SAFIA “each song represents a different feeling or state of mind”

On the first week of the release of their album ‘Story’s Start or End’, we caught up with Canberra 3-piece SAFIA to yarn about the road to completing their second major body of work. With the full listen of the 13-track romper available now for all ears, singer Ben Woolner caught up with us to chat everything from the evolution of the band, to their dream remix, which we would bloody love to see happen.

Since SAFIA released the first album in 2016, what has changed in the band’s direction?

Ben – This record was written during the transition from our mid to late twenties so naturally, a lot has changed. We are far more comfortable in our process and have a deeper understanding of ourselves. I believe we are more unencumbered in our creativity and are continually looking to improve as artists and people.

How long did it take to produce this second album?

Ben – We started writing this record almost immediately after the release of our first album. Over the course of two and a half year’s we experimented, tinkered and wrote countless songs. As time went on everything began to take shape but even then, we continued to work on the songs right up until the very last deadline. I think we did over 10 masters of certain tracks to make sure they were just right.

What would you say is the biggest change in the way SAFIA make music from when the band started to now?

Ben – Since the release of our first record, we spent a lot of time experimenting to find out what worked best for us. As we began to understand those conditions a bit more the writing definitely improved considerably. I think more so than ever, we feel a freedom to do whatever we want creatively and just let the music be what it is.

Can you please talk us through some of the inspiration for the band behind the forthcoming album?

Ben – This record is built around journey, growth and understanding. We wanted there to be a human story at its core whilst still having expansive ideas surrounding it. Naturally, that meant things like space exploration, consciousness and reality were huge sources of inspiration for the kind of world we wanted to build. We drew influence from film scores, visual art and any music that excited us at the time.

What song has the most meaning to each of you?

Ben – That’s like trying to choose a favourite child. Each song represents a different feeling or state of mind experienced over the course of writing the record. Without any one song, I don’t think the record would hold as much meaning. If I had to pick purely on personal preference and taste I’d probably say ‘Starlight’, ‘Resolution’ or ‘Better Off Alone’, mainly because I’m a sucker for melody, and those songs have no shortage of that.

What’s your favourite SAFIA remix to date (you can only choose 1!)?

Ben – We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of great artists remix our work over the years but I think if I had to choose one, it would have to be Indian Summer’s remix of ‘Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues’. It was one of the first remixes we ever received so it still holds a special place in our heart.

Who would your dream remix be for a song on the new album?

Ben – That’s a tough one, but I reckon a Jon Hopkins remix of ‘Better Off Alone’ would be out of this world

SAFIA ‘Story’s Start or End’ is out now on Warner Music Australia, click here for Spotify, Apple, Tidal and more!

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