Hailing from Manchester, Suhk, the singing NHS doctor, is returning with his new folk-oriented single ‘Nightingale’. A tribute to his colleagues in the health service, Suhk (S) discusses the challenges facing nurses and doctors during the COVID pandemic. We had a chance to speak with this talented singer about ‘Nightingale’, his upcoming EP Falling Asleep with the TV On and doing weird things.
OSR: What is the backstory behind ‘Nightingale’?
S: ‘Nightingale’ was a song that came together pretty quickly. It was near the start of lockdown and life was changing on a daily basis at work. COVID-19 was developing and I could sense the panic and worry gripping doctors and nurses. I was hearing more and more stories of nurses not seeing their own kids to try and protect them and I remember being really affected by that. You could see a lot of conflicting emotions. I think it was that conflict between these internal emotions that I found really interesting; that internal conflict is what ‘Nightingale’ is about. For the majority of nurses, they just got on with it. The didn’t let the fear stop them from doing their job. That’s pretty amazing.
OSR: Can you tell us about your upcoming EP Falling Asleep with the TV On?
S: The EP was all written in the first few weeks of the pandemic. The songs are a product of the time they came out of. It’s about panic, escapism, cabin fever, the need for social interaction and each other.
It was a very different recording process. I worked on my bits at home and then worked remotely with John Simm (The Drum Tamer) to piece them together. We turned the whole thing around in just over a month.
OSR: How do you think the COVID pandemic will influenced the future of the music industry?
S: The live stream has become a much more common thing and that’s going to stay. Let’s face it, if you can have an audience watching you from all around the world in one location it’s going to shake things up a bit. Live music is changing; technology is fuelling that. The big venues will be okay because touring bigger artists will still attract that kind of number of people. I worry for independent artists though and the smaller venues. I hope there can remain enough room for both.
OSR: How would you describe your sound?
S: I would say it’s a fusion between classic songwriting, indie-rock and pop-rock. Spotify thinks I’m alternative-folk. Huffington Post called me indie-pop. If you hear just one of my songs, you’ll likely say something rather different to someone else who hears a different song. Film directors don’t make the same film again and again and as an artist I think it’s important to keep things fresh.
OSR: What is your creative process?
S: I start by just playing something normally at piano or guitar and come up with a basic framework or skeleton, then build from there. I think the key is not to let your brain get in the way and learn to trust the ideas that click with you and discard the ones that don’t.
OSR: Can you describe ‘Nightingale’ in a single sentence?
S: It’s a melodic encapsulation of the mental state of the NHS hero.
OSR: How do you think people can support NHS workers at this time?
S: I think the important thing is remembering that each and every one of them has their own lives and their own needs. A lot aren’t paid particularly well for what they do. Support them to do the best possible job they can do. This might mean valuing them in society more as a whole. It might mean supporting them in their hour of need. Don’t worry about the clapping.
OSR: How do you think the COVID pandemic will affect society in the future?
S: Hopefully not too much. It’ll pass eventually.
OSR: If you could visit one planet, which would it be and why?
S: I really wouldn’t want to leave Earth. If I had to visit somewhere, although it’s not a planet, it would be the moon. Mainly because of the view.
OSR: What is the weirdest thing you do when you’re totally alone?
S: I have a tendency to watch debates on YouTube. There’s nothing quite like watching people not listening to each other.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?