The Aussie trio hot artists really want

August 15, 2015 11:23 pm 0 comments Views: 5
In demand ... Safia have three singles out now including their own Embracing Me, one of t

In demand … Safia have three singles out now including their own Embracing Me, one of the most played tracks in Australia. Picture: Supplied.
Source: Supplied

SAFIA are a band in demand. The electro-pop trio from Canberra have been a regular fixture on the alternative airwaves of Australia since 2013, reaching critical mass when they featured on Peking Duk’s double-platinum hit Take Me Over last year.

Their own truly weird and wonderful tune Counting Sheep put the spotlight on their unique take on the Australian electro sound which has swept the world in the past couple of years.

And now Ben Woolner, Michael Bell and Harry Sayers have lent their talents to three new releases dropping within a few weeks.

It’s one of those rare clash of singles which cause ulcers for industry types who adhere to the outdated conventions of scheduling their releases.

First to drop was the new Peking Duk single Say My Name featuring “Benjamin Joseph’s, Safia’s own earworm Embracing Me and Alison Wonderland’s Take It To Reality.

Frontman Woolner, whose voice graces all three songs, said he adopted the pseudonym for Say My Name to avoid stealing some of the spotlight from Safia’s Embracing Me.

Woolner had co-written the track with the Duk’s Adam Hyde and hadn’t intended to sing on it because “I had already sung on one track for them”.

Good mates ... Peking Duk and Safia have collaborated on two hits now. Picture: Supplied

Good mates … Peking Duk and Safia have collaborated on two hits now. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

Singles galore ... Safia also feature on new Alison Wonderland track. Picture: Supplied.

Singles galore … Safia also feature on new Alison Wonderland track. Picture: Supplied.
Source: Supplied

“The vocal melody I wrote was quite all over the place and I didn’t think they could find anyone to be able to do it,” Woolner explains.

“The way it works is you plan to have these things out at separate times. The lucky thing is each song is being seen as an individual thing which was the intention.”

While Safia have generally kept their collaborations to mates, their success has opened the floodgates of requests.

“I consider myself a yes man and I have been saying yes to a lot of things; I don’t want to make people angry so I try to do as many as I can,” he says.

“But now I’m saying no. these will be the last ones for a while.”

Woolner and his bandmates will be too busy playing the sold-out shows on their Embracing Me tour.

In a sign of the times for local acts with hit singles, Safia were adding more and more dates to the itinerary as tickets were snapped up by an audience captivated by their intricate compositions and Woolner’s angelic vocals.

Splendour benders ... The electro pop trio got a packed tent singing and dancing ahead of

Splendour benders … The electro pop trio got a packed tent singing and dancing ahead of sold-out tour. Picture: Supplied
Source: Supplied

They are up to four Corner Hotel gigs in Melbourne, three Factory Theatre shows in Sydney and two concerts in the other major capital or regional cities on the route.

Woolner is still coming down from the buzz of their Splendour In the Grass set a few weeks ago which brought tens of thousands of fans to their tent.

“It was a big surprise seeing that many people jammed in the tent and still engaged outside in the sun. I could see them all doing what we were asking them to do like singing Listen To Soul acapella to wake up anybody still sleeping off a hangover in their tents,” he says.

“Even though it always goes too quickly, you always have that moment during a gig when you see people responding to songs you have created and you are thinking ‘Everyone is dancing to our song.’ It’s surreal.”

All three are experienced in the rigours of the road having tried and failed with rock bands before “starting to dabble in electronic production” about four years ago.

“There’s a subtlety and art to bringing something that is purely digital and giving it life,” Woolner says.

But that life on the live stage comes with far more opportunities for things to go wrong than a guitar string breaking.

Woolner agrees they should hire an IT roadie.

“Computers break more than guitars. I was watching Tame Impala at Splendour and they had their stage techs dressed in lab coats looking like German scientists. I think it would be a genius idea to have an IT tech on tour. Although turning it on and off again works too,” he jokes.

Safia, Embracing Me

All the time in the studio and touring the world meant the Safia lads were probably the last people on the planet to recognise a Home and Away star playing a lead role in the Embracing Me video.

David Roberts stars as the firey preacher in the cute clip of star-crossed lovers in an Amish community.

“It’s funny because we were all just recently watching the Matrix trilogy again and we recognised him thinking ‘Wow, he is in our video!’,” Woolner says.

Safia perform at the Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Aug 22 to 25, Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane on September 2 and 3, factory Theatre, Sydney on September 9 to 11, Fowler’s Live, Adelaide, September 18 and Amplifier Bar, Perth, September 19 and 21.

www.news.com.au/entertainment/music

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