Behind the Music: Interview with Seba Safe

‘My new EP ‘Rainy’ is an exciting jumping-off point to where I’m heading next’

Following the recent release of his new EP ‘Rainy’, I chatted with Seba Safe to find out more about what it says of where his music is right now, his future plans to use Irish language in his tracks, and why keeping faith in yourself is incredibly important.
Hi Seba, thanks for taking the time to chat. Please briefly introduce yourselves to those who don’t know you yet.
My name is Mike D’Alton and I am a singer songwriter from Galway, Ireland. I started releasing my music as Seba Safe in 2019 and am working towards my debut album. When I’m not writing or playing music I enjoy watching movies, cooking, and surfing badly.
What led to you using the moniker Seba Safe?
Sebastian Safe was the nickname given to me by a daughter of a boss I had while playing the Irish pub circuit across Europe at age 17. When I returned home I used the name Sebastian Safe as a made up manager to promote my music and it evolved from there 🙂
What 5 words best describe the music you create?
Honest. Melancholic. Humorous. Irish. Personal.
What would you cite as your biggest musical/non musical influences?
I take inspiration from all genres of music. Generally I follow people who’s lyrics excite me – from Joni Mitchell to Kendrick Lemar – I’m in if they’re speaking to me. I also love watching movies – usually sad ones. I tend to find moments of inspiration after a powerful movie or book.

‘I think keeping the faith in yourself and your own abilities is the most crucial way to approach this industry.’

Turning to your incredibly beautiful new EP, ‘Rainy’, what do you feel this release says about where you are as an artist right now?
I think sonically this EP has stepped up massively. I love this collection of songs and to hear them recorded and produced at this level is a dream come true. Duncan Mills did a great job in bringing these songs to life. I’m constantly changing the approach to my writing, varying styles and genres. I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever know what I want to sound like but stick with me. ‘Rainy’ says ‘I’m here and this is just a small taste of what’s to come’. It’s an exciting jumping-off point to where I’m heading next.
How important was it to you that ‘Dream/Interlude’ occurred early in the track listing?
It was initially going to be the intro to the EP, and then it almost got the axe! I personally love it as it’s a preface to the EP and teases most of the themes that are to come out through the songs which follow.
And linked with this, why did you choose ‘Afterlife’ as the first release track from the EP?
Choosing the first single is always tough, but knowing it was going to be a January release I thought it’s moody tones were fitting. It’s also the oldest song of the 5 so I felt it deserved the first spot.
Which track on the EP went on the most surprising journey from inception to final master? 
Definitely ‘Oblivion’. From the get go I was conscious to not popify this track too much as it already falls into that space lyrically and structurally. Martyn Kaine who played drums on this EP got very creative on this one and both myself and Duncan had a lot to work and experiment with when it came to arranging it. Using more acoustic sounds to keep the song in the same world as the other songs, and holding the pop elements down, led to a very interesting sounding track that I’m delighted with. 
How did the collaboration with Duncan Mills come about and how did his involvement impact the release?
Duncan had worked with several Nettwerk artists in the past and my team suggested him. After one zoom call with him I knew he was the man for the job. His work ethic and drive blew me away working on this EP though. We got on instantly which enabled us to work and create in a space of ease and silliness. Nothing was too outrageous to try, I felt completely comfortable to push the boat out and that comes through in the tracks. Duncan is also an amazing character. I learned a lot from him and absolutely want to work with him again.
Turning to lyricism, the Irish phrase, ‘Oró, Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile’ appears in the opening track but the remainder of the release is in pure English. What were the decisions behind this and are there any plans to incorporate Irish language more in the future?
Being Irish is something that I am very proud of and is something that is coming through my music a lot more as I get older. ‘On My Way’ in particular touches on living in Ireland and emigration from Ireland. The original Irish song ‘Oró sé do Bheatha Bhaile’ welcomes home a pirate queen with her soldiers to help fight for the land. I played on this ‘welcome’ with an imagining of welcoming home all the young people who left so they can build their stories here and by doing so, save the country by giving it a better future. I’m not proud to say my Irish isn’t the best,  but I intend on improving on it and do plan on throwing more into my music in the future 🙂

‘I love this collection of songs and to hear them recorded and produced at this level is a dream come true.’

At what point in the creative process did you come up with the accompanying music videos and what led to them being so contrasting?
I created the videos for the first 3 singles myself and for ‘Afterlife’ I wanted something dramatic and moody. I’m currently living in Lahinch in the Wild West of Ireland and I shot my beautiful friend Cia over a sunrise by the cliffs there. This area of Ireland and places from my childhood along with friends, family and most importantly my dog feature heavily in the videos I make and because my music is so personal, it’s lovely to have the themes and people all connected with the videos. For the title track ‘Rainy’, I was very excited to work again with the extremely talented Rhys Davies of Furball films. We had worked together on a video during my last EP. I knew he would create something special and despite the name of this EP it is a summer release. He and Georgia Luck smashed it on this one.

It seems like there have been some amazing artists coming out of Ireland over the past year or two. What do you think has led to them getting more prominence and who are your favourites that more people should know about?
I think Ireland has always been bursting at the seams with talented artists. I can’t say why there are more peeking through now, perhaps it’s social media or just luck but they’re here and I feel there’s going to be a very strong few years ahead for new Irish acts. Irish artists I love at the moment are Honas, All the luck in the World, and Niamh Regan.
And finally, what has been the most important learning curve about the music industry to date?
I think keeping the faith in yourself and your own abilities is the most crucial way to approach this industry. It’s hard, it’s competitive you’ll get knocks along the way and expectations are a motherfucker but if I keep my head down and focus on writing and creating music that excites me that will sustain me until the next step of this journey.
Thanks Seba Safe for chatting with Listen to Discover
Photography Credit: Bryony Coles
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