We had the good fortune of connecting with Souma Mondal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Souma, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think we tend to focus too much on the “risky” part of taking risks and not enough on the rewards. I’m not advocating a “YOLO” approach. What I’m saying is we’re generally quite blind to opportunities that could literally be right there.
For me, taking risks has played a large part in finding new opportunities and personal fulfillment. I was at a well-paying, relatively prestigious job that I absolutely hated. But I was scared to leave. It wasn’t until a co-worker told me “If you don’t like where you are, try making a change. Not doing anything is a guarantee you’ll be unhappy. Take a chance. Your happiness is worth it.”
I quit my job and took a year off to learn new skills. I ended up carving out a whole new career path. What seemed like an impossibility was happening before my eyes.
Same thing with making music. It wasn’t until I started meeting people in the local scene and regularly attending shows that I found myself on stage somehow. Again, what I considered a childhood pipe-dream was happening under my very feet. I went from being frustrated at not finishing music, to making friends and playing shows in other cities.
Looking back, what originally seemed like a scary risk, was actually just the right move for me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I identify as a Beatmaker and DIY enthusiast under the alias suma.wav.
I’m sure I could write multiple theses on the difference between “Music Producer” and “Beatmaker” but it all boils down to the approach. I like to take existing sound samples and re-contextualizing them. It feels like a game or treasure hunt, scouring record stores and the internet for unique sounds.
I’m most proud of my beat tape I released earlier this year. I made all of the beats, designed, printed and cut my own album artwork, and promoted everything myself. It was a surprisingly huge amount of work, but totally worth it. I didn’t really know what “labor of love” meant until now.
What sets me apart as a Beatmaker is my commitment to the community best exemplified by my equipment repair side business. What started out as way to acquire cheap hardware by buying broken and fixing it myself has turned into a community effort. I keep my prices low since my main concern is make sure music makers can use their beloved tools. It wasn’t easy at first, but after hours of practice, watching youtube tutorials, and scouring the depths of the internet for parts I’ve got a system down.
If I’ve learned anything it’s that if something sucks, it’s worth it to find a better way. Don’t settle for something crappy!
I want the world to know that I understand the emotional connection and healing power of music making machines. I myself was pulled out of a deep depression with help from my trusty Roland SP404. Make no mistake, while suma.wav is still around, you can get help for your broken hardware. I’m here to keep the magic alive.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big fan of Deep Ellum. Before heading to a raucous show at Three Links I think a stroll through the Dallas Museum of Art is essential. Brunch at Bread Winners couldn’t hurt either!
Especially this year, I became an avid walker. Trammell Crow park is a great way to get into some nature, get your steps in, and calm the mind.
I always love visiting the giant ‘Eye’ sculpture. It’s so weird, and SO prominent. Such a slightly off-putting delight.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give endless gratitude to the local beat scene in Austin. They’re the ones that took me in and made me feel like I’m a part of the group. It’s not just getting positive feedback on my music, it’s having a support structure, having like-minded folk to hang out with, it’s also getting the opportunity to grow as a music maker. More important than anything, I’ve learned how to nurture and grow new talent. I wish to continue connecting people and providing a platform for expression wherever I am.