Up and coming Aussie electro legends SAFIA, released a new track today Counting sheep is the title of their new track, and it is darker than their previous work, exploring concepts of fear and sleeplessness. According to the very reliable source (ha!) of wikipedia counting sheep is ” a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of lulling oneself to sleep”
It has an added complexity from their earlier tracks demonstrating SAFIA’s natural musical maturity, however it retains the Safia’s signature synth-heavy nu-disco get up and dance sound. It also features a killer use of samples on the theme of fear, and makes us hope that an album could possibly be in the works.
This is, as the name may implicate a song for the isoamanics and those plagued with night terrors. It has that otherworldly quality of previous songs such as ‘Paranoia, ghosts and other sounds’ and but is somewhat darker and moodier, and the audio samples can’t help but make us think about the kids in Freddy Kruger movies, who know that falling asleep is a certain death and must succumb themselves to a sleepless delirium. Without getting too deep/taking it to seriously it genuinely is a catchy song which installs confidence in us about the future of this Australian bred electronic trio.
Following closely behind fellow artist Peking Duk, SAFIA are helping make a name in the music industry for our often overlooked capital, Canberra. In a recent interview with Society of Sound, SAFIA’s Ben Woonler cited the changing nature of music production as one of the factors behind their success (we think he is being rather modest!), as he said in the interview:
“now with electronic, you can do it from your own bedroom and still get on the radio”
Talent that previously couldn’t find a way to get out of Canberra, or indeed many locations in Australia are able to upload their stuff on Soundcloud and get it out there without relying on being spotted by major record labels. In addition, SAFIA’s music has a raw and authentic quality to it, and they are the archetype of the popular narrative in the Australian music scene. A group of friends who have been making music together since they were teenagers win over the will of the people by winning a spot to play at Aussie rural festival GTM. They then build their fan base via Triple J airplay and collabs with established artists before gaining music prowess in their own right. Eventually they reach a status that verges on cult like in the Australia electronic/alternative music scene. This has been the SAFIA success story this far.
Recently SAFIA made headlines for more notorious reasons – the uncanny reasonableness (and almost identical colour grading) between their dystopian themed video for their hit song ‘You are the one’ and an Ariana Grande video. They dealt with the issue rather graciously, after letting off some initial steal. Announcing on their facebook page :
“We feel it’s important to stand up for our work which we spend so much of our lives devoted to, but we’re ready to move on from this. This is not how we want our name to reach the masses, if you hear about us we want it to be because of our music and not because of a ‘scandal,”
Well said guys.. however they say there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the silver lining of the incident will no doubt be the views gained, and opening up the issue in the public vernacular of the conflict between independent artist and big record labels.
At the end of the day, even if Grade’s creative team reworked their concept, SAFIA still have a magical quality which money cannot buy and a mega record company cannot guarantee. Ultimately their video still kicks ass, and if Ariana Grande did copy it – the imitation is more of a compliment, and took nothing away from the aesthetic and artistic quality of SAFIA’s work.
Listen to Counting Sheep below and make up your own mind.
image source: southbound website