Certainly the most rock of our influences mixtapes to date, Belfast’s Saint Sapphire are fond of a dirty rock sound underneath Samuel Morgan’s often snarled vocal delivery. Their propensity of riffs and punk demeanour is again realised on newly released ‘Pretty Little Animals’. Fresh from shows in London and Belfast last week, there’s no doubt a lot more to come from the four piece this year.
Here their band give us an insight into their formative influences, with only a couple of questionable picks…
The Beach Boys – God Only Knows
It’s one of those songs that I don’t remember hearing for the first time, it’s just always been there. I think it’s a rare example of a song being a wonderful song but also being a really interesting piece of music that would stand its own against the likes of Gershwin, Bernstein etc, but without being too self indulgent. Expanding the boundaries of the four chord song is something that’s always fascinated me, but i’m aware of the fact that i’m only 19 and fairly musically inexperienced so i want to perfect the art of the four chord hit before experimenting more, because far too many people try to be artistic but they don’t have the understanding of the basic four chord song, and it’s like having icing without a cake, and they end up just coming out with self indulgent, distasteful rubbish, and this Beach Boys song is anything but that, it’s a personal benchmark for my songwriting, I’m fully aware that i’ll never write anything as good, but it’s nice to aim high. God only knows what I’d be without Brian Wilson.
The Who – Behind Blue Eyes
This song was the first song I sang as a solo in a school concert way back when I was doing my GCSEs as we were doing a medley of The Who’s music and the raw emotion is something that’s always stuck with me, it sounds far more delicate than the other songs Pete Townshend would write but at the same time, it’s very highly charged and almost quite angry sounding, you really have to dig down and spit out those words to get the song across, and I love being able to feel and express emotions through songs and Pete Townshend’s aggressive acoustic guitar, his equally aggressive lyrics mixed with Roger Daltrey’s raw performance has just always stuck with me, and is more of a performance benchmark singing-wise as opposed to a songwriting benchmark, but that being said I’d be well chuffed if I wrote a song half as good as that.
Black Sabbath – Warning
This is one of those rare, special occasions where a song not only tells a story, but each time you listen to it the beautiful song can take you on a completely different trip each time. It can all depend on your mood, your thoughts or even just listening to the individual instruments. It’s easily overlooked because it’s on arguably one of the most influential albums in history, yet still stands out. It sounds so natural in-between Bill Ward’s iconic, bluesy drums, Geezer’s ripping, melodic yet hectic bass, Ozzy’s coarse yet unstable vocals and Tony’s legendary guitar style. The whole album was recorded in less than a day, and I think this song is the definition of masterful improvisation and sound.
Tom Waits – The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)
In between his perfectly unique voice which cannot be replicated, and his organised yet messy piano lies lyrics which at first thought may seem they were written down in a cocaine filled night with a notepad, paper, whiskey and Marlboro but they’re a perfect example of hiding his thoughts in a song. The way he often growls about the corruption in the world whether it be religion or politics is in the backseat with this song, where for once he talks about his own life in riddles. The instrumentation, the vocals all fits together so intricately in a way that is easily overlooked.
AJJ – Bad Bad Things
How Sean Bonnette of Andrew Jackson Jihad strums like that with only his fingers without slicing them open on the strings will always remain a mystery to me, and it definitely influenced my playing in a big way. This (and many other AJJ songs) inspired me to try faster and more complex strumming patterns which massively improved my playing and added flavour to the stuff I wrote, and still does.
Neutral Milk Hotel – Two Headed Boy
In the Aeroplane Over The Sea is one of my favourite albums of all time and Two Headed Boy inspired my instagram username. P.s. follow me @twoheadedboy__.
AC/DC – Whole Lotta Rosie
AC/DC were one of the first bands I ever listened to and they were one of the first bands that made me realise I wanted to play music. The first time I listened to Whole Lotta Rosie I was seven years old and the experience will always resonate with me. Angus Young’s blistering solo in the live version of the song is main influence in my playing. It’s the tasty blues riffs over the pounding rhythm drums and bass. It’s hard to single out a single song but this one will always stand out as my favourite.
Status Quo – Big Fat Mama
Again, Status Quo were one of the very first bands I listened to and it’s the four chord twelve bar blues shuffle that had me hooked. Big Fat Mama is one of the band’s heavier songs and probably one of the most complex with the breakdown in the middle that ties into the solo. Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are two players I look up to for influence in my rhythm and lead playing, and it definitely shows in how I play with the band.
Tenacious D – Fuck Her Gently
All men, take note, it’s not all about being aggressive and masculine, sometimes there’s gotta be a bit of delicacy and sensitivity.
Pink Floyd – Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict
This is the greatest song of all time and if you disagree, you’re a pillock and you’re wrong. Peace x