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Safia’s Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues has been a triple j staple and it’s not surprising given the indie electro outfit’s accessible sound bridges the gap between soulful emotion and synth driven pop. NAOMI FAYE checks in with the trio ahead of their appearance at Bayside this Saturday, January 18 at Mounts Bay Sailing Club. 

It was a wild ride for Canberra’s Safia in 2013, the guys winning triple j Unearthed’s Groovin’ The Moo competition early in the year for their single, Stretched & Faded, which set the pace for the year to come. 

“Winning that competition was by far one the most memorable moments of last year,” says producer and vocalist Ben Woolner. “It was definitely a huge sense of achievement for us.”

The achievements didn’t stop there. The three-piece then released Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues in June and had no idea how popular it would become.

“We knew it had something special when we wrote it, but we didn’t expect it to blow up” says Woolner, and blow up it did.

The track was a remix favourite, with the likes of Pigeon, Indian Summer and Akouo playing with its sound. It was ranked #7 on the 50 most played tracks on triple j in 2013, and Safia was listed in triple j’s ‘Next Crop: The Ones To Watch In 2014’.

“It feels incredibly surreal, we just started this project for a little fun, producing songs in our bedroom and never expected much to come from it.”

Inspired by the “commercial dubstep movement, may it rest in peace” laughs Woolner, Safia made the uneasy switch from rock to electronic with Skrillex in particular a huge influence. “At the time those sounds were so foreign… they really enticed us into doing the electronic thing.”

Safia write the bones of their songs acoustically before playing with production, Woolner believing this initial organic process makes the recording process more creative.

“Rather than thinking about chords, structure and melody you can focus more on sounds and other interesting and weird elements,” this he says, makes their songs stand out. Of course, listening to Safia it’s apparent that electronica isn’t their only source of inspiration.

“As a singer some big inspirations come from people like Nina Simone to Otis Redding and Louis Armstrong.” Combine this with their electronic sound and well, it has definitely played a part in their initial success to date. This year promises more touring and recording for the trio.

“We plan to continue writing the music we love and hopefully people continue to love the music as much as we do. Our next single will have that Safia sound, production and vocal that people are familiar with, but at the same time it explores a whole new territory.”

They kick off their 2014 adventure in Perth this Saturday, playing Bayside with Midnight Juggernauts, who’ll be doing a DJ set along with local acts, Stillwater Giants and Crooked Colours.

“We’re looking forward to playing on a beautiful sunny day near the water, and soaking up all that the Bayside has to offer.”

Safia play Bayside this Saturday, January 18 at Mounts Bay Sailing Club. 


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