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Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | MAJOR

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Electro




"The Lorde is with thee: Canberra band Safia announced as the support act for New Zealand singer's Australia tour"

They've already made a name for themselves among music-lovers.
And now that Canberra band Safia has been named as Lorde's support act for her upcoming Australian tour - their star is set to rise dramatically.
The trio announced the game-changer gig on their Facebook page on Friday, stating simply: 'Hey guys, we're touring with Lorde. That is all.'
Bright young things: Safia are billed for big things now that they've been picked to support Lorde on her Australian tour
Bright young things: Safia are billed for big things now that they've been picked to support Lorde on her Australian tour
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Despite their apparent nonchalance there will no doubt be some celebrations amongst the three piece.

Despite their nonchalance there will no doubt some big celebrations this weekend.
The electro-indie band, which is comprised of singer Ben Woolner, Michael Bell on drums and guitar player Harry Sayers, already has their own buzz surrounding them.
With a big 2013 under their belt following their incredible debut single Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues, which garnered an impressive following both online and on, triple J.
Global star: Grammy Award winner Lorde performed in Chicago last month
Global star: Grammy Award winner Lorde performed in Chicago last month
They also had an impressive time on the touring circuit, playing alongside the likes of international acts Disclosure and Rudimental.
Lorde's Australia tour, which will visit Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, kicks off later this month on April 24 with dates until May 8.
It's a great coup for the band, with Lorde arguably one of the biggest global breakthrough music artists of the past year.
The 17-year old's rise to fame has been nothing short of meteoric.
In demand: Safia will support Lorde, singing here in Sydney in February, on her Australian tour later this month
In demand: Safia will support Lorde, singing here in Sydney in February, on her Australian tour later this month
The New Zealand singer-songwriter, who was born and raised in Auckland, started off performing and singing in drama class when she was just five, and went on to land her first record deal with Universal Records at age 12.
However she was virtually unknown until the release of Royals last year, which won worldwide acclaim.
Then in January Lorde - real name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor - got the breakthrough that changed her life.
She won two Grammies, Best Solo Pop Performance and Song Of The Year for Royals.

Read more:
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook - Daily Mail Online

"SAFIA – “Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds”"

Australian trio SAFIA (Ben Woolner, Michael Bell, and Harry Sayers) spin blue-eyed soul with spacey R&B production in a way that manages to be both challenging and extremely catchy — catchy enough that they’ll be opening for Lorde on her Australian tour. Their newest single, “Paranoia, Ghosts, & Other Sounds,” finds the group’s smooth vocals pushing through a veil of pitch-shifted moans, phasing synths, and heavy bass swoons that never fail to make you want to move. Listen to it below. - Stereogum

"Catch of the Day: SAFIA - Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds"

Canberra's finest purveyors of soulful electro returned this week with a new single and hot dang, it's bloody beautiful. Yes the guys behind that winning song "Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues" have totally backed it up.

There's something very warm and fuzzy about this new song "Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds". Everything's in the right place, those soft thud synths are just wonderful and then halfway through, the song leaps into epic, heartfelt territory with strings and the kind of chords that make me feel like I'm in the final scene of a really great romance.

It's so wonderful when a promise is fulfilled. SAFIA's next moment of pretty is my Catch of the Day today. Stream it for yourself and swoon, below. - Triple J

"Hear the "Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds" in SAFIA's latest track"

The electronic-indie trio out of Australia, SAFIA, has polished a handful of genres into their new gem of a track, "Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds". Their first big hit "Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues" received a lot of attention as the original and as a remix from Indian Summer, but they have gone in a completely different direction with this track: which isn't a bad thing. "Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds" showcases the groups ability to dabble in electronic R&B, but they've added some tropical touches in just to really intrigue your eardrums. The vocals are on point as they waver in and out in intensity and up and down emotionally. We can probably count on hearing from SAFIA more in the future since they've proven that they've got versatility on their side. Get lost in the track below and show the Aussies some love. - Earmilk

"SAFIA – Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds"

SAFIA are definitely one of Australia’s ones to watch at the moment. From the quality of this new track ‘Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds’ it appears that they’ve an audio weapons arsenal ready to hit us all up into 2015.

We caught these guys live recently and whilst we thought they were great, they didn’t come across live like they do on record. Live, they feel like Disclosure wannabies but on record they’re slick and soulful. I’m hoping that they realise that they are outstanding vocally and that they don’t need to try and emulate another band as they’re unique in their own right. Anyway, minor quibble as this is gold and live they’re gold and highly recommended. - Your Music Radar

"SAFIA – Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds"

Canberra trio SAFIA had a break out last year, when the release of their single "Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues" caught everyone by surprise. It was one of those tracks that seemed to be on the radio every time you turned it on. The song was so popular that it came in at #76 on the Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown for 2013 -- a huge result for such a new act. Now, well into the new year, the guys are ready to hook listeners in once again with a brand new single.

Premiered earlier today on the Guardian, "Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds" showcases the band's unique style, and really solidifies them as an act to watch. When a band comes out with such a successful track so early in their career, the pressure to produce a follow-up can sometimes prove difficult. But if anything, SAFIA has kicked things up a notch on their new release. The production here is excellent, with a smooth, modern R&B jam created through layers of synth and shadowy beats, paving the way for Ben Woolner's smoldering vocals to take over.

Talented remixers themselves, stay tuned for reworks of "Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds" in the coming weeks from an all-Australian cast of Akouo, Wordlife, PACES, and Young Franco. - Indie Shuffle


SPOOK: Hey Ben, how are you?

Ben Woolner: Good thanks!

Where are you at the moment?

I’m just chilling at home.

What’s the nation’s capital like as a place to make music?

I found it really good growing up in Canberra because it was pretty quiet. It was easy to get everywhere and you always had a connection to someone. There wasn’t a lot to do except hang out with friends, and the friends I hung out with liked to play music and jam! But it’s been a great place to grow up; free of perceptions and intentions of going to big-city agencies and that sort of thing.

You went to school with band mates Michael (Bell) and Harry (Sayers) didn’t you?

Yeah we went to school from Year 6 onwards.

And you’re not ready to kill each other yet?

No, not yet! But I’m sure it’ll happen.

And in amongst those wonderful prepubescent triumphs and failures at school, what are some of the musical moments you remember fondly?

Well we’ve been playing in lots of bands, not necessarily SAFIA, and we definitely covered off the clichéd, prepubescent, pop-rock kind of band. The first songs me and Michael wrote together was on a desktop computer where we plugged everything in, and played drums on the keyboard and stuff…we stayed up all night and played this funny little song. I remember one of our earlier bands, it was a cover band predominantly, and we had a residency at the local pub when we were like 15. I remember playing really loud rock music in this tiny pub while people were trying to eat dinner…so that’s definitely a fond memory [laughs].

Being a touring musician now, who are some of the talents you’ve encountered or heard while on the road?

Because we’re playing so much we haven’t had the opportunity to go to a gig just as a spectator. I’ve been taking the time to really check out the supports at our own shows, and wow, there’s a lot of talent there.

Like Oliver Tank, he is truly incredible.

He was on the first tour we ever did! It was the first time we ever did travelling shows with the same artist and his performance and the simplicity of it, there’s a real beauty in that. And Hayden Calnin was on that tour as well. And that guy is incredible. You can get overwhelmed by these artists that are underground.

Forgive me for the journalistically taboo question, but where did the name SAFIA come from?

I wish it were more entertaining. But when I had an idea for a project I was coming home from Europe, and I really wanted to do something different. In thinking of a name I wanted it to represent not just a band name necessarily, but maybe a thing or a single person, kind of in the vein of Gotye and Kimbra. I wrote a song called “Sapphire,” and shortly after we started the Facebook page, all the “likes” on the page, apart from a few friends, were from the Middle East. We later found out it was a very common woman’s name in the Middle East and I think it also means “serenity,” or something like that in Arabic, so that explained a bit.I’m still not sure if they know we’re a band or not, but they know we’re there [laughs]!

And the songs you’ve got out at the moment, a lot of them appear to be quite loaded, such as Mercury, Stretched and Faded, and Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds. Are they songs that are close to you or cathartic, or are they just good stories?

Yeah, they’re quite close to me. Not every lyric is necessarily about me, but I do try and keep a theme. Like with “Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds,” that song just came to me when I was playing the piano. I got the first two lines, and the production had been weird and wonky already, so I explored this, and built the song around the theme of paranoia inside someone’s mind, or life and looked at the whole release like that, ensuring that there was still pop sensibility there but also putting cute and creepy sounds in there too. We extended that with the film clip too, and our friend designed the little bear in it, and animated.

But with the lyric writing for “Stretched and Faded,” it wasn’t anything too deep…it had been a big night out the night before, and it was a really hot summer’s day in Canberra. I didn’t have a car at this stage, and my friend’s house was about half-an-hour away, so I literally had to walk home after the night out, with this heat around me, and feeling a bit hung over. And that’s when I wrote the lyrics; I just wrote it to kill the time.

With the titles, I’m really conscious of not putting something out that is all uniform; it’s really easy to stick the main word of your song as the title, or generic words to try and have an iconic title, or at least a unique title that no one’s got goes a long way in people’s minds.

You guys do a lot of remixes, but what’s been your favourite spin on your own tracks?

I think the best thing about the electronic community is that everything is almost shared. There’s a real community feel, and there’s no song too sacred in electronic music. Fans and artists actively want to hear other interpretations of it. So when it comes to remixing, I really like all the remixes of our songs; it gives the song a new life and means it can fit into different sub-genres and that sort of thing. We hand pick all the guys who remix our singles that we post on our SoundCloud, so we put a lot of effort into finding the right people.

But it terms of ones that have stuck, I really like the Leaderboy remix of “Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues.” They’re dudes from Sydney, and it was a really weird, different take on it. I also like the Akouo remix. He was the first person to ever send us one, and the song wasn’t even big at that stage; we were so impressed that someone had taken the time to remix our song that we instantly made it an official remix. Then we invited him to remix “Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds,” and now he’s supporting us on tour!

Safia are touring with Lorde throughout July 2014. Their single Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds is out now. - Spook Magazine


Running on the success of their first two singles “Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues” and “Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds” that Alison Wonderland Warehouse Project support Young Franco recently remixed, Canberra based three piece SAFIA dropped in to talk everything from Lorde tour cancellations too a potential album with vocalist Ben Woolner-Kirkham.

Can you describe your last years rise in the Australian electronic music scene? It’s been a very healthy rise for us I think. Everything has been gradual, which I think has been really beneficial for us as we have been able to grow as a band as we go along, rather than being thrown in the deep end straight away.

How are you guys preparing for your support of the Lorde tour? We’re not now, as Lorde had to postpone the due to illness. We hope Ella gets well soon though and hopefully we can hit the road with her again later this year.

What is the story behind your latest song 'Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds'? Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds is a concept that basically explores the goings on in a paranoid & insane mind. Everything from the production to the lyrics and melody is meant to be slightly off putting and creepy, while still being a cute pop song at the same time. I think if people watch the film clip for the song they will understand the concept a lot more.

After releasing your second single, do you have a clear idea on the direction you want to take? Music is always changing and so is our writing. I think we have found a way of writing music that maintains our style but allows us to move around different styles quite freely. I think the one thing people can expect from us is that we won’t release the same song twice.

Like Flight Facilities, you guys seem to be developing the golden touch of releasing music little by little but leaving people wanting more. Will this be your strategy, or is there any album talks? No album talks atm but we would love to do an album, we’re always writing and stacking up the songs so when it is album time we will have plenty of stuff to work with. I think we are still playing it by ear but I do know our next release will also be a single so for now, yes we will be continuing with the same strategy. Hopefully it works a third time haha ☺

Are there any collaborations or Safia remixes in the works? You might be hearing my voice pop up on a couple songs for other artists in the near future (not sure if I’m allowed to say who atm haha), but apart from that I think that’s it for now.

The rumour is out! Peking Duk played it at Groovin The Moo

For people who haven't seen your show, could you describe it? People can expect an actual live show with drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, vocals, synths, sampler’s and more. People sometimes get us confused and think we’re just producers who play with Ableton and an Akai APC40 so they get a big surprise when they find out were a band. People seem to also think the vocals for Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues are just a sample so they get a big shock when they see a nerdy white guy like myself up on stage singing them haha.

How does it feel to have your first Australian headline tour? It’s super exciting and also super nerve racking. We’ve been the support band for so long but now it’s completely on us to get people through the door, which is scary but also exciting at the same time.

Can you give us any insight into the next single coming? I think the next single coming is a really nice blend of everything we’ve done so far, that being said it is still very different to the last two singles as well.

My biggest musical influence has been… It’s hard to say we always have a super open mind when it comes to music. We listen to everything from world music to metal, jazz, roots & dance to name a few. We all come from rock & roll backgrounds, as we are all actually guitarists. I think we take the best parts of every type of music and some how morph it into our own little concoction of electro-soul-pop or whatever you want to call it haha.

My guilty music pleasure is… Hmmmm, at the moment my guilty music pleasure would have to be the Ed Sheeren track I See Fire (especially the Kygo remix) because it was the theme song for the latest Hobbit movie, which I loved and also because it reminds me of a very loose New Years Eve we had this year haha.

The first ever CD I bought was… First time I went CD shopping to get my first ever CD I actually got three. I got ‘The Eminem Show’ by Eminem, The Cat Empire’s self titled album & Sunrise Over Sea by The John Butler Trio

When we get to make music, we eat and drink loads of... Cheese & Crackers and a lot of Red Wine

Kicking their national tour off on the 24th of May, tickets are available below!

SAFIA – “Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds” Tour 2014 SAT 24/05 – Transit Bar – Canberra, ACT: Tickets FRI 30/05 – The Beach Hotel – Byron Bay, NSW
SAT 31/05 – Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane, QLD: Tickets THU 05/06 – DK Pool Club @ CSU – Bathurst, NSW
FRI 06/06 – Shebeen – Melbourne, VIC: Tickets SAT 14/06 – Spectrum – Sydney, NSW: Tickets SUN 15/06 – RAD – Wollongong, NSW: Tickets FRI 20/06 – Mojo’s Bar – Fremantle, WA: Tickets SAT 21/06 – Pirie & Co Social Club – Adelaide, SA: Tickets SAT 28/06 – River Sessions – Mackay, QLD: Tickets - Stoney Roads

"Canberra bands to watch in 2014"

Canberra three-piece SAFIA offer an intoxicating and stylish form of electronica that has been appreciated by Triple J fans and the wider Aussie public.
Ben Woolner, Michael Bell and Harry Sayers had been playing in various bands around town before forming the group in 2012.
Regular airplay and attention on Triple J has had a major effect on their popularity in a short space of time. SAFIA not only opened last year's Groovin the Moo but also played at the recent Foreshore festival alongside big name acts as Tiesto, Calvin Harris, 360 and Example.
Their music, which has been described as ''electrical indie'', is a far cry from the music most Canberra bands are making.
''I think we are the only ones to really do it in Canberra,'' Woolner says.
''We produce all our music using software and it's mainly electronic but we take the original file and take out bits we think we should be playing and assign them to different instruments.''
It looks as though 2014 will be another exciting year for the band, with readers able to vote for SAFIA's sublime single Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues in the Hottest 100. Voting closes on January 17.
The band will also release a new single about February or March and feature at a few boutique festivals including:

Read more: - Canberra Times


Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues - Single

Paranoia Ghosts & Other Sounds - Single



Princes of electronic-pop with a nu-soul bent, Canberra-based overachievers, SAFIA have in 12 months left an indelible mark on the music landscape. With over 3 million Soundcloud plays and having just supported Kiwi queen bee, Lorde on her Aus/NZ national tour, the trio are also revelling in the success of their latest single, You Are The One -  officially released this Sept, racking up almost 85K Soundcloud plays in the first 3 weeks, and added to rotation on Triple J and national radio.  

Wielding the unique skill of defying genre as if it were a dark art, their debut Listen To Soul, Listen to Blues enjoyed significant national airplay, moving on to be nominated for the J Award for Unearthed Artist of the Year as well as racking up over 265,000 Soundcloud plays as it steam-rolled into the #1 position on the iTunes Electronic Chart.  Finding its way on-air at US college radio, XFM (UK), George FM (NZ) and Amazing Radio (UK), the outfit quickly started making a name for themselves both locally and abroad.

Their layered, warm production style and intricate vocal stylings of frontman Benjamin Joseph won hearts instantly, taking out a position in triple J's hottest 100 and putting the band on the shortlist of acts bound to break out in 2014.  No stranger to the main stage, SAFIA have played the likes of Groovin The Moo as well as sharing stages with Rudimental, Disclosure, Aluna George and fellow breakthrough Aussies, RüFüS and Elizabeth Rose.   


·      2 X #1 spots on Hype Machine Popular

·      #1 spot on iTunes Electonic Chart - LISTEN TO SOUL, LISTEN TO BLUES

·      Top 10 – Triple J Airplay Chart - LISTEN TO SOUL, LISTEN TO BLUES

·      J Award Nomination for Unearthed Artist of the Year

·      Early spot play on XFM (UK), George FM (NZ) and Amazing Radio (UK)

·      LORDE - National Tour Support & previous supports: Rudimental, Disclosure, Aluna George.

National SOLD OUT Tour in Australia

Band Members