Keeley Connolly caught up with Ben from SAFIA ahead of their upcoming album release. 'Internal' which is due out September 9th. This will be the highly anticipated first album from the Canberra boys!
Hey Ben its Keeley here from Rabbit Radio how are you going?
Good how are you?
Yeah pretty good! It’s the first day of spring what have you been up to?
I have been enjoying the sunlight it has been a beautiful day just until about now actually the clouds have come over, enjoying a bit of outdoors its not too cold.
So ‘Internal’ drops pretty soon on the 9th of September, are you pretty excited?
Yeah I know, yeah super excited and nervous to get it out, but yeah I cant wait to have a full body of work that people can hear its going to be awesome.
Yeah I bet you’re excited for everyone to hear it finally.
Yeah well we’ve had these songs for so long and its also been done for a few months now. We’ve been tweaking at these songs for a long time and the basic incarnation and structures of them have been out for years, so to finally have people hear them is going to be really exciting and fulfilling.
This is SAFIA’S first album, which is huge!
Yeah well the first album is always the hard one because it’s the first time you’re doing it and you’re working out how you work best together and also trying to get a larger body of work together, and to finally have that because we have obviously built everything off of singles before hand is exciting we get to showcase a whole different side of what we do.
Yeah well you gave us ‘Make Them Wheels Roll’ which was king of like the first taste earlier this year, that’s an awesome tune is that your favourite?
Yeah well I love all the songs in their own way because they are all super distinctive in their own right, but yeah that song it has that something about it, its super tasteful, its not over the top but its understated it still builds and that’s been one of our favourites for so long because that first demo first came about maybe 2 and a half, or 2 years ago, and even from then that first demo had that vibe about it, we never really got sick of it and its still basically one of our favourite songs to play live.
Yeah still not sick of it
How long have you been writing the album for then a few years?
Yeah I wouldn’t say we were writing an album but were always writing and writing demos, we get together and write songs pretty quickly its just giving them life and polishing them and getting them up to scratch is the bit that takes ages. So yeah were always writing so it just made sense to do singles for a long time, both economically and how we were building ourselves as a band. I suppose we thought it was album time we should probably sit down and be like ok were doing an album lets lock ourselves away and write a body of music, and we actually ended up sitting down listening to a bunch of our new demos and there was something kind of tying them together while each of them being super distinct and unique in their own right, there was something in what we did that tied them all together, without even knowing it we were like if we work on this, this could be an album and a journey from start to finish as well as 12 good songs hopefully.
Yeah that’s so exciting! Have you been playing the rest of the album live a little bit or have you just been saving it?
We’ve been saving a good chunk but we did kind of test run the early stages of the album tour production earlier this year for the secret make them wheels roll tour and we did play a bunch of songs from the album, but we played the songs that we thought were probably the weirdest flashes of the album that probably wouldn’t become singles, which they might we never know! Yeah we have a chance to showcase those ones before people heard the ones that will most likely be singles so we played the weirder more left of centre type stuff but there’s a whole bunch of stuff that we haven’t played yet which we cant wait to.
September 23rd you kick off the tour in your home town (Canberra), how are you guys feeling?
Yeah well were very much in the prep stage so, even though the 23rd is coming up close we still seem like were a mile away but once we can get all of that boring kind of prep stuff done and we start going through the set, we’ve got a lot planned and it’s a big kind of visual experience and biggest kind of show we’ve put on so hopefully it all comes together like we have planned in our heads and if it does then it will all be really good I think.
So you would say this would be your biggest tour to date because of the album release?
Yeah well the size of the venues is the biggest but in terms of show its actually the biggest show we’ve done, and you know with only singles before it was hard to string together an hour of music, but now we have this whole body of work plus all the old stuff which we can tie into one whole 90 minute experience, and we have worked really hard on the visual side, we’ve always had the performance and the sound and the music kind of side but now its kind of an all sensory experience, which kind of attacks all of your senses at once.
Did you say your going to be playing 90 minute sets!
Yeah well we will be playing our definitely longest, more expansive set that hopefully fans can kind of get lost in.
That’s really cool! How did you organise all the light show and everything do you know someone who does that kind of stuff?
Yeah well lighting wise we worked with this guys that do most Australian bands called colour blind but visually and the production of the show we’ve kind of been collaborating with these two animators called Toby and Pete and that’s actually their company name, so we have kind of been collaborating with them and basically building the whole look and the whole concept for the album so they have done all the artworks and all of the visuals that tied into all of the album work, its all in the same style, geometric, extra terrestrial kind of space, three dimensional kind of thing and we’ve kind of built this huge setup that is integrated in the show so hopefully it should be a really amazing experience. They were the guys that built the infinity prism for Flume.
Wow I’m definitely getting more excited for the gig now that I’m hearing all of this!
Haha yeah hopefully it looks as good as I have described it
How does it feel to have your own record pressed though that must be pretty surreal!
Yeah so this is our first kind of physical product, I cant wait for the vinyls to come through and that kind of thing but to have something you can hold in your hand, it’ll be everywhere.
Are you going to get it framed or anything the first one?
Oh for sure! I already have the first test print vinyl but there’s no artwork or anything on it, its literally a vinyl so I’m not sure if I can frame that but we will definitely keep a few for ourselves I think.
Based on your mood today, if you had to pick one record to listen to all day what would you pick?
Based on my mood today, that’s a hard one, lately I’ve been listening constantly to ‘Plastic Beach’ by Gorillaz, as a record its just this almost amazing concept album start to finish, its just super quirky and I’m yeah a big gorillas fan. I have been having lots of vinyl sessions lately like late at night chuck the vinyl on, actually the most recent vinyl I got was the most recent star wars soundtrack on vinyl so I have been listening to that.
How did SAFIA meet?
We all met in primary school, so year 6, so we’ve been friends and hanging out at school ever since then and we all played in various bands and jammed and did a lot more live sort of stuff, and I guess how SAFIA came about was we never thought about making a band but me and Michael coming from a guitar kind of background we started dabbling in a little bit of electronic music because it was super foreign to us and interesting and a bit of fun making these funny dance tunes and that evolved into somehow SAFIA from there.
How did you muck around with the electronic stuff just on your computers and things like that?
Yeah I suppose we were all about bands and that for a long time and we listened and liked electronic music for a long period, we kind of heard a lot of interesting stuff and thought it would be fun to try it out and see how it is. It was actually really fun to sit and kind of write these big over the top funny tunes, we would never put them out we would just spend a night writing, play some computer games and that kind of thing, and then yeah our kind of idea for what we do is when we want to put out serious music we still have a very live focus for it so somehow those two worlds met somewhere in the middle and it tuned into SAFIA’s sound.
Tell us a bit about your Myer spring Fashion launch gig! That must have been pretty fun being back stage at that.
Yeah that was actually really cool! As far as corporate gigs go that was a lot of fun and quite cool it was an amazing light design and they had put a lot into the show to try and re brand themselves I suppose. The music really fit, the live performance fit really well and we’ve had a few fashion shows for our music and it seems to fit super well and everyone seemed to like it, it was a very strange but also really cool experience having all these models walk out while you play.
Did you get to meet any of them?
Yeah we got to hang out with Jennifer Hawkins and a lot of the other models and designers and stuff like that, it’s a funny world the fashion world I’m not sure how well we fit into it but it was definitely a lot of fun for a night
What’s the plan for the rest of the summer I see your playing a few festivals across oz like Beyond the Valley and Southbound.
Yeah so we have the festivals and Christmas/new years period again, I think its pretty much in the air I’m sure we’ve got a lot of plans that our team have for us that our team haven’t let us know yet for next year, but the near future its just kind of this tour is our main focus and the festivals and really taking our live show to the next level and hopefully the album goes alright and we’ll go from there!
Who are you hoping to run into at the festivals?
Its going to be good to see a lot of our friends on the road we haven’t seen them for a while like Boo Seeka and The Kite String Tangle and RUFUS and all those guys are good friends so that will be fun.
All right well I wont hold you anymore it’s a beautiful day! Thanks so much for having a chat with us Ben, can’t wait to see you on tour I’m really excited.
No thank you, awesome! We will see you then