Interview: Safia at Beyond The Valley
Australian band SAFIA has had a phenomenal year with the release of their debut album Internal. We were lucky enough to sit down with Ben, Harry and Michael at the Beyond the Valley festival to chat about the album and their 2016 highlights.
AMS: I’m so stoked to hear your set later tonight. How does it feel to be playing at such a big New Years Eve festival?
SAFIA: It’s really good. It’s crazy, especially as we are pretty much closing out the year. I think everyone is going to be feeling pretty chuffed by that time of night.
AMS: And you guys aren’t new to the Australian festival scene. Do you have a favourite memory from past festivals this year?
SAFIA: Yeah the Groovin tour is always a good one; its such a great reception from the crowd, you get looked after there as well, it’s a nice little community. We make a lot of friends on that tour because it’s kind of split apart in weeks so you get the time to actually know people.
AMS: You guys released your massive debut album “Internal” earlier this year. Do you have a favourite track from the album?
SAFIA: It’s always changing, it depends what I’ve listened to last. I listened to Zion this morning, so Zion is my favourite now. It’s got a good tribal vibe that kind of matches the theme of this whole festival. It’s getting us in the vibes for today.
AMS: So what can we expect in your set today?
SAFIA: A bit of old stuff, and lots of new tracks off the album. If you like us I think you will be happy with what you get, put it that way.
AMS: Who inspired you guys to start doing what you’re doing?
SAFIA: I think the turning point was when we started listening to bands and started investigating electronic music which was fun to listen to; probably Skrillex actually, he was a massive influence. We just heard his wild sounds when we were younger and was like ‘what is this? I want to do it!’ It was just so foreign to us and initially we were just writing “smackers” and “bangers” and eventually we met somewhere in the middle.
AMS: So it sounds like you guys have known each other for a while? How did you guys meet?
SAFIA: We met at school actually; I think we have known each other since about Year 5. We also played soccer together. We were always playing together but only started writing together a few years ago.
AMS: Wow you’ve come such a long way since then. I remember seeing you guys in 2014 at Starbar in Bendigo –
SAFIA: Oh woah! I don’t think anyone was even there –
AMS: No there was maybe 50 people there? It was a great show though! But compare that to now, I mean you guys have just come off a national tour playing sold out shows in huge theatres. When do you guys feel it really took off?
SAFIA: It’s been nice and gradual, one step after the other really. It’s really hard to pin point, you know when you used to have a growth spurt, and you don’t notice yourself growing but everyone around you can see it. Every time we have done something new we have just gone a step up from the last thing; it’s been gradual, but maybe if you blink it looks like it has exploded. Playing at Splendour was a big turning point, when we walked out on stage and there was so many people, it was nuts! We really didn’t expect that many people.
AMS: How did it feel playing such big sold out shows?
SAFIA: It was so great because we got to play basically the whole album and all the old songs; basically everything we have done so far. We could spend the time to put this big production on and give everyone an incredible visual and sonic experience. To be able to do that felt crazy, it was pretty special to be able to see all the fans singing along to all our songs. Our crowds are very loyal fans, its very special for us. I think we have gained a lot of fans from festivals like this.
AMS: And you guys had your massive collaboration with Peking Duk on ‘Take Me Over’. Who would your dream collaboration be?
SAFIA: He just died, George Michael for sure. All the good ones seem to have passed on. Bob Marley would be sick. I love reggae, it’s my favourite type of music. In our songs there’s quite a large reggae influence. Andre Rieu would be another one. We could tap into the older market, like we need Michael Buble! Definitely Michael Buble, we will make that happen. I was listening to him last night on the way here; he’s the swag king!
AMS: What is your number one festival survival tip?
SAFIA: It depends if there is showers, but always bring baby wipes; I don’t think I showered at Splendour one year; it was just all baby wipes.
AMS: Who is your tip to take out Triple J’s hottest 100 this year?
SAFIA: Isn’t it kind of obvious?
AMS: Oh yeah of course, it’s you guys! What has been the highlight of 2016 for you?
SAFIA: Harry’s Christmas! I had a Christmas party and the cops came at like 5 in the afternoon, it was great!
AMS: Where is SAFIA headed in 2017?
SAFIA: I think we’ve earned a little bit of time off, to regroup. I’m sure something will pop up, just see what happens.
AMS: Congrats on a great year in music, good luck for tonight!
SAFIA: Thanks guys!
Written by: Maddy Kelly.