Saturday, October 30, 2021

Speaking To Sea Girls On The Past, The Present And Their Exciting Future

Since they burst onto the scene in 2017, Sea Girls have gone from strength to strength. With their vibrant live shows and sing-along indie anthems, the band have developed a name as one of the most exciting groups in the country. After their initial success culminated in their debut album ‘Open Up Your Head’ reaching number 3 in the charts, Sea Girls are now ready for what comes next. 

The London based outfit teased us with the release of latest single ‘Sick’ and having just finished a UK tour, climaxing with a headline set at Brixton Academy, the band seem to have mainstream success firmly in their grasp. 


We sat down with drummer and founding member Oli Khan to discuss the band's first album, their biggest tour to date and the release of their highly anticipated second offering ‘Homesick’. 


So, it’s best to start at the beginning. Your debut album ‘Open up your head’ was recorded and released during the height of the pandemic, what was that experience like? 


We had almost all of it done when the pandemic hit, then all the boring stuff was at the start of the lockdown like deciding artwork. There was a lot of logistical things to sort out but because it was our first release, as far as we were aware that’s how you put out an album, with no live music. Ultimately it was rewarding, and I think we managed to pull it off. 


You absolutely pulled it off! The album was very well received and reached no. 3 in the charts, what did that mean to you as a band? 


Being recognised for anything is great, that’s not what we strive for as a band but it’s nice to be appreciated. It definitely gives you that hunger, now there is something to be, but just the fact so many people listened to it is amazing. That’s what we set out to do, play our music for as many people who want to hear it. 


Was it tough to not necessarily be able to celebrate with the fans as much due to lockdowns etc? 


Yeah, for sure, we did an Instagram live up until the debut album came out, but once it hit midnight we all just kind of went home, so it was inevitably an anti-climax. We said for ‘Homesick’ we want to be playing a live show as the album comes out. 


'All I want to Hear You Say' has become an indie disco staple with over 20m listens on Spotify, do you enjoy that success, or do you feel it puts pressure on future releases? 


Yeah, we definitely enjoy it! We had a year off not doing any festivals last year, then doing something like Neighbourhood in a tent this year, that song went off. Everyone was on shoulders and jumping around, it’s amazing to have something that connects with people like that. 


It’s great to have a bit of pressure on, it gives you something to be. We’re grateful for the opportunities that song has brought us, and we never get sick of playing it live! We love seeing how much people enjoy it and it’s fun deciding where to put a track like that in a setlist. 


I saw you closed your set with it at TRNSMT, everyone belted it out. Why do you think that song resonated with so many people?  


I guess that, along with our song ‘Damage Done’, is a break-up anthem, which almost everyone has been through and can relate to. Whilst ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’ is about a specific relationship, the sentiment is something anyone can associate with. 


What can you tell us about your upcoming album ‘Homesick’ 


We’ve released one single for it called ‘Sick’ and that’s our mission statement for the album. It feels like a little bit of a departure from what we were doing, all the singles from the first album were indie bangers whereas this one slows you right down and is more contemplative. It’s definitely more direct, which is what this next album is, more streamlined and direct and everything in its right place. 


It takes what we did with the first and runs with it in lots of directions, pulling in more influences than the first album. Hopefully, it’s a good almost hour of anyone’s time! 


Lyrically ‘Sick’ is heavy and different stylistically from your previous releases, what made you choose that song as the first single?


You feel like, we’ve got this thing, let's tear it down a little bit. It felt like a little bit of a risk to put something out that our fans wouldn’t necessarily expect. You’d think with the second album, let's go on with a bang and go for the Indie disco songs, but it was like no we really love this song. It’s about the lyrics and is maybe more grown up in sound, that was important for us to plant the flag for the album. 


Do you enjoy surprising fans in that way? 


Definitely, and on this album, there are more surprises like ‘Sick’. There’s a song called ‘Sleeping With You’ that is quite electronic. What we don’t ever want to do is repeat ourselves, we stay in the same genre, but I don’t think there’s a song you could confuse with another one of our songs. Everything on this album has its own identity. 



With ‘Homesick’ you were in a studio in Brixton whilst the producers were over in California, how did that affect the creative process? 


We did the album with Larry in Brixton, who recorded our first LP, but about half the songs were co-produced with Jacknife Lee who lives in LA. There was a lot of sending things back and forth through the night! His role was to basically cut through the crap and if something wasn’t good, he’d tell us. He’s very good at pushing his ideas and if there was a lyric that was too airy-fairy, he’d ask us what we were trying to say and tell us to fucking say it. He was very important in streamlining the songs. ‘Sick’ is packed with hooks and moments that he’s great at pulling the focus onto and there’s a lot more of that on the album. 


Do you think he has heavily influenced the album and its sound? 


There were still a few tracks that were just us and Larry but even those have been pushed due to working with Jacknife Lee. With him having worked with huge bands such as U2 and Snow Patrol, he can always be there to lift songs up another 10%. Our song ‘Hometown’ was always going to be a big song, but it’s better due to his presence. 


You're playing some big and famous venues such as Brixton Academy and Barrowlands now you’re becoming more and more successful, do you get extra nervous for such shows? 


We’ve been excited for Barrowlands since we announced it a year ago, so it’s crazy that playing places like that is finally happening! I’ve been there once, and it was never on our radar that it would be somewhere we would actually play. The same with Brixton, just playing Scala was my goal but we’ve long since past that. I’ve actually worked the bar at Brixton so it’s going to be weird to be on the stage and have someone in the position I was in. 


The Forum was the last big show we did in London and gigs like that feel like a weird dream, they’re amazing but it feels like it isn’t actually happening at times. 


Is there a venue or crowd that you’re always particularly excited to play? 


The further north you get the crazier it tends to be. We always have amazing shows in Manchester, our first record store tour gig was at Manchester Gorilla which is a venue we love and that was the first time we played loads of new songs which was exciting. Manchester crowds always give about 50 times more energy than we give! 


Like you say with TRNSMT and people going crazy, Glasgow is always an excitable crowd, but they’re all amazing, so I can’t really pick a favourite! 


If you could tour with one current band/artist, who would it be? 


Someone like Kings of Leon were a band we grew up idolising and they showed you how big a rock band can be, The Killers also. We’re not shy about saying we love those bands and we’d kill for the chance to play alongside them. 



What does the future look like for ‘Sea Girls’? 


We’ve got our new album and loads of shows! We’re just going to keep doing what we do and play to as many people as we can and kick as much arse as we can! 


James Ogden 


Image: PRESS 

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