Sully is a heavy bass producer who you should be familiar with by now if you frequent our website. A favorite of Liquid Stranger’s Wakaan label, the rising star artist has worked with some huge dubstep names in a relatively short period of time, ranging from PEEKABOO to Champagne Drip to Dirt Monkey and even Wakaan label boss Liquid Stranger. He just released an absolutely diabolical single, “Scuba,” which dropped just a couple weeks back and has been on repeat for us ever since.
Sully and Wakaan also just announced Sully’s upcoming EP, Submersed, out next week, June 13th. The project features collaborations with HIHF favorites Smoakland as well as one of our super-talented HIHF writers and one of Sully’s mentees, IORA. You can read more about their collaborations below in the exclusive interview.
We had the chance to speak with Sully after he rocked the house at Washington D.C.’s club Echostage. The venue has won DJ Mag’s #1 Club in the world multiple times over the years and Sully performed alongside Liquid Stranger, Tripp St, Ravenscoon, Drinkurwater, and Chef Boyarbeatz.
We spoke about the EP announcement and some other exciting things Sully has in the works. He also gives some great insights into his creative process as well as some stellar motivation for up-and-coming producers in the quickly moving world of bass music.
You can presave Sully’s new Submersed EP on your preferred streaming service here and we hope you enjoy learning more about what’s next for this rapidly rising star artist in our HIHF interview below!
HIHF: We did an interview with you in 2019, how has your career changed since then? How has your outlook on producing and DJing changed since then?
Sully: Production-wise, I think the biggest thing that has changed or improved rather is the approach to songwriting and working with a lot of vocalists on these upcoming projects. My EP features two vocalists, on top of that my debut album incorporates a lot of melodic structure and songwriting, more of a focus on songwriting rather than exclusively making good drops and whatnot. It took me a while to get there. I’ve always been a musician but it took me a long time to develop a level of comfort to where I could finally release the material. Looking back at my discography, ”Deeper” was the first time that I crossed that line into the songwriting world and expanded on blending these two worlds that I love.
HIHF: What’s your go-to vice or hobby for when you aren’t in the studio? We spoke with your friend G-REX about watching horror films, Dirt Monkey about Surfing, and Chime about playing Pokémon. Anything fun like that?
Sully: I love cooking- that’s my first go-to. I make dinner every night for my girlfriend and her brother (they both live with me.) On top of that, I do a lot of tutoring and mentoring on the side. I’m bringing up two of my mentees (IORA and Masta Plan) tonight on stage. It’s really rewarding for me to see producers progress. I’m not sure what I would teach, but if I wasn’t a full-time producer I would definitely be a teacher.
HIHF: We loved your track “Scuba”, which was the first single from the upcoming Wakaan EP. What can you tell fans about that project, out in June?
Sully: So, I just finished my album and there were nineteen or twenty songs total as contenders. My team and I were listening back to the body of work and wanted to put something out between the album and now, so this EP is the five most cohesive tracks of those original album contenders.
The title of the EP is Submersed and conceptually the track order starts from the deepest song and it gradually rises to the surface in terms of energy and frequency. As you listen through the project, the tracks become more explosive and emulate rising to the surface. I wanted to start deep and emotional and gradually bring the listener to the surface. Another fun fact is all the tracks start with the letter S!
HIHF: You worked with one of our writers, Noah Sherman, known to the bass music world as IORA, on your new EP. What was that process like?
Sully: So, right from day one with Noah I could tell he had it. I have tutored hundreds of people but Noah had what I like to call the X factor. I think we are all still working on our X factor, but I hear this guy’s production and thought he has ‘it.’ It started out with me just wanting to help out and mentor him, but as time went on, he started showing me some amazing songs like his recent track “Helix.” I’m so proud of him for how far he has come both in the DAW and mentally.
Last September, he brought me this idea, which is now “Shades of Black,” a collab coming out on my EP. It was kind of barebones and a scattered idea but I could envision the final project. There are songs that I develop from zero and get to a hundred chronologically. With that song, I heard the end product as soon as he played it for me, and ended up being a perfect meshing of our two worlds. I was also pushing him to release “Helix,” Ravenscoon actually just opened up with it tonight, to release it before our collaboration came out. I wanted to make sure the listeners knew “this part is Sully” and “this part is IORA.” I didn’t want it to be misconstrued. It’s also awesome he’s working with Wakaan so early, because people need to know IORA as a producer.
HIHF: You just played a set with Champagne Drip and Luzcid, a b3b at Sol Fest, who are two staples of the Wakaan label. How was that set? How does that feel that you have become indoctrinated as another Wakaan staple?
Sully: That was our first official one, but we actually have b3bd countless times. We did it a ton on their Double Vision tour and I’ve done some afterparties with both of them too. Sol Fest was honestly so smooth and one of my favorite sets. Luzcid and Champagne Drip are two friends for life for me. I love and cherish our relationship and I’m lucky to call them friends.
I do feel lucky and privileged to be considered a Wakaan staple at this point in my career. I’m always going to be loyal to this label and its community. I’m not going anywhere, Wakaan feels like home.
HIHF: What’s been your most memorable festival experience so far?
Sully: To this day, Wakaan fest 2019. That was the first festival I played at. Just watching the stage go from a couple hundred to an absolutely packed-out pre-party during my set was the coolest thing ever. The way the crowd reaction went off to some of my earliest tracks like “Dunk” and “Clique” with G-REX – it was really cool to finally get that fan connection. I had only played a couple shows at that point, so this was like the first time my music really landed with a crowd.
HIHF: You’ve obviously worked with massive names like Liquid Stranger and Peekaboo, who are some of your dream collaborators within the dubstep world?
Sully: Skrillex – that’s my top manifestation right now. I’d love to make something dreamy and melodic with CloZee. That’s a surprising one for a lot of people, but she is one of my favorite artists right now. I think she’s incredible and would love to send her some of my new music on the album. GRiZ & LSDream are a couple of other top names that come to mind as well.
HIHF: What about your album? You teased on social media that you just finished writing your first album, what can you tell us about that?
Sully: Most of the album tracks have vocalist toplines on them following a very specific theme. “More is never enough” is the theme. In a nutshell, the album follows a journey of “more is never enough.” What’s really going to make us happy is to learn to love and absorb what we already have.
I’m extremely excited and grateful to have this opportunity to put a body of work out that means something deeper than just twelve tracks thrown together. I had a very large role in the songwriting process so it feels great for that to come to fruition and for it to make sense. If you take time to absorb the lyrics, there is this deep meaning that I hope lands with everyone.
Apart from that, you are going to hear a wide range of genres and styles on this record. There’s dubstep, garage, drum and bass, halftime, and everything in between – Even a guitar-centric track I wrote with my cousin who is a Grammy award-winning studio musician from Nashville. All my influences all wrapped into one – it’s the best expression of what I want the Sully project to sound like.
HIHF: What is one piece of advice you have for aspiring producers?
Sully: If I could go back in time and give myself advice it would be to create something new every day. Not to worry about one idea, especially when you are getting started. you don’t go to the gym as a ‘weak’ individual and bench press 200 lbs in one go. It works by going to the gym, day after day, and exercising yourself and your muscles until you can eventually work up to that point.
In my opinion, the biggest problem producers have is they fixate on one idea they’ve been working on non-stop and don’t make any further progress. Realistically, they should start something new every day, and build over time to find their “sound.” But even when you’ve found it, work on something new every day. It’s a balance you have to be okay with.
Huge shoutout to Sully and his team for taking the time to chat with the HIHF family. Let us know what your favorite Sully track is down in the comments and keep an eye and ear out for the Submersed EP, out next week!
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