It’s only been half a year since bursting onto the scene, but it already feels as though Safer has become ingrained into the fabric of Brooklyn’s burgeoning DIY rock community. Since releasing the smash hit debut single “Good Things” and playing their first show on the same day, Safer has been a whirlwind of activity, releasing an EP, Sleepless Nights, and a single, “Countercultural Savior”.
With Safer, we see Mattie returning to the sound he's perhaps best known for – his energetic, driving basslines and distinctive vocal were a bedrock of The Rapture's first two albums – while incorporating a powerful, soulful vocal delivery and a well honed pop sensibility that reflects his growth over the past decade.
"In a small way it's like putting on an old, comfortable pair of shoes, but I'm also bringing in elements of everything else I've done, not just stepping directly back to where I was in 2008," he says. It’s dance, soul, rock ‘n roll. It’s got that twitchy post-punk drive and energy but vocally it’s different; more soulful, with elements of the soul and disco that I love.”
Safer’s new releases sound like the music he was always meant to make, but he found his way to it in serendipitous fashion. "It all started after a night out drinking with an old friend…" says Mattie Safer. How many great stories begin with those words? Whether it was the familiarity of the company, the reminiscing, or the wine – capped off by hearing Joy Division blasting from a neighbour's apartment on the way home – something special happened that evening.
I was a bit tipsy, but I heard the music as I was walking and I thought 'That sounds great, I'm going to make something like that when I get home.
The ideas poured out of him. Within four hours of Safer stepping through his front door, he had demoed as many songs on his laptop – guitar, bass and rudimentary drums.
It felt amazing," he says. "I had been working in a different direction for quite a while, but this was so fun and easy. It felt like a relief, more than anything … like visiting an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while.
Once the initial buzz had worn off, hearing his work again in the cold light of the morning after, he was sure he was on to something. A few weeks and some more demoing sessions later, he played the tracks to a handful of trusted friends. Their positive reactions were all the encouragement Safer needed in order to focus fully on what he'd initially seen as an evening hobby, a side project to his 'day job' of writing for and recording with other artists, or developing ideas for a follow-up to his acclaimed 2016 solo EP All We Are. He decided to start a new band.
I was dealing with a lot of different producers," he says. "They'd often be away for a few weeks at a time because they were working on other projects, too, and it was always quite disjointed. This new music, it was just me. I had no intentions or aspirations for it, and I didn't really need anyone else to make it.
And so was born Safer, the new creative vehicle for Mattie’s songwriting and musical talents. That initial session led to a fury of writing and recording over the course of the past year. The sound expanded from its bedroom origins to include live drums and friends who would come through and add additional percussion and vocals. The songs don't sound especially like the British post-punk icons, but the inspiration and circumstances were all he needed to create something of his own. If the music sounds effortless, it's because it was. "It was all about having fun," he says. "It felt like I'd opened up a creative spigot that had been closed off for some time."
Already in this short time Safer has been featured in Clash Magazine, Flood Magazine and Brooklyn Vegan (among others), and with a new single on the way, an album's worth of material recorded, and a slew of upcoming shows Safer is showing no signs of slowing down.