Bengali-British DJ, producer and rapper Surya Sen shouts out the music that made him, following the release of his new single 'Care Less', featuring Mafro.
Words Liam Cattermole (@liam_cattermole)
As rap continues to embed itself as a cornerstone of British music, the skill has become a universal language. Intertwining with other genres at a rapid pace, Surya Sen is an artist from North London who epitomises the intersection between hard bars and big beats, layering deep vocals over house music heaters.
Part of the infamous Daytimers collective, who are leading a new wave of British Asian talent, Surya is one of many artists taking control of their heritage and how it's perceived in the landscape of arts and culture. His pseudonym shares the name of a leading Indian revolutionary who was influential in the country’s independence movement against British rule in India.
Although Surya prefers to stay anonymous, there’s nothing aloof about the slick Detroit grooves and Louis Vega-esque 4/4 that defines his productions. Filled with social commentary, his debut project, ‘At What Cost?’, is an enthralling account of a lockdown night out in London. Simultaneously calling out the government’s hypocrisy and acknowledging humanity’s innate hedonistic desires, the tape sees collaborations from close friends Bone Slim, Di-Vincent, FELA.Mi, sweetestcape, LILO LI and Emmz.
‘Care Less’ is Surya’s latest single, repping a deeper and more sonorous house beat - something comparable to The Manor’s inherent playfulness. Impossible to pin down, we got the hip-house heavyweight to make us a mixtape of his life, featuring tracks from Jay-Z, Pete Rock, Snoop Dogg and more.
Hey Surya. To kick off the questions, what was the last song you streamed? No cheating.
'BedRock' by Young Money and Lloyd.
Taking it right back, can you remember the first tune you were obsessed with?
'Mambo No. 5 (a Little Bit of...)' by Lou Bega.
Is there a certain song you associate with growing up in North London? If so, why?
'Who Are You?' by Chip.
Your latest single, ‘Care Less’, is an undeniable party starter that promotes listeners to believe in themselves and project positive energy. When you’re feeling low and lacking belief, what song gets you back on track?
'Takeover' by Jay Z.
Multi-instrumentalist MAFRO features on the track. If you had to pick one of his personal productions for readers to indulge in, which one would it be and why?
'Bloom' (feat. Ell Murphy). I love the 2-step feel, and it reminds me summer is coming!
As your interest in genres has developed, you’ve branched out to different dance-based sounds, especially ones influenced by Detroit and Chicago house. Firstly, what’s your current favourite Detroit house song?
Ash Lauryn - 'Let's Get The Dub', featuring Stefan Ringer.
And to follow up, what’s one Chicago house record that you’d love to sample in the future?
Earth People - 'Dance', the Kerri Chandler remix.
Pete Rock is another massive influence on you. What’s one Pete Rock production you wish you made?
Pete Rock / Center of Attention - 'Microphonist Wanderlust'.
What’s Surya Sen’s karaoke song of choice?
Justin Timberlake - 'Signs' featuring Snoop Dogg.
To wrap up, what’s one song from your discography that everyone should listen to?
'So I Just' featuring my good friend Bone Slim!