1: Hyperactivity is my thing.
2: I can’t live without coffee or gum.
3: I’m an OCD person and I kinda like it.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Annie Clark and moments of silence. Annie Clark is kind of a personal goddess to me. I started to learn guitar and to experience new things because of her. She’s a timeless teacher for me, a true genius. And silence…not much to say about that. I’m a countryside girl, maybe that’s the reason, my head starts thinking about a lot of things at the same time. What can I say? It’s a strange thing, I know.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Since forever. When I was a baby my dad and I had a really cool routine. He put me down on an old carpet to listen to 2-3 hours of music per day – everything from classical country, vinyls and classical jazz from the 50’s. Everyday! I guess it triggered something inside of me. When I was 5 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to learn to play drums. I was really really young and the teacher didn’t let me join the class because of my age. When I was 12 years old I started to play classical piano and guitar but I quit after six months. I never liked theory and strict postures. At 17 years old, I came to Lisbon to attend jazz school, I entered into the double bass and voice programmes. It was really really cool but I quit three years later. I tried to learn the electronic stuff by myself and I always had bands with my high school mates before coming to Lisbon.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um
St. Vincent – Ratsliveonnoevilstar
Hank Williams – Beyond The Sunset
Léonore Boulanger – Feigen Feigen Deradoorian – The Expanding Flower Planet
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Nils Frahm, Architecture, Art and good taste everywhere.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
And old farm near my house! I use to spend a lot of time there. It’s incredible!
Usually, there is no one else there and that’s why I love it. I’m kind of a freak and I like being by myself most of the time. That old farm is the perfect place for me to read a book, to inspire me to write new songs, to talk to myself in my head about so many subjects. Silence is my best company and I find comfort in this space. It inspires me a lot.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I can’t even imagine that. What a depressing world!
7. What was the last record/music you bought? Andy Stott – Too Many Voices
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
It seems impossible to me but Annie Clark from St.Vincent, without a doubt. Annie has been my biggest inspiration since I was 11 years old. I discovered her work and I remember thinking “When I grow up I want to be like her.”
It was thanks to her that I began to explore the world of loops and the experimental scene. I have all her CD’s and vinyls. I guess it’s my healthy addiction.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Nice question. I love to play everywhere. Each place is special to me in a different way and I learn a lot from every place I visit. My favorite gig as a spectator is St Vincent at Vodafone Mexefest in 2011, if I’m not mistaken about the year.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Very important. It’s another half of my creative process. I’m working on new things in the visual field of technology and maybe in the next year I’ll show up with some new weirdo stuff.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I don’t have any siblings. I’m an only child but I have my friends that are as close to me as brothers and sisters. They support me and they’re honest with me about what they think I should do. I love that.
Surma is playing live at DICE Conference and Festival on 2nd November 2018.
Photo © Hugo Domingues