No Suits Explores the Fluidity of Genre
LA-based sound-evolving group sensation, No Suits maintains an important philosophy within their creative process. The No Suits name evolved from band member Max, addressing the corporate world when he was merely in the first grade and realised that the “suit-life” is not for him. The concept has has brought together fellow band members, Sajan, Reed, and Ed, who uphold the same core value. This transcends deeply into the music that the four create, going against the grain and ensuring that creativity is at the forefront of everyday life.
We sit down with Sajan, Max, and Reed from No Suits and chat about their latest EP Virgin, how Tame Impala has been a major influence in their style, and the state of the music scene in Los Angeles. Ayla Dhyani writes.
What can listeners expect from your upcoming Virgin EP?
Sajan: The unreleased tracks definitely have some elements of “I’m Good.” So, the project has a similar style to the single.
What influenced you the most when you were writing these tracks?
Sajan: Definitely Tame Impala. We’re not trying to sound like Tame Impala, but we definitely love the Tame Impala sound. I’d say if you could mash it into two, it would be like smashing hip hop and Tame Impala together and coming out on the other side. That’s what to expect on the upcoming tracks.
Was it an enjoyable experience for you all? What was the creative process like putting it all together as a group?
Max: It was pretty good. It took us a long time to make all of these tracks. Some took over a year (all laugh). So, we know we’ve put in the hours and we hope everyone enjoys listening as much as we enjoyed making them.
Tell us about ‘No Suits’ as a philosophy. It seems like a pretty important concept for you all.
Sajan: Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been going to school with Max over here since kindergarten and one of the things he told me when we were in only first grade was “when we grow up, we have to be entrepreneurs and never have to wear a suit to work.” That kind of philosophy really resonated with us throughout our lives. Not wanting to do something corporate. So, when we started making music in high school, we maintained that philosophy. It doesn’t just apply to not wearing a suit to work obviously, but also with the music and not following suit; not tying ourselves to any genre or style or formula at all, and just doing what we love.
Absolutely, that’s how the greatest music is made. So, obviously Sajan and Max, you both met quite young, how did the rest of you come together as group?
Max: I met our fourth member, Ed, who couldn’t make it today, in freshman year of college and then we started working together on a bunch of stuff. We have very similar influences. He definitely vibed with the whole “no suits” thing and eventually it just evolved into a very logical collaboration. We met Reed around sophomore year of college, then one day after class we sat down and had a jam in a way where were escaping reality. In that session, Reed just came up with these lead guitar licks and we were just “woah, this guy is pretty darn good” (laughs). So we talked about him joining up, but, he was going to China in the next semester and the semester after that, I was going to France. So we couldn’t really link up until this year.
Reed: Yeah, we just met up and grabbed a beer and it all came together (all laugh).
So, what’s your main jam? Do you all play a few instruments?
Sajan: Well, Reed is the ax-man. I play guitar and keys, Ed plays drums and bass, and Max is basically the visionary (laughs) and plays a bit of everything. He’s the ‘No Suits’ visionary. He’s the one who said “yo, let’s not wear a suit to work” and he’s known that since first grade.
Reed: He’s also our primary songwriter.
If you could collaborate with anyone at this point in time, who would it be?
Sajan: That’s crazy. We literally had this conversation two days ago. I said Jimi Hendrix.
Reed: Tame Impala (all laugh).
Max: I went with Outkast.
And why those artists in particular?
Sajan: I think for both Jimi Hendrix and Tame Impala, they both just have the sound that is completely timeless. So, just being able to make a record that has that voice or guitar riff, it can’t really be matched by anything else. Tame Impala with the drums and the structuring of the tracks, there’s no one else who can really do something like that.
How do you find the music scene in LA?
Reed: The music scene here is kind of non-existent. A lot of great artists come out of here, but as far as a “popping music scene” goes, there aren’t many place to go. But we’ve met some crazy musicians at our school and in that area.
Sajan: Yeah, they’re both [Max and Reed] Music Production majors, so they’re surrounded by a lot of great talent.
Max: Then the scene in Los Angeles is obviously a different story. It’s pretty quiet.
What do you guys anticipate for the future? What’s your next step?
Max: Definitely shows. That’s one area that we haven’t explored completely. We’ve only done one show really, but we have something lined up and that’s something that we’re really going to be honing in on. Especially with the EP release, to make that more of an experience.
Sajan: Yeah, we’ve been really focused on making our sound different according to the ‘No Suits philosophy,’ and we want to do the same thing with our live performances. Make an experience that people haven’t really seen before. So we expect a lot of our presence to be in the live show.
What stimulates your soul?
Sajan: I would say what stimulates me is the emotions that I get through life experiences, and that’s what I reflect in the music I make. The emotion that I get everyday from my friends and my family, I think is what drives the music.
Reed: Have you read The Little Prince? That’s my favourite book because it’s about taming and human connection. Music has opened up so many doors that I never would have gone through. The music is just integral to human connection.
Max: For me, it’s the combination of the emotions and the human connection in music. Just when I hear or see someone genuinely and authentically doing something to the highest degree and going into that true space. To see them close their eyes and do what they love, that’s what stimulates my soul.