Australian electronic rock band Safia burst into our collective consciousness in 2014 when they featured on Peking Duk’s mega hit ‘Take Me Over’ and they’ve been on the up ever since. Remix writer Caitlin Nugent had a chat with vocalist Ben Woolner about their upcoming tour, new album and why they credit Skrillex as an inspiration.
Your new album is out tomorrow, which is very exciting! Can you tell us a bit about it?
Over the past three years, as we’ve been establishing ourselves as a band, we weren’t necessarily writing with an album in mind, we were writing for the fun of it. All of these songs worked together without us even realising it, it was very organic.
So you're performing in New Zealand in November, what can people expect from the show?
It’ll be the first time we play in New Zealand so we’re super excited and none of us have ever been there before! We’re bringing our show, which we’ve been touring around Australia; it’s a big immersive production. We’ve always presented ourselves as a live band;we’re energetic, almost electronic music, presented as a rock show but still with a modern electronic sound.
Since you all met in college and started the band there, what advice would you give to university musicians struggling to break into the music scene?
Make sure you’re writing for fun and for the enjoyment of it - not trying to write a radio single. Keep writing. Constantly write. Don’t put all the cards into one thing and expect that to do well. Also, try to focus on being unique and different and not fitting into a trend that’s popular. Focus on what makes you different rather than fitting in a box.
What or who got you interested in the electronic music scene? Were there any inspirations?
When we played in bands before we were very rock-focused. We didn’t listen to electronic music, although we listened to a bit of metal. When Skrillex popped on the scene, that pricked our ears up a bit, but we didn’t know much about electronic music. His sound was so interesting and we started experimenting.
What was the first gig you ever played at and what has been your favourite to play at so far? Why?
Splendour was pretty amazing. That felt like a turning point in Australia. We didn’t expect so many people to be there so early in the day and I think from that point on the shows have been growing like crazy. Our first show we played was at a bar that I used to work at, back home in Canberra. It all kind of started from there.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment and who do you think will be big in the music scene over the next year?
There’s a British guy named Michael Kiwanuka; a soul singer. His album’s amazing. Back home, an act called Boo Seeka supported us on the last tour. They’re going from strength to strength.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would you work alongside and why?
My childhood self would say Dave Grohl. Such a big Foo Fighters fan. These days I would love to work with someone like James Blake. That would be pretty interesting.
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