There was a point in time when the best music came out of garages—take The Ramones, Nirvana, The Kinks, and The Runaways for example. Now, it seems like the digital age has changed all that, drawing creatives to their bedside laptops and MicroKorgs. Just look to San Mei, Emily Hamilton’s solo venture, for instance.
The Gold Coast native’s bedroom project has blossomed over the past two years, as her self-produced sound has evolved into a cloud of trancelike, brooding synth pop. “Wars,” her latest single, may be three months old, but it’s still managed to stay in the typically-short-minded-interweb’s steady rotation of tunes. If you aren’t already familiar, expect to hear the singer’s sweet melodies and Berlin-esque beats everywhere and anywhere, especially with the release of her nostalgic, hologram-filled “Wars” video. After all, no matter where the music is born, great talent can’t be contained in just one room.
We wanted to know more about the sartorially-minded, center part-wearing woman behind the music, so we got the down-low from Hamilton herself.
How did you first get into music?
I’ve played music since I was little, starting out with the piano when I was really small, but only really started playing in bands over the last 5 years or so. San Mei is a relatively new solo project for me, and I’m loving being able to create my own sound.
How would you describe your sound?
Mmm, I would say my sound is quite direct, a little dreamy and very heart-on-sleeve. When I make music, I think there’s a big warm vibe coming through, which I combine with lots of fuzzy synths and sweeping rhythms.
What was the inspiration behind “Wars”?
I wrote “Wars” about someone close to me, and my admiration for their ability to be unwavering in their convictions and in speaking the truth, even to the point of controversy or being the enemy, i.e. starting wars. I was just thinking how cool that was one day, so I wrote about it! There’s nothing too deep going on here.
The video is a sort of a kaleidoscopic digital mashup of iconic historical moments. What was the inspiration behind it?
I wanted the video to be kind of light hearted and reflect the theme of “Wars” in a playful way, and so I thought the old school clips of athletes and scenes of people competing, juxtaposed with the colours and “kaleidoscopic” moments, was a cool way to reflect the meaning behind the song.
What are your musical plans?
I’ll be putting out another release towards the Spring/Summer here in Australia, which I’ll be playing lots of shows around! Pretty excited about that. Come next year there are a few more exciting things on the way too.
What have you been listening to lately?
I get weirdly obsessed with a couple of albums or artists at different times and have them on repeat for a while. At the moment it’s probably Cloud Control’s new album, some Frank Ocean, some new Lana Del Rey… on repeat. I can’t say what it will be next week.
Lastly, any tips for pulling off a center part?
Ah, the center part, there’s no real trick to it. Confidence is key. Just center part like nobody’s watching.