Film and TV

Suburban dissects the music behind upcoming film debut

Suburban is a genre-fluid artist with ambition and vision – they’ve just dropped the soundtrack for their upcoming film.

Suburban has a story worth telling. The thoughtful artist was homeless at 16, experiencing a turbulent variety of households in those pivotal years. The creative’s journey led them to craft music that couldn’t be tied down by genre, or the nagging obligation to “find their [his] sound”.

Since their 2019 debut, DENT, Suburban has kept incredibly busy, creating an album’s worth of material for his upcoming film. The film and album (titled [S]LEEP [A]LL [D]AY, [F]EAST [U]PON [N]IGHT) chronicle a personal battle with bipolar and insomnia in an unforgettable fashion. We spoke with Suburban to find out more.


HAPPY: What was the mantra when creating the album?

Suburban: So, it’s quite a strange one to re-live. At the time, I really was just trying to direct my mania and depression into something productive that I could focus on. I’ve known I had bipolar since I was 12, and by this point, I had a bit of experience managing it. During mania, it’s very easy to be led by impulses, so I wanted to channel the excited, intensely upbeat, party-like energy into music rather than making snap decisions to go wandering or looking for less-than-ideal forms of euphoria or fun.

During depression, I get overwhelmed by having a noisy head that focuses intently on both real issues and formed issues that my mind snowballs into existence, so writing was a way of tunnel-visioning myself into productivity and to focus on each individual thought rather than letting the swarm of noise overwhelm me. It helped to write out everything that was going on, and at the time that was the only real intention.


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HAPPY: How were the visuals formed? Did you have them in mind when creating the music?

Suburban: I didn’t quite have anything profound or larger in mind at the time of creating the songs, which is actually quite unusual for me because I tend to be overly conceptual about everything I do, but this was mostly an exercise in trying to keep myself safe and functioning productively without putting pressure on myself to act normal.

Unfortunately, I still ended up in hospital when my housemates took me there concerned about me being suicidal, and then a mental ward against my will, which is another story I’ll probably write about at a later date. But once I’d returned home and found myself in a better headspace, I realised I essentially had an artistic journal of that time period and how I felt on both sides of bipolar.


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I also suffer from chronic, clinical insomnia since before I can remember, so I decided to title it [S]LEEP [A]LL [D]AY, [F]EAST [U]PON [N]IGHT not just for the “SAD/FUN” acronym that depicts my headspace, but to also show the paralytic nature of insomnia’s mix with depression, and the overpowering dominance of mania.

I spoke with my friend Elder who, along with one of my partners, Monique Orton, helped me conceptualise this into a grander vision and we started tackling each song at a time. It was an extremely lengthy process and I’m so proud of all of us for what we achieved on such a small budget.

HAPPY: Is there a particular track you’re proud of?

Suburban: Housefire is one of my favourites. It opens up the soundtrack and it gives an extremely honest insight into my depressive mind at the time. It’s raw in a way I’ve never been before, I think. The last track Last Drinks (with “Nice Guys” and Narcissists) was from the other end of the spectrum – I wanted to end the film on a more fun note since it had been quite dark throughout, and I had written that song as an attempt to take aim at the “Nice Guy” trope that’s so prevalent online, and the narcissism defence mechanism that I see throughout the music industry in general.


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Suburban: I decided to set it in a seedy, end of night faux-date scenario to emphasise the grossness of it all, and it was tough in the sense that I had to kind of enter the mind of a type of person, in despite, and say things I would never even wish to say. But it was fun to put on a persona, create a different voice and take the piss a little, for lack of a better term!

Interview by Jasmine Kassis

[S]LEEP [A]LL [D]AY, [F]EAST [U]PON [N]IGHT is slated for release September 10th. In the meantime, get to know the soundtrack below: