Most importantly, she's the cheeky (albeit fictional) mascot of new imprint Who's Susan. The Netherlands-based operation launched late last year with You Are the Prototype, a various-artists EP showcasing little-known bedroom producers such as Raär, Willian Caycedo, and label co-founder Axefield. It's a mini-showcase of house music in its many forms, from acid-tinged lo-fi to spaced-out synth work.
Their second release comes from another lesser-known name, Doline, a young Parisian who previously released music on Teki Latex and Orgasmic's Sound Pellegrino label. His four-track Congrats Intention EP for Who's Susan isn't easily categorized by genre with its textured, off-kilter electronics. "It's not really the type of stuff you hear in the clubs we go to; this is so much more raw and unpolished," Who's Susan tells THUMP of their signee's sound over email. "Admittedly, it's quite different, but let's be honest—you also don't always order the same thing when you go to different restaurants, right?"
Today, the team have shared the opening track "O-," which Doline describes to us as a "hybrid rhythm narrated." Despite all its clanging percussion, it sets a somewhat transcendent tone with its shimmering sheen while still giving off plenty of groove for the dancefloor.
Listen to "O-" below ahead of the EP's February 6 release via Bandcamp, and also check out a Q&A with the Who's Susan team.
THUMP: First off… Who is Susan?
Who's Susan: Susan is what you get when three juvenile minds come together and create a metaphor for something that stands above them all: good music. The whole idea behind the label actually started years ago, but it took many hours to actually realize this and put the puzzle pieces that are Susan together. Susan is our go-to entity, commanding us towards producers, she has the vision and she is the goal.
Tell us about the team behind Who's Susan.
Susan is run by three guys who all study at the oldest Dutch university, in Leiden. We met almost 5 years ago and have been talking about music since day one. It's funny to see how that taste in music has evolved, and perhaps, even funnier that our tastes have grown together quite harmoniously over time. Sometimes when we get together we listen back to what we were really digging back then and at times it's so different. Fundamentally different genres and preferences have led to the sound we like now. Anyway, here and there it's still quite enjoyable to listen to Nu Shooz.
How did the label come about?
In the beginning, there was too much talk. All we did was discuss new tunes, share them with each other, spin together and assess other record labels, especially what they were putting out. We'd actually talked about starting a label quite soon after we met, but due to lack of time and experience we never really got to wrap our heads around it. Once there was an actual plan and a pretty clear (as clear as only Susan can be) goal, we started to look and listen around. Having gone through a plethora of wacky names and concepts we coincidentally bumped into Susan, explaining what to do and how to do it. So, after a lengthy brainstorm sessions that excluded anything but coffee we had it all set in stone.
Your first release featured tracks from lesser-known producers Raär, Axefield, and William Caycedo. Where and how do you seek out artists to release on the label? Are you going for a particular sound, feeling, or aesthetic?
Well, all we really know is that we have to release music that we can support individually, which means keeping up with three (very) different preferences. On the flipside this gives us the opportunity to go any which way, an example being Doline's "Chryséléphantine" and William Caycedo's "SNY" remix. The internet, as everyone's go-to-source for absolutely anything, has paved the way for a great many bedroom producers, such as Axefield and Raar, to get their productions out into the world. It is also this idea of smaller, lesser-known producers that we would like to continue working with—the whole vibe that comes with it is really pleasant!
What can you tell us about your newest artist, Doline, and his Congrats Intention EP?
Doline is not an unknown name in the Parisian club scene. Having released an absolutely killer EP on Teki Latex and DJ Orgasmic's imprint Sound Pellegrino last year, we were kind of entranced by his sound. It's not really the type of stuff you hear in the clubs we go to; this is so much more raw and unpolished. It's really that Parisian vibe that is so prominent when you walk down the stairs of the Social Club or enter the backdoor of Concrete. With that in mind, his sounds really appealed to what we try to pursue with Susan: to be innovative. Admittedly, it's quite different—but let's be honest, you also don't always order the same thing when you go to different restaurants, right?
Doline sent us the Congrats Intention EP a while back. We were blown away in every sense of the word. We had this great list of other tunes that we were sorting out to fit in our release schedule, and then you get this elusively trance-y four-tracked bombshell. It's not hard to imagine that we had to regain our senses in order to coherently piece this puzzle together.
We're incredibly excited to finally put this out there and the feedback thus far has been great. Once you hear this in the right setting and you just close your eyes, it's all cubes and glittery colors coming your way.
What are your plans for the label in the upcoming year?
We've got a good number of vinyl and digital releases scheduled for the remainder of the year. Beyond that, we are looking into some form of merchandising and perhaps even a club night. Actually, we mostly follow Susan's orders, so we patiently await those too!