Move Until You’re Numb – SAAKB (Interview + New Single)
Inspired by the events of the quarantine, “Move Until You’re Numb” is a tribute to forgetting about the status of the world and spending quality time with the ones you love. “Move Until You’re Numb” is an uplifting song about removing uncertainty and enjoying life, loving yourself and loving those around you. The musical styling within the single reflects those of SAAKB’s inspirations: Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Bruce Swedien, Rod Temperton, ToTo, and everyone else involved in making the album’s Off The Wall and Thriller. The lyrical styling tells the story of the highs and lows of the internal struggles of being quarantined with your partner. Though at times it may be tough, focusing on the positives will help you get through anything, even in the darkest of times.
We had the opportunity to ask SAAKB a few questions about his new new single, his thoughts on the Toronto music scene, his first single “Try” and more. Click below to listen to “Move Until You’re Numb” and keep scrolling to read the interview!
Interview with SAAKB
2020 has been a crazy year for all of us. You’ve been able to break through all the noise and make quite a splash this year despite all the potential setbacks, can you tell us about how you’ve kept motivated to keep pushing through everything?
It’s certainly been a memorable year, but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. The music will never stop for me; writing songs is the way I heal.
You recently released a new single “Move Until Your Numb”, it’s a great song with some very relevant and uplifting lyrics. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the lyrics to the track?
“Move Until You’re Numb” was inspired by being stuck in the house and also being inundated with the madness of the outside world: COVID, protests, politics and aliens. Sometimes we need to shut out the world, close our eyes and dance with the ones we love.
The single comes with a really cool, 80’s vaporwave style lyric video. What inspired those visuals?
I’ve always been enamored by contemporary dance, especially when choreographed to pop music. I would have loved to shoot a music video with an actual contemporary dancer, but between COVID restrictions and my general impatience, I decided to go the animated route. I mentioned my vision to the animator, Melinda Mouzannar, and gave her the green light to draw what inspired her when listening to the track.
You co-produced the track with Seoul, Korea based producer Noden of Mixtape Seoul. How did that collaboration come about and how was the experience?
The first song I released, “Try”, was written to a Mixtape Seoul track. I came across their beat-catalogue on BeatStars and fell in love with their style. I’ve written a little more than half a dozen songs to Mixtape Seoul tracks and have developed a good personal relationship with them. As soon as I heard the instrumental for “Move Until You’re Numb”, I messaged Noden (of Mixtape Seoul) and he sent me the stems for the track. The rest is history.
I saw a lot of the comments on the video saying that you sound like the perfect mix of The Weeknd and Micheal Jackson. What do you think of that comparison?
Flattered, honored and not surprised in the least. I grew up idolizing Michael and studying everything about him. I wouldn’t sound the way that I do if I had never heard Michael Jackson. Though I can’t speak for The Weeknd, I believe he would say the same. We’re both children of Michael.
No stranger to the Toronto music scene, you’ve worked alongside Toronto-based artists Yassin and Rizzla on the tracks “Shame” and “Summer” the remix, garnering SAAKB almost 1 million streams on Spotify. How was the experience of working with Yassin and Rizzla?
I love working with different artists! One thing that I’ve noticed about the Toronto music scene is artists and fans alike recognize talent, whereas American artists and fans tend to absorb what the music industry is pushing, e.g. major label artists with millions of followers. I’ve learned some things in my first couple of years collaborating with other artists, and I’d like to offer some advice for other artists getting started: it’s okay to be eager and willing to collaborate, but don’t give anyone the opportunity to take advantage of you. Make sure you’re clear and upfront with the artists you’re collaborating with about what you want out of the collaboration, e.g., credits, royalty splits, and your price to feature. Your talent is valuable!
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I’m a student of popular music; I grew up consuming pop and R&B artists such as Michael Jackson, 112, Usher, Justin Timberlake, and Ne-Yo (to name more than a few). One of my favorite artists of all time is Craig David.
Earlier last year you released your first single “Try” and it amassed over 200,000 streams on Spotify. Were you expecting that big of a response for your first single?
Not at all, but I knew there was something special about that song when I wrote it, which is why I shared the song on my Instagram the day I wrote it. The response was overwhelming, so I finished it immediately and released it with a music video 3 weeks later. It’s still one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.
The video for Try is vertical, which makes a lot of sense seeing as how much media is consumed on phones over laptops or computers at this point, but it’s not the norm (just yet anyway). Do you think that aided in the videos massive success and do you think that will be more of a trend with music videos in the future?
My audience was primarily on Instagram, and I wanted to cater to that platform, and the new (at the time) feature of IGTV, therefore I decided to shoot the video with the camera turned sideways. True vertical video. The jury is still out if this is the way of the future, as lots of cinematographers are shooting in traditional 16:9 or even in 4:3 with a center focus so they can cater to both horizontal and vertical formats.
You’re currently working on an upcoming album that’s set to release in 2021. What can you tell us about the new music?
None of it is new (to me), and some of it has already been released. I’ve recorded close to 30 songs in the last two years alone, and now I’m just figuring out how to piece them all together. It’s sort of like a puzzle. I want the album(s) to be cohesive and I want the songs to fit with one another, both lyrically and musically.
Asides for the new album, what else is coming next for SAAKB?
If I knew the answer to that, I’d tell you.
Do you have any last words for our readers during these crazy times?
Life is too short to let misery and suffering take the wheel. Keep your head up and keep creating!