An Interview with Mouse Sucks

The first time I listened to Eugene, my mind was actually blown. The song has many tempo shifts and build-ups, but there’s clarity amongst the chaos. This left me feeling curious, so I started chatting with the artist behind the music.

Mouse Sucks is an ultra-humble, Toronto-born, New York-dwelling career artist. We talked about his past, the creative process, and what he has planned for the future. Read the interview below to get the scoop on Eugene, skipping school to see KiD CuDi, and sliding into DMs.

Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Willow Smith, Steve Lacy, Tyler The Creator, Toro Y Moi are cited as your influences. How have they impacted your life and artistry?
I listen to all of them and many more regularly. KiD CuDi is the G.O.A.T. to me. I used to skip school whenever his albums dropped and would go buy a few copies, then head home and listen to the album on repeat. When Man on The Moon II dropped, my brother Öde and I woke up early and went to the Bape Store for his pop-up shop. He performed on the back of a pickup truck, and everyone ran behind the truck as it drove away with him performing Mr. Rager. Artists like that just have a certain magic to their music that gets people connected and they’ve played a huge role in me even wanting to create.

“It was honestly my greatest concert experience even though the show took place on the back of a pick-up truck.”

Did your parents ever find out about your school skipping for KiD CuDi?
My mom is cool about things like that. She was totally on board for my brother and I skipping school to see CuDi. She wasn’t a fan of me skipping school on other days though. The album-release pop up at the Bape Store almost seems like a fantasy. It was honestly my greatest concert experience even though the show took place on the back of a pick-up truck. I remember stalking blogs the day after to see if they posted about the pop-up and had pictures of me. I found this post on Freshness Mag which is hilarious because my brother is in the background of one picture behind someone in a zipped up Bape hoodie. CuDi’s definitely been an inspiration performance-wise. He doesn’t have to do too much on stage to get people excited. He’s great at owning his space and smiles a lot while performing the hits. 

Describe your process collaborating with Cranklin. How do you two communicate and work together to create music despite the distance? Have you met and worked together in person?
I’ve known Cranklin for a while, and I actually live in New York now. He’s a true evil genius when it comes to making music. A lot of his production already sounds amazing without anyone on it so it makes my job really easy… We actually made “Eugene” in 2018, the day before Christmas. I was at home working on some tracks and playing some of them on Instagram, then he sent me a few beats. I finished about 5 songs with him that night and then we would just meet up at Tony G’s studio during the mixing phase to get it all finished.

How did you and Cranklin meet?
I met Cranklin in the music scene a few years back. We were just doing shows and we had mutual friends making music. Tony G- who mixed “Eugene” being one of them. When I heard Cranklin’s music for the first time, I just thought it was wildly creative and borderline insane. Like he has big ideas and really does a good job of bringing them to life. He’s always kinda reminded me of Toro Y Moi. We waited a while before mixing “Eugene” mostly because we had other things going on at the time. We actually had a previous version of the song mixed, but when Tony G stepped in and said that he wanted to mix the music we had made, that really brought the attention back toward those songs and had us focused on getting them out in the world.  The three of us bounced ideas constantly to tweak what we were working on, and Tony worked his magic on the mixes almost daily for months. We got together for a few major mixing sessions at Tony’s studio, and that played a huge part in the songs wrapping up.

What is Eugene about, and why is it described as “anti-love” and “melancholy”? 
“Eugene” is a break-up song. It’s supposed to encapsulate the stress of being with someone that you know isn’t the right one for you and having to break their heart. Sometimes, you hit a point in a relationship where you are ready for it to come crashing down, but your partner isn’t quite there yet. I think it’s important to follow your heart in that instance and ask for your freedom rather than staying in a relationship you’re not happy in, even if that means dealing with a few tears and being blocked on Instagram. 

Album Art for Eugene by Mouse Sucks by artist by Sarah Cancienne
Album Artwork for Eugene by Sarah Cancienne

How do you engage your creativity, and what does your creative process look like? 
I don’t even know that I have a definitive creative process yet. I always dive right in and try to make something out of nothing, but a song may come to me in many different ways. Sometimes, I just have the music playing and I’m dancing in the back of the room while thinking of melodies. Other times, I’ll have a source of inspiration like I just got dumped or didn’t get accepted to university, and melodies will come to mind that I can run and record really quick. I used to produce all of my own music, and I think that allowed me to get really comfortable with all elements of a song. Now working with producers like Cranklin, I can afford to put so much more time into writing and finding myself on tracks. 

“Hopefully the music that I make can affect kids the way that some of my favorites have affected me.”

What is your background in music, and what do you hope to do in the future?
My whole life I’ve just sorta been around music even though I wasn’t making it. My dad was a DJ, and he would always play records from his time. Later on, my brother became a great musician, and I learned a lot from being around him while he was in the studio or doing shows. Eventually I want to be able to live solely off the music that I’m making with touring and streaming… and whatever comes after streaming. Hopefully that can open up some doors in Hollywood and let me star in a movie as Zendaya‘s love interest… and hopefully the music that I make can affect kids the way that some of my favorites have affected me.

Which records are most memorable from what your father played? 
Car Wash by Rose Royce, Dry Cry by Sizzla, and maybe some Between The Sheets by the Isley Brothers.

What are your favorite parts of songwriting and making music?
One thing I really love about writing music is the opportunity to take any moment in your life and shine a spotlight on it. We can make memories so much bigger by turning those moments into songs that other people relate to. I also enjoy the real process of making music and all that goes into it. The conversations. The bonds that are formed over crafting songs in the studio… but also getting to know yourself deeper when you’re in the studio by yourself and finding new creative ways to tell stories.

What advice would you have for future music producers and artists?
I would tell future artists to fully invest in themselves and follow their dreams as early as possible. If you think you love doing something, you should try to put yourself in a position to do that for a living. I always wish that I had been making music earlier in my life. If your’e making art in high school, you have a built in fanbase already. You want to be able to foster those talents when you’re around all your peers on a daily basis and just keep growing from there.

What are your thoughts on online dating and love? 
I’m more of a DM slider-inner on Instagram or Twitter. The online dating apps aren’t really my speed yet but I’m sure there’s bare tings on there that I’m missing out on. I often wonder if my soulmate is currently swiping away on Tinder and I’m just not there to get my chance….. I’m sure love finds us temporarily wherever we are though.

Follow Mouse Sucks: Soundcloud, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Spotify.