Thanks to a series of successful EP’s over the course of the last three years, Sea Girls have become one of the most exciting talents in the indie scene. Now, with their first album Open Up Your Head debuting at number three in the charts, the band are proving just why they’ve been so highly rated. It’s an album where indie, rock and elements of pop come together to make for quite the journey. We chat to the band’s drummer, Oli Khan about how the album came together and what lies next for the British group.
The foundations of the band were built back in school, where Oli and Andrew – who plays bass for band – met, the rest really is history. “The band formed in 2015 though we didn’t release anything properly until 2017. We all met at school, and I’m sure there it was a Geography class where I first met Andrew, but to my credit it was a long time ago! We played in different bands but never quite this formation until both of our bands at the time lost their drummers. We had a bit of a ‘no brainer’ moment and decided to form Sea Girls.”
One of the most difficult decisions for any musician, is choosing a name. It’s something that sticks with you throughout your career and in some ways, defines you. But for Sea Girls, a decision made entirely on impulse was the key to their identity: “It came from a misheard Nick Cave lyric that just kind of stuck. We liked the nostalgia and whimsiness of it, but we also just needed a name pretty quickly at the time!” Thereafter, a series of early EP’s set them on their way, with both ‘Adored’ and ‘Heavenly War’ gaining plaudits. It was a sound synonymous with the indie scene, as Oli describes their music as “rock at its core but borrows elements from all ages of pop music. It feels like music that was made to play live – on big stages. We love gigs, so that just naturally filtered its way into our songs.”
Just last month the passion and energy the band are so known for in their live performances came to fruition on their debut album Open Up Your Head. It was a release that cultivated years of refinery and finalised their journey to becoming one of the most prominent indie bands around. It didn’t too badly in the charts either. “The response has been really amazing – charting at #3 is just incredible. I think with everything going on it was important to go into it without any great expectations because then everything else is a bonus. We knew it was a collection of songs we were proud of, so it feels very rewarding to see so many people connect with it.”
A standout aspect of the album is the song writing. Lead by frontman Henry Camamile, much was inspired by a freak accident and how his life changed over that period. It’s sincere and heartfelt and you find yourself being drawn into such stories. “Henry had quite a bad head injury that lasted a couple of years, so about half of his songs are dealing with the fallout of that and how it affected his brain. We really just set out to make the best collection of songs that we could. It definitely differs from our EPs in that it feels like a grand statement. It’s us finally planting our flag in the ground. Our music is always rooted in our genuine feelings and how to navigate through life and all its pitfalls.”
As with many of the great releases we’ve seen this year, Open Up Your Head was recorded last year, in a very different world to the one it was released in. I wondered if there if the final product came out differently than anticipated, but the band think differently, “I definitely still feel the rush that we had when recording some of these songs.” Stated Oli, “I remember the first time we did a run through of Transplant – we knew it would be special and I still get that exciting feeling listening to it. The main thing that has changed with the pandemic is not being able to play the songs live. To me a song isn’t fully out into the world until we’ve played it at a show. I have so many great memories of specific live shows so I can’t wait for the new songs on the album to become part of that.”
Thanks to the hype built around their earlier releases, there came a sense of expectation with this album. Three years in the making, it felt like the bands journey had led to this point. Four creative minds all having opinions was bound to be one of the biggest challenges such a project has. “There were definitely creative clashes throughout, but I think if you have 4 people who don’t disagree on some things, you’d have 4 liars! What makes Sea Girls is the combination of all of our ideas and tastes, no one’s individual version of Sea Girls is the ultimate one. I think it can really liven up a song when someone brings a different perspective to it that whoever wrote it hadn’t considered. There was never a thought in our mind about delaying the album. We had the date set before this all kicked off and we decided we owed it to our fans to finally get the album out. We’d already taken our sweet time, so it definitely still felt like the right time!”
Open Up Your Head cements Sea Girls’ position at the top of the Indie game. Yet, it feels like we haven’t seen the best of the album yet, with the band set to pull out all the stops for 2021 festival season, as Oli says, “we really can’t wait to play the album for everyone.” What the album proves is that you don’t need to rush releases to make a name for yourself. With pressure from streaming services, artists often run before they can walk. By building a style, their own sound and a legion of followers from the grassroots up, Sea Girls went against the norm to create a fantastic debut album. It’s something they’ll be forever remembered for.