You are here

Suzanne Ciani | Podcast

Synthesizer Pioneer, Sound Designer & Electronic Music Legend By Caro C
Published June 2020

Join composer and electronic musician Caro C in conversation with Suzanne Ciani, a synthesizer and electronic music legend who has pushed the envelope since the 1960s.

Suzanne provided futuristic sound design for advertising in the 1970’s such as that iconic Coca‑Cola bottle opening sound that many of us will be familiar with. She’s also composed the soundtrack for a Hollywood movie and is a Grammy‑nominated artist.

Suzanne’s career is very much still flourishing as she tours around the world and releases music on Andy Votel’s Finders Keepers label. In this interview, Suzanne talks about her path into electronic music, her deep relationship with the Buchla synthesizer, and how quadraphonic sound is the natural home for electronic music.

Show Notes


Suzanne Ciani in her LA home studioPhoto: Courtesy of !N_KoL//\\B00:00 - Introduction
01:00 - Interlude
01:55 - Greetings
02:17 - Path into Electronic Music
04:11 - Working for Buchla
05:03 - From Pianist to Electronics
05:52 - Adding a keyboard
06:14 - Connecting to analogue
06:38 - Career revival
07:37 - The Theremin
Suzanne adjusts the Buchla in Bolinas Studio.Suzanne adjusts the Buchla in Bolinas StudioPhoto: Sean HellfritschSuzanne Ciani giving Buchla demo.Suzanne Ciani giving a Buchla demoPhoto: Dan Wilton08:53 - Ongoing relationship with the Buchla
10:04 - Learning an instrument over time
11:48 - Travelling with electronic instruments
12:11 - Other instruments - Prophet V, Moog One, Moog Subharmonicon
14:28 - Interlude
14:35 - Natural world sound palette
15:44 - Synthesizing natural sounds
16:48 - Andy Votel, Finders Keepers, Denali
17:45 - Trawling the vault
18:56 - Unearthing past recordings
19:47 - Electronic music lineage, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram
21:01 - Role of females in Electronic Music creation
23:45 - Freedom and control
24:19 - Quadraphonic sound
27:46 - Interactive music
30:17 - Ending

Suzanne Ciani - Biog

Suzanne is a five-time Grammy award nominated composer, electronic music pioneer, and neo-classical recording artist whose work has been featured in countless commercials, video games, and feature films. Over the course of her 40+ year career, she's released 16 solo albums, including Seven Waves, The Velocity Of Love and, most recently, her comeback quadraphonic Buchla modular synth performance recording LIVE Quadraphonic.

She’s provided the voice and sounds for Bally's groundbreaking 'Xenon' pinball machine, created Coca‑Cola’s pop-and-pour sound, designed Atari’s sound logo, played concerts all over the globe, and carved out a niche as one of the most creatively successful female composers in the world. A Life in Waves, a documentary about Ciani’s life and work, debuted at SXSW in 2017 and is available to watch on all digital platforms.

Interviewer: Caro C - Biog

Caro C with headphonesCaro CPhoto: Shirlaine ForrestCaro C is an artist, engineer and teacher specialising in electronic music. She started making music thanks to being laid up whilst living in a double-decker bus and listening to Warp Records in the late 1990s. This "sonic enchantress" (BBC Radio 3) has now played in most of the cultural hotspots of her current hometown of Manchester, UK. Caro is also the instigator and project manager of electronic music charity Delia Derbyshire Day.
Twitter: @carocsound
Instagram: @carocsound

Delia Derbyshire Day Charity:

About the Electronic Music podcast channel

On this channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians and talk about retro and current gear.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Listen on Google Podcasts.
Listen on Spotify Podcast.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.