Hi Far, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hello! Thanks for having me. Feel free to call me Eric 🙂
I’m doing well, thanks! Summer is finally in full swing in Amsterdam, people are getting vaccinated, some festivals will go ahead, things seem to be getting better.
Can you talk to us more about your song “Wait To Be Squeezed”?
I wrote it after my partner and I decided to leave London. We were in a tiny flat, I was in the middle of Film University, extremely unsure if I could ever get a job in the industry that did not involve working for free most of the time. The same feeling I felt about Sao Paulo, Brasil started to pop up for London.
Even though I love the city and it felt like home in many ways after 9 years there, the city was squeezing me out and it was time to move on, spend what was left of the student loan on bare basic DYI musician gear and make music with total independence.
The saxophone on the track is, by total coincidence, played by a Londoner that relocated to Amsterdam at around the same time, for the same reasons.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I’m a very slow writer when it comes to lyrics. I need to take time off from the song to be able to come back to it with fresh ideas, so it’s hard to pinpoint one particular event for the entire song. However, I can give an example of an event that inspired the line ‘I’m calling out no names, just calling you to say – Your phone keeps me awake’.
Late last year in the middle of the pandemic, a relative of mine came over as he claimed he needed some time off from the wife and the kids. He complained about how he didn’t have time to do anything he wanted, like reading books. In the entire 5-day stay he touched the book he brought in once, reading 2 pages in total. The rest of the time he was following the American election news on his phone. Every once in a while he would try to get a reaction from me on the latest Fox News lie being spread.
It’s almost a morbid way to follow the news, always wishing for something terrible to be happening so that something even worse might happen after that, which might by some miracle turn you into a cool and single 21 year-old or whatever their dream is.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Absolutely! The video for ‘In Those Days’ was so well received that, after I drop the one for ‘Serious’ (coming out this weekend), a few more songs from the album will be getting their own videos.
The single comes off your new album Pest Controlled – what’s the story behind the title?
In 2020, as I released a Single with the first song I ever recorded as Far Mah Sea, it was called ‘Pest Control’. The song talks about as an immigrant in Brexit Britain, I was starting to feel like some people were seeing us as pests. At the same time, I felt like pests were taking over governments all over the world. ‘Pest Control’ was what it felt like being portrayed as but also feeling that the others are pests that need to be controlled.
As the album came out in 2021, one of the biggest pests finally got controlled and went to where it belongs: Florida.
How was the recording and writing process?
Lengthy. But it was a great way to learn how to do it yourself. I’ve been in bands and recorded music before but doing everything yourself is a steep learning curve. It’s quite hard to focus on a guitar solo if you are also the engineer checking the levels and whatnot. Lyrics-wise, most of them are written way after the song is finished. I usually write short little lyrics for non-existing songs, then I add lines I like from them to the actual song I’m working on. It’s a good way I found to filter cliches.
I also read a lot and whenever stuck, I would grab the last page I was reading and see if there’s a word, sentence or even sentiment that could save me.
Influenced by many cultures – what’s the thing you seem to always draw from these?
What’s best in them. Food, music, art, jokes… The best of us needs to be amplified, always. The worst tends to be a very narrow-minded and by default, mono-cultured or at least, mono-cultured driven. It’s what we could all do without.
What made you want to approach this album as a film editing project?
I decided that if I wanted to make experimental music, films might be a good career to pursue (as I then could make my own soundtracks and there’s no need for a band for that). However, as I started editing films (and making soundtracks), I realized that I could make and edit music in the same approach (minus all the visual work!). A teacher of mine (William Brown) was also very influential in suggesting that I shouldn’t try to hide budget limitations, I should embrace them. The more you try to disguise who you are, the more you sound like someone else.
What aspect of anxiety did you get to explore on this record?
Climate anxiety, job insecurity, fear that democracy is sleepwalking to its demise whilst most of us don’t seem to care. These are real anxieties for millennials, and they are explored in songs like ‘In Those Days’ where the protagonist’s girlfriend is an activist trying to do something about it. And even though the character admires her and the cause, melancholy takes over him if it’s a rainy day and she’s out protesting.
There are also plenty of fake anxieties in first world countries, as someone who came from a country with serious inequality and injustice, it’s almost comical to hear of ‘troubles and tribulations’ of someone who chooses to ignore their privilege.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Karl Ove Knausgaard’s 6-book series ‘My Struggle’ was very influential on my choice of words and themes. Trying to create slices of life in a few words.
I was also heavily inspired by the humor in Captain Beefhart and John Lennon lyrics. As well as Itamar Assumpcao and CloudDead.
What else is happening next in Far Mah Sea’s world?
In October I will release an album of B-sides and Instrumentals to clean off the slate and right after that I will start recording the second album in earnest. 3 songs are ready and I’m looking forward to experimenting with some outdoor recording for the drums for the other ones.
Apart from that, I’m hoping to perform some concerts once things are a bit more ‘controlled’.
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