Photo by Guy Longstreet
Saun Santipreecha is a solo artist currently based in Los Angeles, CA. He describes his music as electroacoustic/experimental/ambient (though he admits the term ambient has a very wide definition depending on who you’re asking). He says he loves the emphasis on listening particularly to non-traditionally musical sounds and evoking a space that perhaps is unique to this genre. The Penguin Rocks presents this interview with Saun Santipreecha.
How long have you been playing music? What instruments do you play? And is there a story behind your name?
I would say I officially began my solo career with my first solo album in 2019, In a Forest Dark, but of course my journey began much earlier from my roots in classical music as a pianist to my work in film and fashion as a composer.
‘Preecha’ is the name of one of my uncles who unfortunately died in infancy so my mother never got to know him except through this one photograph and the story of his tragic death which has stayed in the family and is a story that really means a lot to me. I asked her if I could incorporate his name into my own last name which, combined with ‘Santi’ means ‘the ability to be at peace’, which as you can imagine carries a lot of significance.
I would say my instruments are the piano, synths, the computer and my Zoom recorder.
Tell me about your latest record. What songs are you most proud of on the record?
My latest record is Dandelye and while I am proud of all the pieces for different reasons (they were designed to work cohesively as one piece, like a multi-movement sonata or symphony), if I had to pick one I would pick 'Dandelye' which shares the name of the album for a reason; I would say in a number of ways it is a culmination of what came before it in the progression of the album, the last piece right after, 'Weeds Along A Tunnel’s Edge', being a kind of epilogue to the album.
How many records, eps, or singles have you released overall? How has the music changed over time?
I’ve put out three solo albums (along with numerous other ones that are scores from my collaborations with various filmmakers). Dandelye is certainly my most personal, and in my humble opinion, my most mature album. I think I finally arrived at a point where I was able to feel secure in my artistic intentions and was able to create an open space for and with it that hopefully can open up the audience for dialogue, both internal and external.
There are of course elements that have remained from my first album to my second to this but I think the biggest change is that I was able to finally move away from thinking in stylistic/genre terms and embrace the space, the sonic womb, I’ve been trying to create where opposites, reflections and refractions can co-exist.
What made it memorable?
My ongoing collaboration with filmmaker Guy Longstreet. He’s been one of my closest friends and collaborators for many years now and I cherish and am challenged with each collaboration for which I’m very grateful and remain incredibly inspired by.
Where do you play shows? Where would you like to play if you could?
I have been primarily a studio artist and have enjoyed my work in the studio, but I do hope to return to performing live when I can. Oh there are many spaces that would be fantastic to perform but it’s more about the audience. I hope that I can play to and for an audience that would be open to going on this kind of journey with the music/sound.
What would be the “next step” that you’d like to see happen?
I have a number of exciting collaborations I’m working on as well as dipping my toe slowly into the next project. It’s still very early days for that so I’m letting the process take its time. I do believe there should be some amount of space in between main projects to give yourself time to change and grow personally and artistically.
Finally, do you play any cover songs. If you do, what artists do you cover? Who would be an artist you haven’t covered yet that you’d like to cover?
I haven’t done any cover songs. If I were to I would try to go with a song/artist that is very different from myself and what I do. I think that’s where the interest lies: approaching something that works great from one angle from a completely different one. It’s also scary and may not work at all but that’s the fun in it as well.