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Interview with Said Sara
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My parents’ records were my first journey into music: Fleetwood Mac, Dave Mason, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles. Music informs literally everything in my life, so I can’t imagine a life without it. I’m a highschool teacher, and teaching is just a performance: doing multiple things at once with the hands and voice. Music is aligned with, and in turn aligns everything.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Running is when I do my best musical thinking.
How long have you been making music?
Since preschool, so 50 years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I was born and raised in San Francisco, California, a hugely influential part of the world for genres vast and groundbreaking. From The Jefferson Airplane to Exodus to the Dead Kennedys, the Bay Area informs everything I do.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I just played my inaugural show as Said Sara, so that will remain in my memory forever. My band Acephalix played an amazing show in Copenhagen, Denmark in September. That 36 hour trip will always be with me. The first gig I ever played was at the historic Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco in 1984 (now I’m really dating myself!) Sloppy, but intrinsically memorable.
What is your favorite venue to play, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, CA. It always has amazing sound and the all ages, volunteer-run vibe makes for a really meaningful experience.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Barbra Streisand and Elliott Smith
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To someone just getting into it, I’d say record yourself and listen back regularly, and play your recordings for someone whom you trust and admire, but who will also be honest with you. To my younger self: sing in key!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My latest, Same, means the most because of its lyrics’ secretive element. There are truths within that I may never share, so every time I sing it, I’m giving myself the upper-hand in an isolatory world of my own design. Also, singing it while playing some of the intricate guitar parts is a challenge that I’m working through to some success.
Which song is your favorite to play and which gets requested the most?
Bleedways. It flows easily and forces a mood.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
Making the time to write is the most challenging part. Between family, work and other bands’ commitments, it’s hard enough just to sit down to write. Once I carve out the time, the music flows. Said Sara, unlike a lot of folk artists’ work, is riff-based. It’s almost like a punk or metal approach to writing acoustic folk (which makes sense, since I play both and have for years). The writing of lyrics is another story; this can take weeks for one song. Once it’s all written and recorded, learning how to play it live can be difficult as well!
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
The darkness seems to always come through. I’ve tried in the past, to little avail, to write happy music – but it just doesn’t sit. I love deathrock, hardcore, black metal, etc., and there is a place for those themes in acoustic folk music. With Same, I’ve written an intimate love song with the word disembowel in it. The uplifting or hopeful messages lie beneath, but they’re there if you listen closely.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’ll continue to gig with/as Said Sara through the spring and summer. Another EP is next, but it may take me a year!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?