For this week’s edition of “Hello, My Name Is…” BreakThru Radio was able to speak with three very interesting bands about the origin of their band names. SAFE, Soft Cat, and Fool’s Gold all shared the stories behind their monikers.
First, BTR spoke with SAFE, a singer/songwriter/producer from East Bay, CA, not only because his name is unique but because we’re obsessed with his debut EP, which he recorded in a basement with a midi keyboard and a USB microphone. His music is best described as electronic-folk: the songs are simple and earnest, and the hooks are addictive.
SAFE consists solely of Christopher Edley III, who is a fresh face to the music scene after previously working in video production (he art-directead MGMT’s video “Time to Pretend,” and did production design on their video “Electric Feel”). SAFE’s debut EP is available on cassette tape and is available for download via Mediafire for those who use computers instead of tape-decks to satisfy their music needs.
BTR caught up with SAFE to ask where he got his name, and whether he was worried about it being difficult to search for on the Internet.
“In St. Croix, where I spent a lot of time as a kid, the Rastas say “Hello/How are you? like that: “Yuh SAFE, man?” “Safe.” I always found that to be a very touching and true way of saying hello. What more can you ask than if someone’s “safe”? When I was coming up with names they all seemed either too clever, like “Party Trap” (a palindrome), or cold (“Census”), or just plain stupid (“Pretty Pretty Girls”). I think the whole idea of my music is to have a lot of fun making weird honest songs. Hence, SAFE. Other people started capitalizing it, and even though it looks like an acronym, I figure it works. There’s concern that it’s ungooglable, but I don’t think I care.”
Catch SAFE live at these upcoming shows:
August 18 – K Records Festival – Olympia, WA
August 19 – K Records Festival – Olympia, WA
Next, BTR spoke with Soft Cat, a Baltimore- based band formed in 2009 by Texas-native Neil Sanzgiri (formerly of Talking Tiger Mountain). Soft Cat is melancholic folk music seemingly inspired by the blighted urban landscape of Baltimore. The lilting melodies are created by frontman, Sanzgiri’s songwriting and guitar, along with Sanzgiri’s companion, Andy Abelow (of Small Sur) on banjo. The duo also incorporates the occasional violin, flute, or saxophone, played by a collection of Sanzgiri’s fellow Baltimore friends and instrumentalists. Soft Cat just put out its debut album, a dark and meditative neo-folk exploration titled Wild Space, this spring. It comes highly recommended!
So, we had to ask… Hey, Soft Cat! Where’d you come up with that name? Sanzgiri was kind enough to fill us in on the details.
“One day while going through the trash in my building, I came upon a strange painting that was perfectly framed and intact. It was a picture of a little girl with hair that turned into a red crow and that crow turned into what I assumed to be her mother. The little girl had bright blue eyes and was looking straight at the viewer, and in her hands she tightly squeezed a cat. I was searching for a name for my album (which was still in the works), and I thought I wanted to make that painting my album cover (which didn’t end up happening). My roommate was the one who said I should name the album Soft Cat.That phrase stuck with me.”
“The name Soft Cat is simple: I wanted the music to surround the listener with a soft blanket of fur. When I was a child, my mother used to cut out a small square of her fur coat to remind me of her while she was away. This is what I want people to feel when they’re listening to Soft Cat.”
Stroke that Soft Cat yourself at these upcoming shows:
May 14, 2010 – Bbox Theater – Baltimore, MD
May 15, 2010 – Bbox Theater – Baltimore, MD
June 18, 2010 – The Hexagon – Baltimore MD
Lastly, BreakThru Radio spoke with Fool’s Gold, an eleven-piece band from Los Angeles that fuses Ethiopian soul and Brazilian funk, with Eritrean pop music. This would be just naming a few of their musical stylings. The band is truly eclectic, its members include an Argentine pop-star (Erica Garcia), a classically-trained composer who studied in Berlin (guitarist Lewis Pesacov), the former drummer of New York rockers We Are Scientists (Michael Tapper), and an Israeli-born American vocalist who sings in both English and Hebrew. The list goes on.
Fool’s Gold plays upbeat, enthusiastic soul-pop with instruments they have collected from around the world, many of which are traditional and handmade—a refreshing antidote to the deluge of 21st century electronica. But what is with that name? Isn’t “fool’s gold” a cheap, lightweight mineral that appears to be more valuable than it really is? BTR spoke with Lead singer, Luke Top about the origin of the group’s name.
“Fool’s Gold is obviously a great Stone Roses song and a bad Matthew McConaughey film (not to be confused with his good ones), but the answer is quite simple: I was driving through San Francisco—me, [Fool’s Gold guitarist] Lewis, and a couple old friends of ours—and this girl was talking about how she found a pile of fool’s gold in the ocean somewhere. At the time we just thought the name was really funny, and it was during the early stages of the band, so it just stuck. There’s really no deep reasoning behind it. I sometimes tell people that it’s a joke on our band.”
Whether that gold is real or not, check them out live:
May 15 – Dawn Festival – San Francisco, CA
May 29 – Gorge Amphitheatre, Sasquatch Festival – Quincy, WA
May 30 – Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC
May 31 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
July 25 – Central Park Summerstage – New York, NY
Be sure to catch all of these talented acts live and listen for their music spinning here on BTR!
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– Hunter Stuart