D//E Interviews: ULTRA SUNN

From Brussels, Belgium, ULTRA SUNN is the dark synthpop duo comprising Gaelle Souflet and Sam Huge. Their latest album, US, has just been released through Artoffact Records, with extensive touring plans across Europe and the US throughout 2024.

In a new interview with D//E, ULTRA SUNN discuss their new album, its underlying themes, the inspirations which fueled its creation, reflections on the New Beat sound, and more.

How did ULTRA SUNN come to be? 

We (Gaelle and Sam) met about ten years ago and have shared the same love for  electronic music since the beginning. With our respective musical backgrounds, we  wanted to have a joint artistic project, and little by little ULTRA SUNN was born and  has come this far. 

Your music has been described as a fresh interpretation of the New Beat sound aka  The Sound of Belgium. How did that certain scene influence your sound, and how  do you see yourselves contributing to it? 

We are Belgians, which is obviously a big part of our cultural heritage. It's a very  particular sound, the recipe for which is quite indescribable. Quite naturally, our sound  has followed the same path, simply because our Belgian experience is similar. We try to  add our contemporary and fresh touch, while mixing it with our other influences 

How would you characterize ULTRA SUNN's sound? 

Fat kicks and sharp bass, crafted pads and synths, a deep voice singing lyrics that make  you want to move, to feel better, and to fight to feel better, choruses that you can sing  along with us. 

How was the creative process behind the new album, US
We share all the steps together in our studio (often with three when the cat is with us).  It's very important for us to listen to each other. We enjoy managing every steps from  composing to writing, from recording to mixing, from designs to video directing and editing. This method seems the most enjoyable to us and allows us to have songs that we  are hundred percent pleased with. Most of the time, we work at night because it's a  moment that inspires and calms us. 

Were there any particular themes or inspirations which guided the making of the  album? 

We have written songs about the fight against anxiety (Broken Monsters, Some Ghost  Could Follow), the quest for truth and light (The Truth, This is Not About You), and we  have questioned the meaning of party (Fall From Grace, Lost and Found). We have also  written our first love song as lyrics for each other (You & Me).

With groundings in art history and fashion design, how do such influences manifest  in ULTRA SUNN's music and performances? 

This background serves us well beyond being a true source of inspiration; it's an  education that has given us a certain perspective on things. A sense of craftsmanship and  workmanship. More concretely, for example, we like to think of music and our songs as  clothes design because it is through the human body that the object must be experienced.  During our creative process, we enjoy making analogies between the drape of a dress  and the mix of a track, the stitching in fabric and the sounds of a synthesizer. In the end,  the listener should feel comfortable with the finished product, almost as if they had to  wear it. 

Collaboration seems to be a significant part of the band's essence. How was  working with artists like Kontravoid, Kris Baha, and Curses?  

We have had the pleasure and the chance to work with these artists for remixes and  compilations. It allows us to offer a different perspective on things. It's always refreshing  to have an outside view, and these are artists for whom we have a lot of respect. 

What does the perfect collaboration entail for you? 

When we manage to understand each other and when everyone does their utmost to  serve the music. When we are together in search of positive emotions, and when, in the  end, we all come out having learned new things. 

ULTRA SUNN's music often carries messages of equality and self-empowerment.  How do you hope the audience interprets and engages with these concepts? 

We often find that our audience has understood the message very well. Through their  participation in our concerts and also through their words. We regularly receive  messages telling us how our music has a positive impact on their lives and helps them do  better, to feel better. For us, this is the most beautiful reward because it shows us the  concrete positive impact that our work can have.  

You have shared stages with great acts such as Nitzer Ebb and Front 242. What  have been some of the highlights of performing live, and how do you connect with  your audience during your shows? 

We've indeed been fortunate to quickly have the opportunity to play with bands that are  important to us as influences and as role models in the music industry. Our connection with the audience is always mutual; we always seek to have the maximum connection to  bring the audience with us, making them dance and sing along. Watching individuals  and celebrating them is what we prefer. 

What comes next for ULTRA SUNN after the album's release? 

After the release, we're going on tour! We'll be playing in 32 cities across the United  States and almost everywhere in Europe as well. 2024 is a very busy year, and we're  thrilled to hit the road again to bring this album to life with our beautiful audience.

Band photos by Kris Parenti


Apr 21 - Malta, MT @ Dark Malta Festival
Apr 25 - Denver, CO @ The Oriental Theater
Apr 26 - Los Angeles, CA @ Catch One
Apr 27 - Las Vegas, NV @ Sick New World Festival
May 2 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
May 3 - San Diego, CA @ The Kensington Club
May 4 - Riverside, CA @ The Hideaway Cafe
May 7 - San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
May 8 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlows
May 10 - Portland, OR @ Coffin Club
May 11 - Seattle, WA @ Substation
May 12 - Vancouver, WA @ Verboden Festival
May 30 - Paris, FR @ Le Petit Bain
Jun 1 - Brussels, BE @ Botanique Orangerie
Jun 6 - Berlin, DE @ Gretchen
Jun 7 - Krakow, PL @ Klub Re
Jun 8 - Warsaw, PL @ Hydrozagadka
Jun 9 - Wroclaw, PL @ Liverpool
Jun 28 - Köln, DE @ Amphi Festival
Aug 8 - Lokeren, BE @ Fonnefeesten
Aug 17 - Matra, HU @ Fekete Zaj
Sep 19 - Bordeaux, FR @ Iboat
Sep 21 - Lausanne, CH @ Les Docks
Oct 3 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
Oct 4 - Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Oct 5 - Newark, NJ @ QXT's
Oct 7 - Richmond, VA @ Fallout
Oct 8 - Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House
Oct 9 - Atlanta, GA @ 529
Oct 10 - Tampa, FL @ Absolution Fest
Oct 12 - Nashville, TN @ The Cobra
Oct 15 - New Orleans, LA @ Santos
Oct 16 - Austin, TX @ Elysium
Oct 17 - Houston, TX @ Etro Nightclub
Oct 18 - San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
Oct 19 - Dallas, TX @ Sundown
Oct 21 - Wichita, KS @ Liminal Evasion
Oct 23 - Kansas City, MO @ VIVO Life
Oct 24 - Saint Louis, MO @ The Crack Fox
Oct 25 - Carbondale, IL @ Hangar 9
Oct 26 - Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit
Oct 27 - Madison, WI @ Crucible
Oct 30 - Detroit, MI @ Small's
Oct 31 - Chicago, IL @ Sanctum Fest
Nov 16 - Dresden, DE @ Coldhearted Festival

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