Los Angeles born Erik Sumale, affectionately known as Sumale, has been composing Electronic and Hip-Hop grooves for the past few years. He was inspired early on in his life by his father who would play the old school classic hits from the '70s, 80's and '90s that would in turn give him the motivation he has today to be the rising star he is.
Sumale has a passion for experimenting with sounds and a desire to create his own lane in the realms of EDM and Hip-hop. His bubbly single, “Conductor,” takes us on a sonic voyage that is unique to Sumale and his listeners.
“Conductor,” is an instrumental composition that zigs zags through a variety of tempos and components on the Electronic spectrum. With this entrancing song being under three minutes, you are very easily lost in the futuristic soundscape that is painted for you by Sumale. A lively and vivid tempo is set from the moment the song starts to when it ends. It instantly transports you on a journey through the creator's mind as its definition is left to the interpreter.
With an up-tempo canvas Sumale paints on, his ability to shine a light on the minor details is truly outstanding. One would not understand the numerous components that Sumale uses at first listen but after diving deeper into the production you are face to face with all of the mechanisms that contribute to the enticing masterpiece that Sumale calls, “Conductor.” As a work of art, you can hear the care and effort that went into this creation as it fills your speakers and headspace.
Sumale has a knack for allowing his bodies of work to tailor to each listener on a personal level as they define the likes of it themselves. Sumale is destined for greatness as long as he keeps his creative cap on tight.
Hello Sumale and welcome to BuzzMusic. We would love to know, what does this single means to you as the artist?
Hello and thank you! "Conductor," along with the rest of the 'Pulse' EP, means a lot to me and it stands as a pivotal moment in my career as an artist. I had so much fun diving into my synthesizer plug-ins and being able to work with my mixing/master engineer, Louie Ramos, to push for a heavy sounding record but maintain the catchy groove. The responses I have been getting on this track from my followers on social media have been amazing! I'm really glad I rescued this session after I shelved it almost a year ago! I love everything about this record because it represents all the hard work that went into redefining my sound.
What would you like listeners to feel or take away from “Conductor,” when they listen to it themselves?
I would like listeners to feel content when they play this record and be transported into my world for a bit. Perhaps even a sense of nostalgia when it comes to the signature sound I achieve with my synthesizer plug-ins. As a kid, I have always been intrigued by the sound of the synthesizer and every time I experiment with the sound design it takes me back to some of my favorite sci-fi films like Encounters of The Third Kind, Terminator 2...the list can go on! I've always appreciated what films, in general, have done for me when it comes to escapism. With this record, I wanted to provide that same journey and escapism with rhythmic sound and gritty synth action.
We know how everyone creates differently. How does your creative process vary when creating Hip-hop versus EDM?
Very good question! When it comes to hip hop finding a good sample is key!. Years ago I was being coached long ago by one of my best friends who is a hip hop producer and he helped me with my listening skills when it came to finding a catchy sample from the vinyl records I would play. It's like finding a needle in a haystack but once I find it I experiment with the tempo and chop the sample up into a groove that sounds like my own. From there I lay down the drums, bass, and vocals(if any) from the original record. My last EP, 'Return to Monstro City,' showcases how far I have come with my sampling technique.
Now, when I dive into EDM I focus on the lead synth sound and groove. I spend a lot of time experimenting with the sound design and cycling through different presets and seeing what all the knobs do to the melody I create. I'll admit, half of the time I am just turning knobs at random without really knowing the science behind what I am doing but at the same time, I love that because it keeps me from being too technical with my approach to electronic music. Once I achieve the synth sound that I want I lay the drums and bass down and tie the whole groove together!
What headspace were you in when you created “Conductor?"
When I revisited the session for "Conductor", I was in a really bad creative rut. I decided to take almost two months off from social media and limit my interactions with family/friends. I was feeling very insecure about my sound and where I was headed as an artist. Listening to the original session of "Conductor" I could hear and even remember how much fun I had creating the groove. That is when I realized that I needed to go back to the fundamentals and remind myself to have fun when creating music. It also helped me realize that I already had a signature sound and the next step was to redefine it.
What stands out to me with this record is the switch up in the drums and melody. When I first started making electronic music I focused on the layers of sound and continue to build from the same drum pattern and bass groove. With "Conductor" I decided to stray away from adding too many layers and really just hone in on the synth and drum action and by adding that switch-up in the arrangement I was able to keep the energy of this track going without it sounding too redundant.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020? What can we expect to see next from you?
This new direction in my sound has me excited for future projects! I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by an awesome community of producers and close friends that continue to show support and excitement for my musical journey. I'm excited to continuously become a better version of myself and share my sound with the world! As for what's next... I do have an E.P. lined up for next year in which I sample vocals from videos I took years ago. I was pretty much the official videographer when it came to hanging out with friends and the adventures we would get into after we graduated high school.
From those videos I began to find funny phrases that some of my best friends would say or a random stranger, I sample them a repurposed them as vocal hooks for the tracks. What I like about this project so far is that in some of the tracks I blend the hip-hop and electronic elements together. Looking forward to releasing this EP next year!