CUSP is the collaboration of Finnish composer, guitarist & singer Samppa Siurala and Italian singer and vocal coach Raffaella Monza. Based in Rome, CUSP’s versatile music moves between modes, combining melodic ballad and elements of classic rock, spiced up with contemporary electronic sounds – all performed with big vocals and harmonies. CUSP’s music is composed and played by Siurala, featuring Monza’s unique range and vocal talent.
How did you find each other?
“I had looked for a singer for his music for years in Finland. I was looking for a female singer with an original, versatile voice, professional attitude towards music and, naturally, with a great personality. After audioning a huge number of candidates in Finand, I most commonly ran into the same problem: the singers were not that much interested in making music seriously. Just a hobby, nothing more. So, eventually I thought of a more drastic change: why not look for the singer in Italy, a country I had visited meny times and had fallen in love with. While packing my bags and moving to Italy, I kept on searching for the proper singer. Finally, Raffaella responded to my on-line announcement the summer of 2017. Soon we started trying out whole songs I had ready, but also checking out half ready demos and changing the strucgtures and arrangements of some songs completely.”
“Yes, it was a lucky chance!”
What does Cusp mean?
Cusp is a point where two things emerge at, hence, quite a fitiing name for a duo, because the duo consists of two different persons in many level: man vs. woman, Finnish vs. Italian, a blond vs. brunette etc…
Definitions of “cusp” according to Oxford Dictionaries (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/cusp)
“A pointed end where two curves meet.”
“A point of transition between two different states. ‘those on the cusp of adulthood’”
“The initial point of an astrological sign or house. ‘he was Aries on the cusp with Taurus’”
What are the strengths of the members of Cusp?
“I think we combine the shared liking of strong vocals and beautiful melodies which hook the listener pretty quickly. We also both have the tendency of liking strong groovy rhythms. On the other hand, I come from a past with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, where as Raffaella is more into bluesy and lighter soul music. It seems combining these different background produces quite versatile and interesting music as Cusp.”
“Yes, maybe our differences are what make us stronger.”
What kind of musical influences do you have?
“I listen to almost all kind of music. As Samppa was saying, the music I like to sing the most is black music, such as soul, funk, blues and r’n’b. But I love pop, rock, indie and I love musicals as well!”
“I grew up listening to the 80’s hair metal, in the 80’s. I spent most of my spare time (and then some), with the headphones on and diving into the world of Dio, Mötley Crue, Def Leppard, Whitesnake etc. But, at a very young age I was hooked on the likes of Rod Stewart as we. Up to this day, I notice how I feel most relaxed playing the electric guitar, just playing freely whatever comes to mind, but the overall genre of this free jamming is quite melodic yet heavy. When going through the rough material of Cusp, we think quite precisely the style and instrumentation of the song. We also present our individual ideas to each other by presenting personally important songs on YouTube etc.”
How do you work on Cusp songs?
“So far most of the songwriting has been done by Samppa. He presents me the material he comes up with every now and then, and we go thorugh the material – sometimes just an instrumental part of a song – and think of possible canges of genres/overall feelings of the demos, changes in the tempos may be drastic etc. We also think of the vocal parts, as in who sings which part in each song”.
“I compose music from Heave Metal to very light, electronic pop, but I know in quite early stage of composing a song wether it is something for Cusp or not. All the time I just keep on trying to write as good a song as possible regardless the style at hand, but I always imagine the song/melody sung by Raffaella, in other words: How would this song sound like Cusp”.
What kind of feelings, experiences etc. do you want your listeners to have when listening to your music?
“I see music as a vehicle for escapism. Myself, I listen to music to shut out the surrounding world, to go to a place of my own. I know that this is just one reason for listening to music. I am always delighted to hear from listeners that they have listend to our sons in various occasions, for various reasons, and that they have found comfort in the songs. So, wahtever the reason for people to listen to our music is, I am happy to arrange notes and words in an order that connects with someone.”
“I don’t have an idea. Whatever comes, whatever people feel, I think is right and it pleases me.”
More news are coming up from CUSP, soon, stay tuned!
More information at https://www.facebook.com/cuspduo