Saint Barae has been an absolute powerhouse over the past few years in the local Brisbane and Gold Coast scene, and for good reason. With one of the most energetic live shows from any local pop act, Barae’s performances are not just something to watch, but something to experience. With his 2020 track Edge of Nowhere amassing almost 26,000 Spotify streams and a SOLD OUT show with BOO SEEKA earlier this year, he continues to impress. And last Friday’s new track Boys! is no exception. Boys! is a beautifully vulnerable anecdotal bop surrounding Barae’s personal struggles with discovering how to define his masculinity and queer identity. Playing with the phrases “be a man” and “boys will be boys”, the song is a beautiful recounting of the suffering faced in becoming your best and most confident, authentic self.
Inspired by the song and everything Saint Barae has to offer, I was lucky enough to garner a moment of his time to pick his brain.
You’ve just released your latest track Boys!. What inspired the song?
You know, it’s been a really exciting time to release this track when we’re having important conversations about masculinity. I wrote this song about my own struggles fitting into traditional ideas of what it means to be a man and how I’ve come to terms with my own vulnerability through music. Its kind of a gay cliché love song on the surface of unrequited love but beneath that its ultimately about strength through opening up about the experiences I’ve kept hidden deep.
Your production style is super unique and recognisable to your ‘sound’. What albums/ artists inspired you to shape that?
Thank you! I’ve been listening to a lot of my favourite artists that inspired this track lately like The 070 Shake and Tame Impala – I feel like this one in particular sways back to that retro synth pop vibe I fell in love with when I started making music so its also a nod to that.
The song is more open and vulnerable than a lot of the other music you’ve released in the past, particularly speaking so candidly about the hardships faced while coming to terms with your sexuality. Was this a difficult thing to bring out to the public?
I think it’s gotten a little easier with each release and its like a form of release and catharsis for me to put music out that is so deeply personal. When I was making this record I really didn’t think too hard about how people would react because at the end of the day I make music for myself – but if anyone can relate and it helps them too then that’s a bonus.
One thing I love the most about you as an artist is your fun stage persona! From the pantsuits to the bubble machines to the way you interact with the crowd, you’ve always been so fun to watch play! What inspired this persona and your overarching brand?
Honestly, I just want people to have fun when they come to my shows. My live set is a safe space for any walk of life and it’s one of the only times I feel completely free from fear of judgement. I guess I take a lot of inspiration from drag queens in that way, how they are able to embody so much confidence through transforming themselves into a heightened version of who they already are.
You just played a SOLD OUT show with BOO SEEKA! How was that experience? And was there anything you learnt from playing with such a hugely recognised artist?
It was so surreal! I only got booked for that show a week in advance so I didn’t really have enough time to soak it all in. Honestly my takeaway from that show is just how awesome it is to be with a crowd that could dance again. The audience was so receptive and happy to support live music and for me that overcame all my nerves.
What are the 3 most influential albums you’ve ever heard that you never tire of?
Wow what a question! Recently Rina Sawayama’s self-titled album a literal musical masterpiece. Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ is pure bops, no skips. And Grimes’ ‘Visions’ – its so surreal and ahead of its time.
You’ve been making lots of appearances around the local Gold Coast and Brisbane scene. Which artists around you are you the most inspired by/ the biggest fan of?
I’m a big fan of so many, it’s so hard. But at the moment seeing my contemporaries like Jaguar Jonze, DVNA and Hope D killing it in the industry inspires me so much!
Despite the prevailing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you seem to be doing very well for yourself in terms of performances and releases. Did you face any set backs due to this time period? And did you face any positives?
It’s definitely been a learning curve and affected the way I approached recording music last year. All the tracks on EP where recorded in a walk in closet because I didn’t have access to a studio – but in a weird way I think it brought out the best in me because these songs are so vulnerable and being in my own space allowed me to go to those places really easily.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to making their own music?
Collaborate with anyone and everyone to build a team of people who bring out the best in you! I’m still learning to trust my own ideas and that comes with practice of being with people who push me to take my music even further.
And finally, what does 2021 look like for Saint Barae?
Definitely a full EP. I promise this time! I have a lot more exciting live opportunities coming up too that I can’t announce just yet – but keep an eye on my socials and you’ll be the first to know.
Boys! is available on all platforms!
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