Here is a bit of contemporary Germany for you. This is Safi, a dark powerhouse and badass band I discovered at a show in Berlin some months ago. Safi is the lead singer, guitarist and electronic producer. Matthias Becker is on the bass and guitar and Frank Semmer is the drummer who came from the land of jazz. The trio is fresh out of an interesting gig in a boxing ring. Here Safi reviews their past few months and ponders about the future.
You just had a bit of a different show. How was it?
Yes, we had a very different show than usual. We got to play in a boxing match in Berlin and played in the boxing ring – in the middle of the hall, in front of the PA at the sold out Lido. I had a few ambitions to box a while ago, and I wanted to see fights anyway. So we hit two birds with one stone. It was an excellent evening with excellent fighters!
What is rock to you in 2016?
Rock is no longer a contemporary term for me in 2016. I’d even say it was never really the term to classify my music. When I started making music, I was still in classical musical education and then after that I studied art. I have experimented a lot with voice and sounds and recorded small sessions on cassettes. The first performable song I wrote was on the acoustic guitar and later on the bass. Soon after that, I wanted to be very loud and implement my ideas with other musicians. A lot of noise and lyric: this is my basic energy.
Is music a political act?
If music wants to say something, it should be both a political act and art at the same time. Both art and political acts are simultaneously criticism. There can also be simple beautiful art, but I think this also turns into criticism in the context of time. For me, my music is an artistic act to throw as knives. I am a powerful, but I’m also a thoughtful person and I always observe my environment. I do not like many things I see, and being close to my own thoughts and insights are the basis for the content I take to music and, above all, what I put in the lyrics. The way that I can formulate the language, to find the right approach and sharpen it, to develop something very intrinsic is all in the focus. Some people in the audience can relate and they are the ones who deal with music and art and can elaborate their own thoughts. With them, a concert becomes a dialogue.
How is it as a woman to evolve in the music world?
This “woman or not woman” thing in the music does not affect me substantially. I do not have to prove anything or to be treated preferentially. I see myself as a stand-alone creating person.
Do you feel your stage persona and you as an everyday life person are different?
Completely different. This is because I have a second life as a graphic designer. There are completely different rules. Not in the matter itself, the creative process, but in the situation as a service provider and consultant to my clients. If I decided just to make music, this perception probably would flow into the music and I would start writing hits… right?!
How do you feel about social media? Can social media be “rock’n’roll”?
With social media activities, you can present yourself as you want to be. You can build your own art figure and show the world your favorite face. For me this is a tool, a devil, it is a creation and it is also rock’n’roll. You can do a lot with it, but you need time. It is not the real world and you are vulnerable to attacks there. I feel ambivalent though towards how social media platforms are opinion amplifiers but are often based on inadequate research and non-profound knowledge, and on creating cheap sensational excitement. I always try to make straight, reflective, informative and neutral posts that have a certain aesthetic appeal.
Any specific plans for 2017?
I am concentrating more on music in the future. I do not know what the consequences will be, but it already feels right. And we will all benefit from it… but most of all the audience, I hope!
Learn more about SAFI here: http://safimusic.com
Photography by www.TorstenHelmke.de