“At the end of the day, I’m here to make people feel something”
In case you’re not familiar, meet Sueco.
If you are, you will be aware that William Schultz is responsible for some of the most insatiable and interesting tracks to come out of the recent mainstream pop-punk resurgence. But this isn’t a case of jumping on a sound because it’s a hot topic. This is an artist who has lived and breathed alternative culture his whole life, whilst experimenting with different musical styles along the way and is now figuring out how to bring everything he has loved together as one joyous sound. And with his debut album ‘It Was Fun While It Lasted’ set to drop on March 04, he is ready to show the world what he is truly made of.
To find out how we have reached here, we chatted to the man himself, talking in all of the ups and downs that have led him to where he is today looking towards a thrilling future…
What was the band that you first remember falling in love with?
“The first album I ever bought with my own money was ‘American Idiot’ by Green Day. So it was Green Day for sure. I was maybe 10 or 11 years old. That was the first time I remember thinking, ‘Holy shit, music like this exists’. I grew up in a Christian household, so I had to hide that stuff. You know, ‘Jesus of Suburbia’, I don’t know how that would have gone down. Then in alternative music, the next big thing for me was ‘The Downfall Of Us All’ by A Day To Remember. That was the first band when it was getting heavier, once again like, ‘Oh my god, music like this exists’. Then from there, I got into shit like early Escape The Fate, asking Alexandria, Emmure, all that remains. I noticed that I kept on getting into heavier and heavier shit. As a teenager, I was super pissed off and angry at the world, and listening to that music and making that music was a big release for me. The first bands I was in, I was always the screamer. They were pure chug bands.”
How did you grow into wanting to be an artist and making it your life’s work?
“I decided I wanted to make music and pursue this life when my mum passed away from breast cancer when I was 15. It was a terrible time, and I was in a dark place. Where I found release and comfort was through music and the creation of it. I wouldn’t know how I felt until I wrote it down in song, and it all made sense. I just wanted to help people in how music was helping me. You don’t realise how much events like that change you until way in the future. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to take a step back, so working my way through those feelings in my music was such a huge help.”
Where did the rap influence on the music you wanted to make come from?
“Because of where I grew up and the people I was around, I was always listening to rap music and heavy music. The second album I ever bought after ‘American Idiot’ was Lil Wayne. I got into both at the same time. The rock music was stuff that I would listen to alone or with the friends who were actually into that, and the rest of the time, I would be listening to rap the test of time. I didn’t focus on making that type of music until I started making beats. I started making beats when I was 17. My first ever instrument was the drums, so when I moved to university and wasn’t in bands anymore, I took to my laptop for my creative expression. So I would be recording rappers and then thought, ‘I have all of these beats, so why don’t I try to rap too?’”
Was there a moment when people were noticing what you were capable of as an artist?
“That didn’t come until 2018, on a grand scale at least, when I went viral for making beats out of strange things on Instagram. But on a smaller scale, as an artist, I always felt more alternative. It was more me as a producer in the rap world, and the whole cliché that I blew up around was through me being the beatmaker rather than a vocalist or anything like that.
“When it came to actual songs, ‘fast’ blew up in 2019. We knew it was a good song, but we didn’t think it would go that crazy. We rode that wave, though, and it felt good for the time being. But most of the music that I was putting out on my SoundCloud was more alternative-based than that track. A lot of guitars, a lot of singing, and many sad songs. I do like the sort of sound that ‘fast’ is, and there is a time and a place for turning up. At the end of the day, I’m here to make people feel something, and turning up and getting crazy is definitely feeling something.”
How did you build from there then?
“Many people told me that I should keep making stuff that sounds ‘fast’, and I could have easily done that. But I wanted to show people that there is a whole range of things that I am into. In the short term, I don’t think some people have got what they expected because of where I started, but in the long term, it has allowed me to show that I have always been like this.”
It must be odd to all of a sudden expect what you should be based on a couple of songs, even though you know how big your tool belt is…
“I think that’s what’s cool about music and being an artist right now. It wasn’t like this a couple of years ago, but genres don’t mean anything anymore. Back in 2019, if you were a rapper or a rock star, that’s what people expected of you. But right now, you look at Doja Cat and Lil Nas X, and you go, ‘What is this?’ It’s so vast and pulled from all over the place, and now one artist can have as many sounds as they want on one record, and people don’t care. They like the artist because they like the artist.”
Would you say that being in an environment such as LA, a place where you were born and have grown up, has allowed you to blossom more in that way?
“It’s an environment that is conducive to that. When you’re around the right people, it helps. But at the same time, if you’re always driving forwards and looking for the next thing, it can also fuck you up. You can’t keep on running on fumes forever. You need to stop and get gas.”
So now that we look at where we are now, and with the tracks, you have released in the last year. Where did diving into the alternative sounds you were raised on really come to the forefront for you?
“It had been something that I had been trying to figure out forever. How do I take every single part of who I am, not just a certain aspect, and put it all in? And that’s what these past few singles have been about, me trying to figure that out. And I feel like I have been starting to figure it out. It all comes to a head with this new album. But the resurgence of this type of music, and band-based music, has helped to open the door and allowed me to do this. But it all comes down to fully embracing what and who I am.”
It’s interesting when you consider what that resurgence has been like on a mainstream level, yet you have always been here and loving this sound and this scene…
“Yeah, absolutely! It’s always been a part of who I am. And it’s sick to see it all coming to fruition. I feel like access to everything has helped people understand this world more. Even when you think of how things were ten years ago, it would be YouTube and Limewire in terms of online, but ultimately you would still be going and buying a CD. You were committing to listening to this thing forever. Now you can try all of these different types of flavours. And also, when you look at what people like Juice WRLD were doing, they were making punk songs but with trap beats. So it’s been slowing integrating itself back in, and that’s awesome.”
When you consider ‘It Was Fun While It Lasted’, what do you feel the common thread throughout it is? What do you feel as though a full body of work represents for you and where you are right now?
“Around the middle of last year, I became sober. The album is not about that, but there has been an insane journey through the last two years, from the moment that ‘fast’ blew up, where I haven’t had any idea what the fuck is happening. Everything has been so amazing, but at the same time, so much of my life was falling to piece around me as well. The sobriety felt like the end of a chapter. I’ve been through toxic relationships, money problems, all of this shit. So with this album, I wanted to turn a page and make sure that the page had turned over. And I tried to encompass all of that with as many sounds as possible.”
How does it feel to consider how much people have resonated with the situations and stories you have presented in the songs you have already released? When you see how diving so deep into that is helping other people understand their own situations?
“It’s the reason I do this in the first place. Seeing that people see that and it’s helping, and it means something to them is all I’ve ever wanted, and it’s cool to see. It may sound corny, but it warms my heart.”
When you look back over the journey you have been on and the journey ahead, what would you say you are most proud of? From the kid hearing ‘American Idiot’ for the first time to being on the verge of releasing your debut album…
“I’m most proud of the fact that three years ago, I was broke, living in the back of my dad’s house and had 300 followers. I had no money and no idea what to do and how I would do it. But somehow and someway, we have been able to transfer from the situation into everything that has happened since. This still feels like the beginning because of that. If you keep on working, you can make absolutely anything happen. It can take a while, but you keep pushing and keep digging, and you can find yourself.”
You can pre-save ‘It Was Fun While It Lasted’ right HERE