I try to include songs that may not be as well-known but also fit the vibe of the current set. That also supports the artists behind those songs. Music is constantly evolving which is why a DJ set should not sound the exact same all the time. That’s why it’s crucial for me to always include new elements in mine.

On digging through crates vs. digital digging:

Since I rarely have the time to actually go to record stores and physically go through crates, I do a lot of searching online at the moment. That has already become a routine for me. When I wake up, I look for new releases right away. Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud – I’m on all of them. Since I follow a lot of artists on Instagram, it’s a great additional channel to quickly find out when an artist has released a new song.

Most of the time, I’m not searching for anything specific. It can be a new artist that I stumble upon or an older artist that I have not listened to in a while. I can easily go through dozens of lists, albums, and songs at a time. I’ll know what I like once I’ll hear it. Some days, I won’t like a single song and a day later I might discover a whole bunch of stuff that I like. It’s a process and you simply have to have the patience for it.

On founding the music platform Fabtribe:

I founded Fabtribe with one of my friends in 2014. It actually evolved from a small event called FAB5 while we were travelling in the Bay Area that year.

We are both very passionate about music but had no experience as a DJ back then. That’s when we asked ourselves: ‘Why don’t we create an event for people like us – people who don’t actively work as a DJ but who have great music collections and all like a similar sound?’ That’s when we created FAB5, an event for music aficionados, giving five people the opportunity to play their music whether they had any experience as a DJ or not.

From that small event catered to taste-makers in our city, the project grew into what Fabtribe is today: A platform for all the people who love soulful music as much as we do.  

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