Cue Points: Surusinghe
This is Cue Points, a series where DJs get granular with current tracks in their sets, giving us the low-down on what makes them work.
Surusinghe’s finesse as a DJ is entirely connected to her own personal desires as a dancer, and the age-old tale of journey over destination. She wants to take crowds someplace else via a choice blend of techno, breaks, menacing bassweight and intoxicating melodies, but never for too long at time – ebbs and flows, anticipation and release, are what she’s looking to create, hear and feel.
Hailing from Naarm (Melbourne) but now based in London, Surusinghe has undertaken several significant excursions of her own over the years – if we’re thinking more literally, as well. On the release front, her first two EPs – Good Girl // Bad Girl and Get Flutey, featuring early year club weapon Likshot – landed in August 2022 and May 2023, with her third already completed. There’s a momentum, it would seem, in her life and studio sessions that brings to mind the propulsive nature of one of her own sets.
Her forthcoming Brake Fluid EP is slated for release this week (29 October) via AD 93 and has been self-described as a “perfect middle ground” between her earlier projects, which tread more inwards-facing and outwardly club-rooted terrain respectively. Here, she breaks down five tracks and DJ tools from her USB, and shares why Likshot is the ideal set opener.
Radio Slave – Stay Out All Night
I absolutely love this track as an opener. I think I played it for the first time at Lost Village in 2022 and have played it 3-4 times since. Having tracks like this in your Rekordbox is so important when it comes to restarting the pace – especially if the DJ playing before is mixing a different genre or a dramatically different BPM. I believe I once heard SHERELLE say, in a DJ workshop, that she loves starting with a really powerful and dramatic opening tune to set the tone for her sets and keep people engaged from the very first moment. Although this track runs the risk of losing people in those first few orchestral moments, once it drops, it always gets a good reaction.
Surusinghe – Likshot
I know it’s cringe to include my own track, but honestly, I find it to be a great tool to also open my sets with. It’s immediately engaging for audiences as it’s probably the track I’m most well known for, but it’s also quite easy to mix into pretty much anything. The intro is mostly hi-hats without much bass, so I’d usually leave all the lows out and beat match the intro to whatever the DJ before me is playing. Then once it comes to the break before the first drop, filter out the other song and then I have the ability to move the BPM to wherever I’d like to start during the silence.
An Avrin – Paticake
I honestly think I play this in every set. This is the perfect DJ tool for me as the track contains all of my favourite elements. I especially love using it when I’ve already got two CDJs playing and I bring this in as a third to crescendo all of the moments to one aligned point. I’ll usually add lots of reverb or echo to the build just so it sounds really chaotic and then maybe leave the ‘Space’ filter on one of the tracks to really add to the noise. Once it hits the drop, I pull down the other two tracks and let the drums come in. I feel like it always surprises the dancers as the contrast between the build and the playful percussion that come in is quite disarming.
Nuckleheads – Raise Your Hands (Chicks with Dicks mix)
This song has such a special place in my heart. It’s pretty rare that I play tracks that are quite this ‘housey’ but I love it so damn much. It also holds a core memory from a rooftop afters in Naarm over the summer with a few of my favourite pals. One thing I always crave and look for in great sets are high and low moments. I think the perfect set is about building anticipation and momentum, and this song does that perfectly. I love playing the full track out and letting dancers really connect with the release you get when the final drop happens after the second verse. I don’t do anything that technically special with it other than add some reverb in places that feel fitting, and I let the melody do all the talking.
DJ Babtr – Las Lomas
This is my perfect go-to track for when I’ve played my closing track and then the promoter or DJ after me says, ‘could you do another?’ It starts with a really simple kick and can mix into basically anything, and then when the synths come in it’s the ideal summery, feel-good and euphoric track. DJ Babatr’s synths are impossible to replicate and always hit so differently. I also like this track because I can slow the tempo down on it a lot so if the DJ after me usually starts a lot slower, I can adjust it to suit them and it still works really nicely.
Brake Fluid is out on 27 October via AD 93