Interview: Sané, The Importance Of Nostalgia And The Influence Of Porter Robinson

Japanese based Sané recently delivered her first release, ‘216 Drive’.

Composed in Japan, and then produced and mixed in both Australia and Norway, the song sits amongst a blissful, glimmering dreamscape of sizzling trap hats, droning guitars, and soothing piano lines. Lyrically, the song is a vulnerable, yet empowering revelation that happiness isn’t found within the body and soul of somebody else, but within the mind, body, and spirit of ourselves.

Following the release of her debut single, Anastasia Giggins had the opportunity to chat with Sané, where the artist revealed more about this idea of happiness, the influence of Porter Robinson, and her plans for the future.

Sané, tell us more about yourself! For people who may not have listened to your music before, how would you describe yourself? 

I was born in San Diego, California. I spent most of my life in North America, just going back and forth. For the last seven years of my life I was studying music in the UK and was writing EDM over there.

Last year, I finally decided to go back to my roots and spend some time in Japan and reconnect with family. I would like to say I’m a positive person. Although I know a lot of people would say I worry a lot as well which is definitely true. Overthinking is something I’m very good at but I think I rarely show it unless I completely trust you. And I can be super loud – but again, trust

Have you always wanted to be a musician? Were you musical growing up?

I think I was about 18 years old when I first even considered music to be something I could do for a living. Before that I was just enjoying playing guitar and covering Bon Iver or Jack Johnson tracks, and pretty much every track from Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange album. After I graduated highschool my dad asked me if I wanted to take some singing lessons and I remember not really thinking too much of it.

I was a super shy girl growing up. I had friends and I was loud in front of them. But ask me to be in the spotlight and I’d get real bad anxiety. I think it comes with being Japanese – being humble, setting your ego aside, everyone-is-equal kind of thing. Standing out of a crowd isn’t something we like to do, or maybe I’m just making up excuses for my lack of confidence now.

I did the typical Asian thing and picked up the Viola and the silver flute while in elementary and junior high school but it didn’t last. I had an amazing flute teacher though and he taught me a lot about breathing exercises, which I still use to this day. He passed away not too long ago and I wish I could thank him for a lot of things. 

Both my parents were musicians. My Mom was a piano teacher before I was born and my Father has been playing in bands and producing for artists since college. He still chills out once a month with his college friends at a private venue just jamming ’til five in the morning. 

Did you have any musical influences when you were growing up? 

I think my musical influences all started from my Dad. He would constantly have on artists and bands like anything Motown, Michael Jackson, Steely Dan, Seal

Once I hit elementary I was in Santa Cruz at the time and the music that was popping out around the 00’s in the states was insane – I was introduced to Usher, Alicia Keys, Brian McKnight, Mariah Carey, Ashanti. I could go on.

But I also listened to the complete opposite end of the spectrum like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Blink 182, ACDC, and Sublime. I just remembered a band called TRAPT; they had a dirty track called ‘Headstrong’ – brings back so many memories!

Who influences and inspires you?

Definitely Frank Ocean. Jhené AIko as well, not so much as an influence in terms of writing but her Souled Out album was just something I never heard before. It saw me through a lot. She is definitely an inspiration. In fact Ally and I are working on a cover of one of her songs just for fun!

UMI too! She’s also half Japanese and her voice is so beautiful and her lyrics are honest. I love that. Aside from the R&B side, Porter Robinson has really inspired and influenced me.

He brings his music to life with his love for anime as well, and the love he has for the Japanese culture. Whenever I listen to any of his songs I get hit with this feeling of nostalgia. I always say a lot Japanese music and anime always feels nostalgic to me; or it has this sense of longing. And sometimes it’s about romance and love but most of the time it’s way deeper than that. More like the connection between a brother, a sister, a mother or a childhood friend. I also think it’s because he’d pair his energetic, happy beat with lyrics that are actually quite sad. 

If you had the chance to perform or collaborate with another artist, who would it be? 

I’d love to collaborate with Porter. That has always been a dream of mine.

What are you currently listening to now? 

There’s a new track out by Aminé called ‘Compensating’ feat. Young Thug – it’s really good. Every track of his is good. Also, the entire new album Umoja by Skinshape.

Are there particular themes that you write about that you always go back to or any sort of favourite topics you like to write about? 

Someone said I write apologetically. But again, I think that’s where my Porter influence comes in, I like simple and direct lyrics usually. And they’re about a longing for something, usually for a change, for acknowledgment, for love for freedom. The way I write might be apologetic.

There is one song I am writing with another friend of mine that is about self esteem (or lack thereof) but it sounds like a love song which is nice as well! So yes, I think I do like to write certain themes more than others but sometimes I get a little insight into something and it helps me step out of that shell, for sure.

What’s your songwriting style? Do you have a particular style that you write all of your songs with? 

This one is hard to answer! I used to write more EDM style lyrics. So, super simple, direct; the basic verse, build up, drop chorus structure. I usually build my lyrics or topline over tracks that others give me so I don’t particularly have a style. But this new track, I had this guitar chord progression – it was a lot different before – and the first verse you hear; I had that playing over and over in my head for almost 3-4 years I think. But that track in the end didn’t have much of a structure either, we kind of went along with whatever sounded good to us. I would like to say I do have a particular style, but I’m not sure!

What can we expect from you in the future? What are your plans for the rest of 2020, going into 2021? 

I’ve been writing for J-Pop artists and other Japanese producers this year and haven’t had the time to write too much for myself but I think this year Ally and I got a lot of songs lined up. I’m also working with a few of my friends who are more in the EDM scene which I am looking forward to getting back into as well. I’ve been stalking some Japanese R&B and Hip-Hop artists as well to hopefully get under their radar and land a collab.

Hopefully! Only good waves ahead.

For people wanting to find out more information about you, where can we find you? 

I haven’t been able to create a site just yet for myself so I think Instagram is the best place to get in touch with me, or just to stay updated – @sanemuri!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAz9-USnOCB/

‘216 Drive’ is available across all streaming platforms. Make sure to listen to it on Spotify below!

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