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Cover Story: Saint Mela (Sneak Peek)

The level of insight and wisdom the three members of Saint Mela are about to impose on you is divine. After grappling with the restrictions that have come with New York’s quarantine, Saint Mela is choosing to look on the bright side. For many artists, this volatile pandemic has forced a change in perspective. Health and wellness is key for Saint Mela and their latest EP titled all for this strange baptism contains the perfect sounds to carry you into the new year. See the first three parts of their cover feature below and be sure to order your own print version to read the full version.

Cover Photo by Liz Maney

Would you all like to introduce yourselves to the readers of BOP?

Steve: Thanks for having us! I’m Steve, I play an MPC Sampler and Keys. I also do a lot of the engineering and instrumental production and I make the breakfast tacos when we play out of town shows.

Wolf: Hey, I’m Wolf. I’m lead vox, and the lyrics are mine as well. I also manage the band!

Josh: Hi! I’m Josh, I play bass synth. Someday I’ll graduate to playing a bass guitar.

Your music has a soul that is truly larger than life, which must come from a powerful connection between the group. What brought you all together to form Saint Mela?

Steve: Wolf and I met about 10 years ago in college, where I was trying to jump into engineering and production. She was playing in another band and I remember just being floored by her voice and her writing. I DM’d her on Facebook offering to record her for free (shoot your shot). We formed a close friendship and started writing and producing just the two of us in 2014, which would become Saint Mela. Josh was a friend of ours and got on board in 2017. I just love what he adds—he would probably describe his energy as ‘chaotic’ but I think that’s exactly something Wolf and I need, the last piece of the puzzle. We all live in the same neighborhood (Flatbush) now and haven’t stopped writing and passing demos back and forth for the last three years. We’re family! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wolf: Yeah, like Steve said, we’ve known each other since freshman year. He helmed production on my first real recordings, and we bonded and clicked. The bulk of this started as a final project of his in college that I collaborated on, and it was such a unique space. Having a weekly session to just write and record anything; any vibe I was riding, any genre I felt like tasting, without having to ask permission - and I couldn’t let it go. Had to make it a thing. Josh has been a true homie of mine for almost the same amount of time, like 8/9 years, and should have been in this project all along. I remember, sometime around 2017 we were suggesting him for another project, and then Steve suggested we take him on, and it felt like a no-brainer. So we’re almost a decade deep and I think that comfortability comes through a bit. I’m grateful that they help me figure out what I need to make things from a quiet, honest, space.

Josh: I’ve been friends with Wolf for almost a decade now. There are not many people I’ve been friends with for almost a decade, and there’s a closeness that comes with that sort of time which I’m really enjoying at this point in my life. I really didn’t know Steve very well until I joined the band a few years ago, but it’s been lovely getting to know him better these past few years, not to mention learning from both him and Wolf as we continue working together. The emotionality of this music doesn’t just come from raw brushstrokes, it comes from the precision, uncompromising vision, and incredible work ethic of Wolf and Steve. They are both legends in the making.

Tell us about the types of music that keeps you all inspired on a daily basis.

Steve: We’re inspired by Missy Elliott (forreal, look at her resume). Man, I don’t know. This’ll sound tacky but we really listen to a broad range of music, as I think everyone does to some extent in 2020. Do people still say ‘oh, I never listen to ____’ ? That take feels so limited these days. There’s so much good music out there. We’re lucky to be part of an extended family of other Brooklyn musicians and frankly I’m inspired most by them. Some you’ll hear playing on on our recent EP, like Sebastian Adé and FIELDED, and Drew Hart (bassist).

Wolf: I have a weird attention span, so I can’t really point to anything daily. Generally what I’m listening to depends on what I’m using to prop myself up that day, it’s very mood driven. Makes me a terrible person to give the AUX too. Some point last week I got stuck in a loop of “You Are All I See” by Active Child. Then at some point I needed to clean everything and I listened to Flo Milli’s “Eat it Up” on repeat for three hours straight. I’ve been listening to Fielded’s “Sacrifice Zone” when I’m on my switch. Also been listening to Yaeji, Lous and The Yakuza, Bree Runway, the new Lianne La Havas record, and a couple older James Blake records that give me peace. I bounce around a lot and keep the bits that really move me.

Josh: Lol, I am also a terrible person to give the AUX too, most days. I drift towards the ethereal and serene, the sort of shit that most people would use to go to sleep. And when I’m in a worse mood, I like to let more dissonance in, more aggressive drums and wrong-sounding chords. Recently I’ve been in love with Samora Pinderhughes’ music, which has an aching quality that hits home for me. I found Ayoni’s music pretty recently as well, and that’s been my music for the better days. Ayoni has the obvious pop star potential that Doja Cat exuded a few years ago, but without the penchant for shock as a fame device. I hope she’ll break through anyway, because her voice is incredible and her songwriting is catchy as hell.


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