ICYMI Interview // Introducing Sara Wolff
Updated: Jun 19, 2019
Words by Elena Lyons
You can be nice and still not respect someone's body.
A story about more than just knitting, Sara Wolff’s crisp, clear tones create the perfect winter soundtrack.
‘I made a scarf to keep you warm / to keep you safe and sound from harm’
Autumn deepens to winter, nights draw in, fires go on, knitting needles come out.
A sultry, addictive melody swirls like a leaf on cold air, Wolff’s vocals sweeping out in an unpredictable yet flowing way.
‘But now I want to tighten it round your neck.’
Ahh, the joy of knitting someone a scarf. Hours, knitting and purling, this needle under that one, going over holes and mistakes, checking the tension. A total labour of love.
There's pain in Wolff’s uniquely cold yet emotive lyrics.
The bitter, stylishly sarcastic tone of the deadpan lyrics bears some resemblance to that of the upbeat ‘Ugly Girl’ by Fiona Apple. But, for sure, less playful.
‘Help yourself she’s sleeping / Afterwards you don’t know why she’s weeping’
More listens evoke more meaning. Initially sounding like something familiar, Scarf Song is actually very, very different.
It’s sad and humbling. It’s pure, dark and honest. The lyrics tell a story. Unravelling like the loops of a dismantled scarf.
‘I hope the thought of me makes your skin crawl'
Sara herself answered some questions to tell us about herself and illuminate more about her clear yet mysterious ‘Scarf Song’.
What inspired you to write ‘Scarf Song’?
Scarf Song is a song discussing consent - the shock and anger you feel when you see someone crosses the line and gets away with it. It is still one of the biggest taboos of our time and it needs to be talked about.
Your lyrics tell a story that could be relatable to a lot of people. Is that your aim? And if not, what is?
Scarf Song is not my personal story, but it is, as you say, relatable to all too many people. I wrote it mostly to vent about the how I feel when I hear about sexual assault - victims tend to blame themselves and most sexual assaults never get reported. The more openness we have about it the less alone the victims will feel.
How would you describe the main themes of the song?
You could call it a protest song, but you could also call it a song about another everyday subject. It’s about society’s misconceptions about sexual assault - the typical sex offender is not an unknown man who attacks you in the street, but your partner, your friend or your classmate. These misconceptions makes us disbelieve the victim, because “he’s so nice!”. You can be nice and still not respect someone's body.
Where did you learn to sing?
I started singing in a choir back home in Norway when I was six years old and have been singing since, really. I only started finding my solo-voice when I learned to write songs and play the guitar at 13.
Your music in general seems to focus on storytelling, where do you find inspiration for them? And what’s it like using such a medium for doing so?
I find inspiration everywhere – a song can start from a sentence I read, something a friend tells me or a feeling I’ve had. The words are usually the first I write, then the rest comes after. Music is such a wonderful way of giving words more meaning - you can understand what the song is about without even listening to what’s being said. It is such a direct way of communicating and that’s why I love it.
What can we expect to see or hear in the future from Sara Wolff?
I am currently just writing songs and recording demos, but I am hopefully releasing an EP in 2019. I will be playing In Phase One on Monday January 28th as part of Independent Venue Week.
Thanks so much for your honest voice Sara, we can't wait to hear more.