Aivi & Surasshu

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Aivi & Surasshu
Years active2013–present
LabelsMateria Collective, Ubiktune
  • Aivi Tran
  • Steven "surasshu" Velema

Aivi & Surasshu (stylized as aivi & surasshu) are an electronic composer duo, composed of pianist Aivi Tran and electronic artist Steven "Surasshu" Velema. They are known for composing soundtracks, including that of Cartoon Network's animated series Steven Universe.[1] The two married in 2015.[2]


The Black Box (2012–2013)[edit]

Aivi Tran and Steven Velema first met in person at GDC in 2012 (before GDC, they had interacted only on Twitter), and discussed the idea of a piano/chiptune hybrid project.[3]

Communicating after the convention, the two collaborated on an independent album project entitled The Black Box, and released on Ubiktune in 2013. The project was a combination of original piano and chiptune music, with several video game covers including "Lonely Rolling Star" from Katamari Damacy.[4] The album was positively received, with Kotaku describing it as "lush, melodic, and well put-together".[5]

Steven Universe (2013–2019)[edit]

The duo were suggested to creator Rebecca Sugar of the animated television series Steven Universe by storyboard artist Jeff Liu, shortly after the release of The Black Box, and were subsequently brought onto the project.[1] The duo made use of leitmotifs expressing each character's personality, which changes slightly depending on the situation.[6] The character Pearl was often accompanied by a piano, Garnet by a synth bass, Amethyst by drums, and Steven with chiptune tones. They worked with guitarist Stemage on some parts of the soundtrack, including the opening for the second season.[1]

The first volume of the Steven Universe soundtrack reached #22 on the Billboard 200.[7] A second volume followed in 2019, peaking at #28 on the Billboard 200, and #12 on the US iTunes chart.[8][9]

The Black Box (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2023)[edit]

On July 28, 2023, for the 10-year anniversary of their first album, the duo released the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Black Box. It includes 7 new tracks and had a limited run of vinyl, with a comic book to go alongside it.

Other projects[edit]

The duo subsequently worked on numerous video game soundtracks including Soul Saga, Ikenfell,[10] Cryamore[11] and Way to the Woods,[12] as well as several interactive Google Doodles.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Thurm, Eric (January 15, 2016). "Dropping Gems: An Interview with the Composers of the Score for 'Steven Universe'". Noisey. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "About". Surasshu.
  3. ^ surasshu (October 2, 2016). "r/stevenuniverse - We're aivi & surasshu, the music composers of Steven Universe. Ask us anything ♫". reddit. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  4. ^ "aivi & surasshu - The Black Box". Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  5. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (November 3, 2013). "Acoustic Piano Meets Chiptunes, And It's Freakin' Lovely". Kotaku.
  6. ^ McDonnell, Chris (July 11, 2017). Steven Universe: Art & Origins. ABRAMS. pp. 161–162. ISBN 978-1-68335-083-5. OCLC 1096293421.
  7. ^ "Top 200 Albums: Week of June 24, 2017". Billboard. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  8. ^ "'Steven Universe, Vol. 2 (Original Soundtrack)' by Steven Universe (American Albums iTunes Chart)".
  9. ^ "Soundtrack Steven Universe, Volume 2 Chart History". Billboard.
  10. ^ tran, aivi (November 16, 2018). "Music by me & @surasshu/ Guitars performed by @Stemage/ Follow @ChevyRay for updates on Ikenfell".
  11. ^ Wejebe, Alyssa (August 29, 2019). "Steven Universe Composer Aivi Tran Talks About Creating Music for Games". Cliqist. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  12. ^ Rizzo-Smith, Julian (June 24, 2019). "Meet The Young Aussie Behind The Most Beautiful Game Of E3". Junkee.
  13. ^ tran, aivi (June 13, 2018). "I'm working on @Cryamore, Ikenfell, and contributing to some other game soundtracks I also composed music for two Google Doodles games (Halloween 2015 and Olympics 2016) with my boy @surasshu".