The Kaje talks Bristol to Seasfire

Having produced everyone from Acker Bilk through to Roni Size-it could be said that Bristol has more than little musical history. However, there is a new four-piece on the scene, who could be set to redefine the Bristol music one again. With Bristol best known at current for its part in the Trip Hop explosion, it could be said that the four lads – Josh, Joe, Dave, James – known collectively as SEASFIRE have nodded their head to Bristol’s musical past while adding a touch or two of their own along the way. To find out more about who they are, what they do and where they are headed, The Kaje caught up quickly with Josh…

How did you get together?

Well the other three started writing together about a year ago, and then I joined up soon after once they had their first few songs and wanted to try them live. We’ve all known each other for a while since college and used to swap mixtapes and beat ideas. The band was formed around that relationship. We were all interested to see what we could come up with when we put our heads together.

Who brings what ingredient to the table?

The basis for a track normally comes from Joe, then it gets built by suggestions and what is essentially trial and error. Beats, guitar lines, vocal melodies, sub bass – basically the rule is if you’ve got an idea in your head, speak up. The same goes for lyrics, although Josh obviously has to be comfortable with what he’s singing so he controls that side.

What were your joint ambitions when you decided to form SEASFIRE?

I don’t necessarily think there were any great ambitions, apart from the natural development of our music. It started more as an opportunity to write music with different people and explore various sounds, although we of course wanted those sounds to be appreciated by other people.

How are these altering now that you are achieving positive feedback?

Well that’s the thing, as time goes on the ambitions we have for our sound grow. Our tracks are getting bigger and more epic. But the same core ideas are still there. I suppose an ambition now would be to eventually make an album we were all proud of. Something that reflected our situation and lives when it was written.

For those who have not heard you as yet, how would you describe yourselves sonically?

I always struggle with this one! People hear our sound as low-fi and haunting, but of course there are moments where light breaks through the darkness. We are an electronic band at heart, but we want there to be moments that make your skin crawl.

What have been the best and worst comparisons you have received to date?

It’s a long list – Radiohead, Jamie Woon, James Blake, The Weeknd, Burial. I’ll take all of those. A “dubstep Coldplay” was probably the weirdest. The worst – Scritti Politti – I still don’t get that.

How do these compare to your influences?

There are crossovers for sure, but our influences are wide-ranging. Sonically, we love sad songs, strange beats and emotive melodies. Thematically, stories of alienation, despair and longing – a deep understanding that things can improve.

You hail from Bristol, are artists like Massive Attack and Portishead big influences?

I’d say Massive Attack more than Portishead, but they all have a kind of dark alienation to their beats and lyrics, but with an overriding sense of belonging. It is something we can relate to and we certainly aspire to.

Your latest single is “Heartbeat” – can you tell us a little more about the song?

The song morphed out of an older, more upbeat song into what it is now. It tells what sounds like a straightforward story, but there is a deeper subtext that may be apparent to some people. It has two meanings.

Why did you choose it as the single?

Because I think it progresses from “Falling”, which was our first song, and adds more layers. That sense of space and depth is retained.

The video is a visual feast – how important is image to the band?

It is kind of important. I suppose people need to identify with us. There’s something beautiful about black and white images – they can make things look surreal. The video was inspired by Woodkid’s ‘Iron’ video more than anything, although we couldn’t do anything to that scale – maybe one day. But at least we burnt a piano.

You are also garnering praise on the live circuit – how does your sound change from recorded to live?

All the venues we play are set up for guitar bands, and having live drums means everything becomes rockier, but maybe it grooves more. We try to maintain an electronic vibe though, through samples and use of dynamic.

What one stage would you most like to conquer?

One gig at a time…

Interview by Jeremy Williams

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