SUSU is a “one and only” type band. The smoldering New York City duo features firebrand female lead vocalists and songwriters Liza Colby of The Liza Colby Sound and Kia Warren of Revel In Dimes. Both are rock n’ roll provocateurs of the highest order. Currently, they seduce and spiritualize on their premiere 5 week European Tour featuring Joey Wunsch, Ronnie Bruno, and Connor McClelland of the raucous and energetic NYC trio Dry Clean Only.
There is a tribal sensuality that oozes from the grooves of SUSU songs. West Indian ancestry, bold femininity, and explosive sexual energy course through a swirl of sound that spans smoldering Peter Tosh and King Tubby-inspired vamps, monster Nina Simone silky sophistication, Ted Nugent-style riffage, and Tina Turner swagger.
The embers of this rock n’ roll wildfire were first stoked three years ago when the Liza Colby Sound and Revel In Dimes merged as Revel Sound for select NYC shows including a coveted residency at legendary haunt The Rose Bar at Gramercy Hotel, a jaw dropping performance at Webster Hall, and an exclusive appearance at sought after artist enclave The Surf Lodge. “It’s been organic. We kept growing as creative partners and slowly discovered the duality in our power of writing together. When NYC based Ilegal Mezcal granted us the opportunity to record, it just seemed like the logical next step,” Kia says. Liza chimes in: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and we certainly didn’t realize how much we needed each other. To see another woman of color fronting a rock band, and consider her a contemporary set a powerful, positive example for us. We all need to see women supporting each other.”
The name “SUSU” is a tribute to Kia’s Jamaican roots and Liza’s Caribbean heritage. SUSU is a Patois term loosely meaning to create “a chatter around something” which is indeed what the group will do with its incendiary soul-rock revue.
SUSU is centered on the creative interplay of Kia and Liza as singers, performers, songwriters, and complementary creatives. Liza affirms: “With us, everything happens in an telepathic way, it’s intuitive who takes the top and who takes the bottom harmony.” Kia and Liza sing together seamlessly, shifting positions with unplanned ease, and the interlace of the tonality of each’s voice stacks together eerily perfect as if two have become one. “SUSU = US US.”
Liza comes from a hard rockin’ psychedelic sensibility, and Kia offers a sweet contrast with her slow-burn bluesy indie-rock aesthetic. SUSU songs traverse rock and soul with eccentric lysergic twists. The band counts The Pointer Sisters, Dr. John, Betty Davis, Captain Beefheart, and Roky Erickson as inspirational.
Lyrically, Liza and Kia explore a variety of political, personal, and emotional arcs. “We aren’t shy about being black women in rock n’ roll,” Kia says, with a hearty laugh. “People can take away what they want but there is an aliveness, an awareness, and a spirituality to these songs that are both timely and timeless.”
SUSU brought their New York City groove to Niles City Sound Studio in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas to record their 5-song debut EP, Panther City with producer/engineer/drummer Josh Block (Lola Kirke, Leon Bridges, Nicole Atkins) along with a posse of ace musicians who brought SUSU songs to life in the studio. Collectively, SUSU’s studio musicians have played with Ben Harper, Chris Stapleton, Billy Gibbons, Ari Hoenig, Miranda Lambert, Derek Trucks, John Fogerty, and White Denim, among others.
For Kia and Liza, SUSU is a powerful addition to their lives both onstage and off. “We work really well together,” Liza acknowledges. “This is not the end of the Liza Colby Sound nor the end of Revel In Dimes.” Kia adds: “I can remember our first show, looking across at Liza and watching people respond to the music in real time. From there a strong energy wave rippled further and further out and now; here we are, SUSU.”