Sui Zhen - MusicNSW

Sui Zhen is the folk exotic-pop solo project of Becky Freeman, a musician originally hailing from Sydney and now based in Melbourne. She just released her debut album Two Seas in May 2012, and is about to head on an East Coast album tour in June. We managed to grab Sui Zhen for a quick chat before she heads off on tour…

Describe Sui Zhen in just 3 words?

Colourful, expressive, satisfying

You have just released your debut LP Two Seas and in celebration you are about to embark on an Eastcoast album tour in June. Excited much?!

Excited indeed 🙂

My live set consists of bass, guitar, drums. Straight up! Playing within this conventional format feels somewhat subversive these days – plus you get a sense of my grunge and nu-wave influences.

What else have been up to over the last 12 months? 

I’ve made an EP with Andras Fox in our Fox + Sui project. I’ve also got a bunch of demos ready to flesh out for my next LP. I moved from Sydney to Melbourne, visited family in Malaysia and I have worked as creative producer for web channel

You’re originally from Sydney but relocated to Melbourne. How have you found the transition and how has it impacted your musical career to date?

My time here has been lead by some closed friends i moved down with and for, my work with plus Fox + Sui. I had these solid reasons for making the move and it’s helped me to make a home here quite quickly. I still feel like I have one foot on both cities though as I’m always traveling up for family, friends and band commitments.

Musically I’m doing much the same, I’ve found a comfy venue, made pals with local radio 3RRR and other artists here – which there is no shortage of. Both cities have healthy and active indie  music communities – it’s not so different after all.

If you can support any Australian act who would you choose? 

The Reels, without a doubt.

Aside from your musical endeavours, you also delve into visual art and televisuals. Can you tell us a bit about you’re other creative projects?

A good example is the stop-motion video for ‘Little Frog’. I’d been working with dioramas and felt for some time and I studied film at Uni so it was a natural progression to experiment in that way. I’ve recently launched a ‘Suggestions for Dance Moves’ range of t-shirts, totes and sweaters which you can see here: You might also catch some of my paintings and illustrations on some posters for other bands around town. And I also creative produce for, we document ‘creative process’ through video interviews…

My other band, Fox + Sui is an audio/visual project. We’ve been experimenting with live-VHS-colour-effects mixing and will incorporate this into our live set. I’d love to have enough work for an exhibition one day… one day…

Who are some of your musical inspirations? 

Recently, I’ve been into the album In Debt by Cooley Munson. I love Canino Del Sol by Antena, Beautiful by The Reels. But I’m often inspired by non-musical types too, like David Attenborough, Carl Sagan…

What is your favourite Sydney venue to play at and why? 

The Hopetoun Hotel lives on in my mind. It was like Cheers for musos. I miss it dearly.

What’s on the horizon for the band in 2012? Any upcoming shows?

Sure! My album launch in Sydney is this Sunday, 3rd June at Fbi Social. I’m playing Newcastle Friday 1st June, and more dates can be found below…

Fox + Sui release their EP in the next month and the next Sui Zhen LP is also in the works.

I hope to add some live suggestion for dance moves to my shows too, o’right!

Sui Zhen will be playing with Fanny Lumsden and Carry Nation on June 3 at FBi Social. For gig details head here