SAFIA – Paranoia, Ghosts & Other Sounds

It takes an impressive artist to open for the current flavour of the month and everyone’s favourite ‘rock’ goddess, Lorde. Amidst a wave of vampy lipstick cladded girls and a surprisingly large amount of families, a sightly nervous looking band appeared to open. Fair enough.

I’ve noticed it’s more often than not hard to be the local support act for a mainstream international act. If I had a dollar for every time that night I heard a conversation along the lines of “should we go in early and see who’s on?” “nahh, not worth it,” I would be able to hire my own band. But this isn’t about preaching how important it is to support local music – this is about how the band itself has a killer latest release and is worthy of many headlining shows to come. This is about SAFIA.


Warning: the next paragraph is filled with non-accurate musical terms (partly due to the fact I am in no way a musical expert, and partly because I’m currently experiencing post-splendour fatigue). SAFIA is an electronic three-piece hailing from Canberra, which makes me even happier they were chosen to support such a prominent artist right now as they finally had an escape from probably the most boring place in Australia. Their style is geometric in nature, featuring a series of carefully formulated beats and echoing bass lines which hit you right in the sweet spot.

Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds is the latest single to be released from the boys and is personally my favourite track of theirs so far. The song maintains the distinctive sound found in Australian electro-pop with light, relaxed rhythms and various synth creations but with incredibly beautiful vocals. There are only a few men whose voice I describe as beautiful (see Dallas Green and Jackson Dyer just to name a couple) so this isn’t something I throw around lightly.

Ben Woolner sings clearly and soulfully, like smooth chocolate running over the backbeats. The growth from SAFIA’s previous hit Listen to Soul, Listen to Blues is evident as the band opts for less of a dirty trap vibe and more of a breezy electro hit that fits the likes of fellow Canberra duo Peking Duk.

The trio know how to work a crowd (just for the record, their nerves when performing pre-Lorde quickly subsided after the first song) and embody a style of music perfectly suited to their Australian audience. SAFIA has come a long way since winning a spot at JJJ festival Groovin’ The Moo last year and I have a feeling this song will go down very smoothly at festivals in the future. Expect big things.