Suzanne Santo Interview

Santo’s forthcoming project will be released on her own, fiercely independent, Soozanto Records. Smart move! Santo, along with Jaffe, have ridden a record label roller coaster suitable for Cedar Point. Past partners have included Rounder Records and an odd pairing with Kiefer Sutherland’s (yes, THAT Kiefer Sutherland — who directed a music video for Honeyhoney’s “Little Toy Gun”) now-defunct Ironworks Records.

“I’ve had a lot of disappointing record companies with me and Ben over the years and we’ve learned so much. They can really steer the ship onto the rocks,” she said. “You get a record together that’s really good and then you get the wrong team, you know? What are you going to do? At the end of the day, record companies are a real gamble.”

“Like any relationship, it would be nice to date for a while before signing a contract. Prove that you’re worth it! You should check the pool before you dive in to make sure the pool isn’t really fucking shallow. I’m not bitter. Everything is an experience and, you know, I’ve learned so much at this point,” she continued.
“I ran into an executive from one of the old labels when I was on tour with Hozier and she literally came up and apologized to me. She said she was really sorry for what happened with the last record and said she really dropped the ball. I was over it, but it was nice that she acknowledged it. That really happened! A lot of record executives are just scared shitless because a lot of their jobs are becoming obsolete.”

Releasing the record independently gives Santo the freedom to make the record exactly the way she wants it with no pressure of what producer to work with, promotional strategies, or even how the finish product should sound. However, independent does come with a price. (LITERALLY!)

“I have to fund this myself. That part is a bear. I’m trying to do my best and be really smart about it with my team. So far, so good,” she said confidently. “The single is doing really well and it propels me energetically and financially for the next part of the record, among the other things.”

“I have a great team. We hired a great management team and publicist for all of this. I think you get back what you put out there. I don’t’ think I’ve worked harder in my whole life,” she continued. “The art of digital entrepreneurial endeavors and figuring out innovative ways to make a living from your living room has been a challenge. Part of it is just listening. I have to put my ear to the ground and listen to how the world is changing now and pay attention and hope that I’m releasing music at the right time. It’s a challenge, but it’s been good so far.”

While road-testing new music is absolutely impossible because, well, touring has been shut down the past eight months and won’t resume in the foreseeable future. And, while this writer cringes every time the word “virtual” is used and grew sick of live streams in May, Santo had a great opportunity to stream her own show in September.

“I did it from Hotel Cafe here in Los Angeles and it was just amazing. First and foremost, to play with my band. We hadn’t played together since March. I just enjoyed every second of it,” she said. “It was really weird not having a crowd in front of me but I actually had a blast just playing with my friends, you know? I’m adapting.”

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