INTERVIEW: Sugi Dakks talks to us about his influences, future plans, and his new single 'Cynicism'
Following on from the huge success of his previous single ‘Colors’, which landed on Tidal’s Rising Hip-Hop playlist, as well as becoming the first ever artist to be invited to perform on Sofar Sounds Virtual Tour, LA-based singer and songwriter Sugi Dakks now looks to bring the funk on this fun and vibrant new single ‘Cynicism’, lifted from his forthcoming new EP ‘Deeply Rooted’.
With strong nods to the godfather of soul, James Brown, as well as a distinct flair to bold and inventive hip-hop flows, 'Cynicism' is the ripe and uplifting return we all needed right now. Exciting and energetic throughout, Sugi's command of the track shows him as one of the most flamboyant and captivating names emerging today.
So with the new single out now, we sat down with Sugi to find out more about the new release and what he has planned next.
Hi Sugi, how are you today?
I’m doing as good as you can, hoping Breonna Taylor’s killers get convicted of their crime, good to see the state paying the family money though it doesn’t bring a life back to this earth.
For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?
I come from a jazz background. I got my degree in Jazz Piano Performance so I come from that musician mindset. My writing background is solely based on spoken word/slam poetry. I grew up listening to Hip-Hop so it only made sense to combine my passions, music and words, and become a sort of fusion Hip-Hop performer.
You have just released your new single ‘Cynicism’ Can you tell us how that track came about?
I made this one with a great producer friend of mine, Phil Simmonds. During the time, I was just thinking about how cynical I was seeing some of my friends and strangers were in these current times. I couldn’t tell if I was just noticing it now and it had always been this way, or I was noticing it more and more over the months. It eventually got me worried as I thought about the young generation and my generation, knowing that these negative thoughts and viewpoints end up causing so much inaction when so much needs to be changed in this world. It felt like we were heading in a direction where “cynicism is the leader of the new world”.
There are also a lot of different styles going on in there. Was there a particular style you were looking for when you wrote it?
We were listening to a lot of James Brown, funk tunes, and Michael Jackson, and wondering what they would sound like if they were my age in this day and age.
You are also planning to release your new EP ‘Deeply Rooted’ soon. Can you tell us what we can expect from that?
It’s definitely on the same tip of me analyzing different parts of society and giving my thoughts on it. The styles are all a bit eclectic but have the through line of taking an old style/old artist and imagining what they would sound like in these modern times. These influences included Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, James Brown, Nina Simone, BB King, Prince, ACDC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Queen.
And what was the vision you had for the new EP?
I went around and interviewed random people in LA, asked them different questions about society, what they value, how should we live our lives, and then interspersed people’s answers throughout the EP.
The coronavirus outbreak has obviously affected everyone’s plans, but what have you got in store for the rest of the year?
Trying to create different musical experiences that would have the same effect as a live show. I’ve been exploring spaces like theatre, poetry slams, and art galleries and trying to think outside the box when it comes to the word “performance”.
And finally, what has been the most unusual thing to happen to you since you began in the music industry?
Good things have happened to me and it’s never came from where I expected it to come from. Friends have been met in the most random of concerts, collaborators have been met in the most random of social media channels, and opportunities have come from the least likely people. Just trying to be open to it all.
Sugi Dakk's new single 'Cynicism' is available to stream and download now. Listen to it below.