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Interview with Sumy a.k.a. Krishnalla

From Holland, Amsterdam came Surinam born Sumy (real name Kenneth Sumter) who released his first 7 inch single on his own Sumy Record label in 1979. His 'Funkin' In Your Mind' from 1982 on Philips Records is a wicked semi-instrumental monster with pounding synthbass, irresistable guitarloop and includes a nice rap. Sumy released an LP in 1983 entitled 'Tryin To Survive' on his own private 'Galaxy' recordlabel. After 1986 Sumy performed under the name 'Krisnallah' and today he is still producing music and performing on stage. Read the interview with Sumy about his funky records. To listen to the interview click here.

Hello Sumy, welcome to How are you doing?


Hello to you Ed and all your listeners. I'am doing really fine, I'm doing fine.

You are one of the few true funk artists from Holland and relatively unknown to most soul and funk lovers. Let's change that up a bit. Please tell us about your roots and musical influences. What does SUMY stand for?


Sumy stands for 'Surinam Baby' a nickname given to me by my friends. My roots in musical inspiration lies in artists like Al Green, Buddy Miles, Cameo, James Brown and for the high voices Stylistics, The Floaters and various female artists that have very high voices like Minnie Ripperton that I like so much. So combine all those voices together, yeah you get some formula.

Your first single 'Going Insane' came out in 1979 and is quite freaky stuff already. I guess you were musically active before that. When did you start making your own tracks?


I wasn't musically active, profesionally, it was more of a hobby playing on selfmade instruments in Surinam. In 1979 I bought my first real Hammond organ, a Rhodes piano and a PPG synthesizer, wrote my first song 'Going Insane', went to a recording studio and the musicians at that time, of that studio, became my first band and I called that band the 'Freaky Thangs'.

Sumy - Going Insane (Sumy Records 1979)

Then came the 80's. That must have been an exciting time for you. You told me you were experimenting a lot with synths.
It was also the time you founded your own record label Galaxy Records. Can you tell us what was going on in those early years and what inspired you to make tracks like 'Funkin' In Your Mind'. How did you manage to get a contract with Philips Records? Did you just send your demo to them?


The 80's.....My song was first played on the radio by a famous pop disc-jockey Theo Stokkink. He was so fascinated because I had financed my first record myself and on my own label, Sumy Records, without the help of the multinationals. My only problem was distribution. So I called Mr. Martin Schuitema at Philips and he signed me on a licence deal so I could keep all control, full control over my own music, ownership over my mastertapes. Then I made 'The Funky G' and 'Funkin' In Your Mind' because I was the only funk artist, at least popstar coming for Philips at that time for Europe.

Sumy - The Funky 'G' (Philips Records 1981)

Did you know other artists in Holland like The Limit, American Gypsy, Blue Feather, Chaplin Band, Eddie Conard, to name a few.


I've known a few artists in Holland like the American Gypsy yes. I hired Steve Clisby from the American Gypsy to play some keyboards for me on 'The Funky G'. Further I was then too young to be taken serious by other musicians in Holland because I was too arrogant when I was trying to tell them I was born a superstar, so I'm going to the top of the world straight from Surinam. I was trying to tell them that I was going to be a superstar and they didn't believe me! And now look what happened......I'm in the FunkEd Show :).

Sumy - Funkin' in your mind (Philips Records 1982)

Hehehe that's right :). Now, your album 'Tryin to Survive' came out in 1983 on your own Galaxy recordlabel. With just 2 slow songs on it, it's a very funky LP. Especially 'Soul With Milk' and 'Goodthingman' are stand-out tracks with sick synthbass and drums. Did you have your own studio and did it take long to record the album?


I didn't have my own studio in the making of 'Tryin To Survive'. I used Juno 60, the first Roland synthesizer and the Moog Liberation on those songs on 'Trying To Survive'. It didn't take a long time to record this album because I knew what I wanted before I went into the studio because in those days time was money so......I had to do everything at home before I went in and did the songs.

Sumy - Tryin To Survive LP (Galaxy Records 1983)

Do you remember what other equipment you used to make all that wicked music?


The equipment I have used; Juno 60, a lot of Fender Rhodes Piano (Mark 1), a Hammond X5, PPG 1020 synthesizer from Germany, the Oberheim OBX 8 synth, Moog Liberation, TAMA drums and a Gibson Ephiphone guitar (not the expensive one).

Sumy with his musical gear

How was your music received? Did it get some airplay?


My music was always received with joy. People said it was before its time and it gave me many live performances. 'Cause a band playing funk or dance music, is always a band that gets work. You always get the GIG........because you're funky.....

Sumy and The Freaky Thangs live in Amsterdam

Since 1986 you go by the name 'Krisnallah', you still make music and give live performance.
What does Krisnallah mean?


Looking back to 1986: I decided to use my first name Krisnallah because Sumy is an alias, nickname.
And the people of Surinam will give me a statue after I am dead because i have proven they can have
one superstar...child, a main leader forever ya know if you are looking what is happening these days.
And I am born out of a mixed DNA you know I got chinese, india, europe, africa and some 30%
native american blood, so I am, what they call me, a mix, a 'Moksi' of something in Surinam.

Sumy, you're a funny guy and I admire your music (also because i'm from Holland as well i guess :)
Thank you very much and keep funkin' our minds! Anything you want to say to your other fans?


To fans, I hope i have......I'm just a child that believes that as long as we love and make music as
DJ or musicians, 90% of the world is safe, yes 90%. And I am not ashamed to be a music junkie.
So be a junkie with me, love music and don't forget....I am funkin' in your mind!


May, 2006

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