Edwin Raphael is a poet in a singer’s body. His music is full of deep feelings, imagery and interesting rhyme schemes. The Montreal-based singer-songwriter just dropped a new single “Sea Of Things” and it is a poem to our anxieties. I imagine this song playing when Pip falls off the whale ship in Moby Dick and is left behind in the middle of the ocean and Melville goes on and on about the vastness, the endlessness, the unknown, the terrifying hidden life of the ocean. Poor Pip alone in the sea with nothing but his thoughts. Raphael taps into the parallel apparent in ourselves and the sea. With his light angelic voice and soft tapping melodies the song is full of anxious emotion and beauty.
The music video for “Sea Of Things” is also a poem in itself. A collection of super8, stunning graphics and occasional lines from the song. The video is a perfect visual for what the singer is trying to get across. A healing of sorts. A recognition on its way towards healing. Raphael’s dreamy poetics is all one needs to get out a good cry. We got to talk to the Dubai born musician about moving to Montreal, getting into music, and writing “Sea Of Things.”
What’s the music scene like in Montreal? Are you enjoying it out there? How does it compare to Dubai?
Honestly underrated I think. I think there are so many wonderfully talented artists in this city & I’ve seen some of my favourite little shows in Montreal. I think Dubai hasn’t caught up yet in terms of encouraging arts and culture in a way that upcoming artists could grow. It was definitely something I found vastly contrasting when I first moved here.
What was it like writing “Sea Of Things?” It feels poetic. What were you inspired by? What sparked it all?
It was one of those songs that took a while to come out, I had it in my head for the longest while but when the melodies finally came the words poured out. I think a lot of songs can be stand alone poems too, I definitely do have a slight intuition towards poetry and song being a little intertwined. The song has to do with anxiety and how it loops and isn’t so different for everyone. I parallel anxiety to water to represent the highs, lows and flows. It’s really about coming to terms with the complexities within your head and allowing it to take over.
The music video is very beautiful. How did you come up with the concept? How long did it take to finish?
Thank you! I really wanted the music video to encompass anxiety and the abstract nature of it within your head. I think we brainstormed the concept for the longest bit, we ended up shooting it on super8 and editing it in a manner that would represent all the song textures, the anxietal loop and the notion of feeling underwater. It took about 2 months to edit to get all the details just right. I also want to mention a huge thank you to Calli Cohen for shooting the super8 footage and Jonathan Frydman for all the editing and directional support.
What got you into music? Is there a specific moment you remember being like “ok this is what I want to do?”
Music was one of those organic things for me where it was really just a hobby, an after shower jam, something to quiet my mind. I remember putting out my first EP and not thinking much about it, it was something I wrote to comprehend the change in my life after moving cities and really just pouring myself out. It was only when people started reaching out from everywhere and anywhere telling me how it helped them get through a specific situation that I understood the weight of it. I realized I had this fortunate ability to be a sort of “healer” and be a medium in a sort of way. It’s really something I’m forever grateful for and something I will be very mindful of.
What songs or albums have you been playing on repeat lately?
I’ve been playing Chartreuse’ song ‘Keep Checking Up On Me’ on repeat as well as George Ogilvie’s ‘White Out’ album.
If your music could be the soundtrack of any movie or tv show which would it be?
That’s such a good question, I could see it in the film ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ as well as tv shows like ‘Lost’ or ‘Normal People’.
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photos / Gaelle Leroyer
story / Vogue Giambri