San Mei AKA Emily Hamilton began her musical journey at the keys of her family piano, a consequence of a love ingrained and inherited from her dad’s favourite Beatles records and penchant for classic 60’s pop. Using art as therapy, her songs became a conduit for escape and to shoulder the loss of her mother. Armed with just a MIDI-keyboard and a Macbook San Mei was born.
The DNA of her creativity and pop-influencers matured, taking tips from her guitar driven heroes Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cat Power and Feist. The now Triple J favourite, shrugged off the bedroom-pop producer epithet and landed in the fuzzy world of dream pop, fused with overdriven, psych tinged guitars, and atmospheric synth melodies, and this is where she found her sonic shelter. We're super excited to have this queen on the Rainbow Revolution lineup and look forward to hearing her belt out her latest single ‘Wonder’.
1) Have the visual arts influenced your style of music?
I definitely find that visual arts like film & fashion inspire me to create - anything that moves me or transports me to another place brings out creativity in me when I’m making music.
2) Who are your top five style icons?
Yoko Ono, Alison Mosshart, Alexa Chung, Debbie Harry, Julian Casablancas
3) Does your musical creativity overflow into different areas of your life or is it solely channeled through music?
I’d like to say i was creatively skilled in other areas but alas, I think it’s only music. Haha.. I’m probably more of a consumer when it comes to other creative areas, especially books & film - and the inspiration there definitely flows into my music
4) Your sound has a dreamy shoe gaze quality to it - is that something you purposely set out to achieve, or was it an accidental by-product of experimentation and working with different artists? How do you feel your sound has evolved over the last few years?
As someone who’s constantly day dreaming & a bit of a hopeless romantic, i think the dreamy soundscape is just something i naturally gravitate to and can’t help create. Artists like The Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Mazzy Star, Beach House have definitely been a part of shaping my sound. I think my music has always had that kind of element to it, but where in the past i leaned heavily on synth sounds, I’ve lately been exploring my love of guitar music and really enjoying bringing the two together.
5) What's your favourite aspect of being a musician today?
I love the ability as a musician today to immediately reach people no matter where they are in the world, when putting out music. I’ve found that a lot of people enjoying my music are based in other parts of the world and that’s a really exciting feeling. I guess that’s a pretty cool aspect of social media and the different options we’ve got for streaming music.
6) Lastly, we're so excited to have you play at Rainbow Revolution. What would your dream festival to go to be?
I’m so excited to be a part of it!! Hmm i don’t know how to choose just one, but Glastonbury has always been up there for me. And playing Splendour as an Aussie musician is definitely on the bucket list!
For more info about San Mei visit these links:
Insta | Facebook | Twitter | Links to DSP
If you want to go to dreamland with San Mei, come along to Rainbow Revolution at Miami Marketta on the 28th September. Tickets available here.
Photos of San Mei by Savannah van der Niet