[MAGAZINE] SUNNI COLON
There’s a place in California that’s always warm and cloudy. It’s both beautiful and dirty. Refined and raw. It can be as sensual and inviting as a James Turrell designed room, as brightly intricate and layered as a Murakami painting, or as bare and thought-provoking as a Daniel Arsham sculpture. It is in this metaphysical space that you will often find Sunni Colón meditating.
Inside this complex space, Sunni Colón Thierry Tetsu, or Kayce (if you know him like that) receives inspiration for the melodies and words that have his name buzzing in the offices of ever cool independent record label, Kitsuné plus Roc Nation. Although he classifies them as demos due to a lack of proper funding to mix and master them at the time, his tracks have all the makings of a new timeless genre of music; picture Gorillaz and Musiq Soulchild working on a mixtape of original music together for their first crush in high school. Sunni’s musical compositions aren’t tailored for moments like a first dance at a wedding or making love, but rather capturing the emotions behind those moments so they can fit into any of them. Speaking of his music’s relation to sex, he says, “”I think [my music is changing the taboo of sex]. I think it will. I make love to all of my music. My music simulates sex and sex simulates my music.”
Sunni has taught himself every instrument he’s had a chance to get his hands on, facilitating his experimental growth from a beatmaker at the age of 13, to now composing his own symphonies of love at 23. Living alone and broke since 17, Sunni resorted to selling “mostly weed” to pay for his undergraduate civil engineering and ethnic studies degrees. Under the stress of barely getting by on foodstamps, his melancholy and cryptic music reflected the mental and physical strain. But nonetheless, he continued to hone the skill of translating his emotions into meaningful music, repressing his most creative ideas until he was “stronger.” Now, instead of loops, he’s graduated to developing living and breathing entities whose duality and emotions echo in your mind. If you listen to ‘1000 Roses’ with your eyes closed, the distant synthesizer helps you visualize falling rose petals, while the descending piano chords and cutting string melodies act as the thorns. On ‘Jezebel’, you can picture the underwater piano theme congealing into the life blood of a robot that’s pumped throughout, by a mechanical heartbeat pulsing from a TR-808.
Photos by Don Lim.
Words by Bryan Hahn.