We’ve got the first play of the latest SAINT track ‘O Y’. Following up from his previous track ‘Found’. ‘O Y’ is a delicate and subtle record, which opens with a mournful falsetto vocal, before giving way to a tender piano-led melody. This is the most vocally rich track we’ve heard from the London-based artist so far. Which pairs perfectly with an elegant and nuanced use of synths with seems to bubble up through the track like birds taking flight. All of which eventually leads towards a soaring and beautifully cinematic string section in the tracks closing third.
‘O Y’ is a track that unfolds itself seductively upon each listen. Peeling back it’s many layers to reveal subtle intricate production with each pass. A soothing and mesmerising track which requires your full attention.
We caught up with SAINT to ask him some questions in an attempt to delve deeper into the world of the newcomer.
Hi SAINT thanks for sitting down with us. You’ve been pretty mysterious so far. Do you think this adds a layer of interest to your music? And do you ever see yourself stepping out of the shadows?
I’ll probably have to step out of the shadows to some extent when I come to play a live show, which will definitely happen in the new year. I do quite like the fact that nobody really knows who I am though; often with music, a person’s appearance might change the way you perceive it. An example would be, Jack Garratt I think he’s great and I remember hearing ‘The Love You’re Given.’ It was the first time I’d heard him and it’s got that kind of smooth falsetto D’Angeloesque chorus. Then when I watched a video of him live I was like “whoa, this guy’s got a big massive beard.” I wasn’t expecting him to look like that, but I totally don’t know if I would’ve taken his music in differently if I knew what he looks like.
‘O Y’ is your third release, how have you found the response to your music so far?
Far greater than I ever could’ve anticipated. I’ve gone from casually messing around in my flat with a loop pedal to here in four months and it’s really exciting.
How would you go about describing your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music before?
The songs are ambient and ethereal, but they’re still pop songs. They’ve got this sort of cinematic element to them as well. A recurring theme of the lyrics of the songs is the topic of memory. They’re bittersweet and reflective songs, there may be even tinges of retrospective break-up song in some of them, but not in a Sam Smith kinda way. They’re hopeful sounding songs and that’s what O Y is about.
You describe your sound as ambient with a hint of the cinematic, but who are your influences?
It’s a funny one because this music sounds nothing like a lot of my favourite musicians/bands. I have completely random and eclectic musical tastes. With SAINT I feel that people might (if I’m lucky) make a James Blake comparison, and I do love what he does. You can also maybe hear bits of Radiohead in these songs and I’m also really into what Lapsley is doing. Maybe that’s what you can hear in SAINT, but then I also listen to artists like Hiatus Kaiyote and Robert Glasper, which are nothing like this music. I also love my acoustic and folky stuff. For example I’m massively into a singer called Chris Wood, who writes brilliant beautiful songs. I take inspiration from all of these people but I wouldn’t say I’m like a musical potpourri of these artists – SAINT is the sound that I wanted to make and it doesn’t sound that much like the stuff I normally listen to.
You’re originally from Manchester, but are now based in London. How do you think this move has influenced your sound?
I think the sheer speed at which everyone lives in this city means that I get back to my flat after another mad day of pushing and shoving, and all I want to do is play chilled stuff on the piano. London is also the forefront of the UK’s music scene so I have a great insight into what’s going on and what everyone else is doing with their songs. Manchester is a great music city where I lived for many years, but I actually come from a little way out of town, right at the foot of the South Pennines, which is where I go to track my piano parts. You can see the wayward landscapes of the pennine moorland from the window and that has always inspired me to write.
What big things are happening on the London music scene right now? Any new music tips for the new year?
Everyone needs to check out JP Cooper’s live show. He’s getting more and more well known and he deserves it because that man can SING. There’s also a band called Post Louis who are writing really beautiful, slightly off the wall songs. They are great. Also lastly, there’s a little known singer who lives in Sussex called Marna. Not many people know about her but there are some really beautiful songs on her Soundcloud, especially one called ‘Taller’ which I really like.
What next for SAINT, is there an EP on the horizon? Live Shows?
Definitely live shows! That’s what I’ll be working on at the start of January. I can’t tell you too much but I can tell you that it’s all going to be just little me with my looper. I’ve got a few tracks waiting in the wings and I’ll be writing some more songs. I’m taking as it comes I guess. We shall see.
Thanks SAINT and can’t wait to hear what the new year brings.
SAINT’s new track ‘O Y’ is streaming now.