INDIE FOLK SINGER-SONGWRITER SEAFARER FABLES INTERVIEW WITH MUSIC PROMOTIONS

Singer song writer, Seafarer Fables took time from his body schedule while out in Europe to talk about his new music, making music videos, his start in music and much more.

What is the story behind the single? What are the main elements attached to the song?

On one level it’s sort of a space journey, with some exploring, and it’s also inspired by Polish author Stanislaw Lenin, which the track is named after, and explores some of the themes in his work. 

It’s really on another level about travelling and exploring on Earth. Because I’ve lived in a few different cities, I find living somewhere different can have its own challenges and interests as well. So, I think there’s probably some parallels between exploring in space and exploring on Earth. The track is a sort of reflection on those two ideas.  

Did writing this song take a long time, or was it an easy, faster process?  

This one was a reasonably fast process. It’s always enjoyable with music; sometimes, writing something can take a long time.  

I think, because I had quite a clear idea of both the storyline and the melodic and harmonic structures of the song, it flowed pretty easily and came out relatively quickly. I have a lot of long periods between tracks, so often it takes a long time before something comes out, but when it’s ready, it comes out quickly, in this case at least.  

What about the music video? Can you talk more about that, the ideas behind it?

It was a spur-of-the-moment idea to do the music video so effectively. I had a songwriting retreat that I had booked in Spain last year because I work full-time as well. I don’t really get a lot of time off work, so when I have a holiday, I try to cram in as many things as possible, and I had a few weeks to squeeze in doing a music video.  

I was looking at a few different directors. I was looking at Barcelona, Madrid, or Lisbon. I came across a guy, Andre, and we instantly built up quite a strong rapport; I Liked a lot of his earlier work, which was precisely aligned with my aesthetic. So we just built up a bit of a friendship, and over a few months,  we’d have weekly calls, just chatting about the idea for the track, black and white, sort of, DIY, grainy type film that was quite fun.

I find that with a lot of music videos, you watch them, and it’s like, ‘oh, okay, it hasn’t really added much to the track’, whereas I was wanting this video to almost add a second story to it. We brainstormed a lot with the director, Andre, and wrote up the screenplay. It was really great, it all just fell together quite well, and we’ve got a really great cast of people, there are the two other people in the video who are actually working in theatre. Andre got a whole lot of vintage lenses from Eastern Europe, and we shot it over just two days, and it went smoothly. It was enjoyable because hanging out with this cohort of people and seeing it all come together was cool.  

What was it like growing up in New Zealand? 

It was great; it is my home and always will be.

Growing up in New Zealand was really, really nice. I think the more places you visit, the more you realise how great New Zealand is. It’s very open-minded, very relaxed, and actually quite creative as well.  

I think because it’s so far away, you have to do things yourself and make things work; it’s got this real, creative energy to it, and the place where I’m from, Wellington, in particular, is beautiful. It has a lot of artists and people making things there, the downside is it’s very far away. The nearest country is Australia. Then, from there, it’s an eight-hour-plus flight anywhere, so I guess there is an element of isolation about the place, which maybe I bring into my music a little bit just being far away from many things. 

Did you always want to get into music? What was the first instrument you learned to play? 

Surprisingly not. It came pretty late to me. I started playing the piano when I was a teenager, and then I switched to guitar and dabbled for a number of years, but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties or so before I started songwriting. It’s a funny one, how it did come relatively late to me. I’ve always really liked music, but I guess I never really grew up in a very musical household. At school, I always did maths and the sciences, and I wasn’t making music. Still, when I was at uni, I did a few compositions and papers, which, I think, was quite good. It gave me a bit of a good framework for songwriting, and then obviously, I had piano lessons and guitar lessons as a teenager. Still, my actual performing and songwriting came a bit later in life. It’s interesting because you need some life experience to write about it. Maybe when I was younger, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say, whereas I think now, I feel like I’ve got a bit more of a point of view with things that I want to say or messages that I want to communicate, so, maybe that’s why it’s come a bit later. 

Where does your inspiration for songwriting come from?  

It really depends. Often, I like to work with a particular idea; a lot of my songs will be based on some personal experience or some experience visiting a specific place, or it might be based on a particular idea that I’m trying to flesh out. Usually, I’ll try to distil it down into this one main message that I’m trying to convey. Then from there, I typically start just working with the song structure, and around whether the song’s going to modulate at any point, or, what keys it’s going to be in, and from there I tend to flesh out the lyrics. Then the song’s melody is quite nice because it’s a bit like a puzzle. After all, you’re just trying to make things fit.

You’ve got an EP coming out this year. Can you talk more about this? 

I do, yes. I’ve started recording the EP, and I plan to record a couple more tracks when I get back to Melbourne, which will be in late April or early May.   

Is this single a good reflection on what’s coming, or is it different track by track?  

I would say they’re all quite different track by track; they will all be mixed by the same person, and there will be a thread that joins them. For example, the next track is pretty and it’s not as upbeat as this. It has wind instruments, it’s more evocative, but then there is another track that will be on the EP that is more upbeat as well, so it’s a real mix to be honest. I like there to be a bit of variety for the listener. 

Are there any collaborations in the works, or is it just your music right now? 

I tend to try to collaborate just on a song-by-song basis, depending on who is interested and what works best. It is probably something I’ll explore more in the future. 

Collaborating with different people is always a good way to get new ideas and set a new framework when you’re working with someone else. It’s very different from being purely on your own, and I hope to bring in more people. Melbourne’s a great place, there’s a lot of  musicians based who I think could work well with my music. It’s just tapping into different brains. 

What about touring plans? Have you got anything live coming up in the next couple of months or any summer festivals?  

I am opportunistic around anything that comes up. I like playing smaller venues and more intimate shows anyway, so I’ve got a few leads in the Netherlands, which is good. I will also play some shows when I’m back in Melbourne.  

What music are you currently streaming right now?   

I listen to a little bit of everything, but I probably lean towards indie folk stuff. I like H. Hawkline and Cate Le Bon, they’re always ones that I come back to. I also enjoy listening to other artists like Adrianne Lenker and Alduous Harding. I used to be in a world music choir, so I really do just like listening to everything and anything to be honest.

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