Meet ZUSO – the project from Australian producer Gabriel Cuenca, who is crafting an invigorating progressive/atmospheric-house sound that can be likened to a mix between Rufus Du Sol, Lane 8 and Flume. We caught up with ZUSO to chat about the journey so far and dive into his production processes.

What’s been the ZUSO musical journey so far?

When I was 7 I began playing piano, studying the “Suzuki” music method, and at that time had very little knowledge of the electronic music scene. That all changed during high school when I fell in love with Flume’s 2012 self-titled debut album, and from there his curiosity for electronic music started to take on a life of its own. Fast forward and the past year has been pretty big for me, signing with Sweat It Out’s sister imprint LOVE CLVB and really growing and evolving as an artist. I came through the Release Music course at Liveschool a few years ago and that just really gave me the release platform to dive deeper into different styles and genres. I feel the past couple of years I’ve slowly begun to discover my sound which people seem to really be connecting with.

Totally! From there then who are your biggest inspirations & why?

I’d say what got me into making music was that 2012 Flume album – it just really peaked my curiosity for electronic music as a whole. Nowadays I’d say my inspirations have shifted a bit, guys like Rufus Du Sol, Lane 8, Tourist are artist’s I really admire and feel they’ve really inspired me to shape my sound today.

What does the ZUSO production process look like? 

I usually start with a chord progression or melody and build my track up from there. Once I have the fundamentals down pat in my chord progression, I usually slowly start to add leads, bass, plucks, melodies, that’s where it can get super creative. I’ll then add a beat to these and build up from there. I try not to work on too many things at once otherwise I can get distracted and never really finish anything off, so I’d work on 2-3 projects at a time as the absolute max.

Your tunes are filled with beautiful atmospheres & ambience – what’s your approach to creating these soundscapes?

Atmospheres and textures are a big part of my sound. For me music is always about an escape in a way, so I kind of like to picture myself being in a certain setting or place. That really allows me to tap into those feelings or emotions and that’s where a lot of my inspirations come from, I guess just vivid imagery helps to bring my songs to life in a way. I love making music and am always trying to evolve my sound. Bit of a gym junkie and love just being out in nature really!

What was the biggest game changing moment for you when it comes to production?

I guess if you have an idea, stick with it! You’ve obviously come up with it for a reason and if you just stick with it and keep plugging away, eventually it will all start to fall in place. That’s not to say every idea is gonna work, but I feel just having that mindset helps overcome writers block in a way and allows for a more confident, free-flowing experience.

Liveschool Produce Music 2022 Applications Open

You mentioned the Release Music course – how did you find that experience?

I think overall it just provided me with such a more comprehensive insight into music production. Overtime, I developed the skills needed to make my own music and that just provided me with a platform to grow an audience and eventually start releasing the music I wanted to be releasing. Super fun experience, everyone’s really friendly and supportive, the trainers are awesome and it’s definitely helped me in my production.

What’s next for ZUSO!

Well, we have a new release coming out on the 12th of June which I’m pretty excited about! Also been working on a ton of new tracks, and doing some work with a few local vocal artists that I’m pumped about. Have some bigger tracks that are scheduled for the end of the year as well and hopefully looking to play some more gigs in the future. Heading off to Europe for a few months as well so pumped to see what opportunities lie over there!

Stuck on releasing your finished tracks? Check out the Release Music course here.