A Sit-down with SAIK
The pink and green queens from Maryborough with Meanjin chanting their name at every gig
One of my favourite parts of Meanjin is the music scene. Every week there’s a new band to see, for rarely more than 10-15 dollars a ticket. I will be honest, sometimes I struggle to decide between my love of live music and my love of a good Netflix marathon and early bedtime. However the R & B pop duo SAIK have such an addictive energy that I can’t say no to any of their gigs.
I saw Claire (she/her) and Amy’s (she/her) debut gig in March, and going under the stage names Aika and Mimi, they have a blend of voices which is, *chef’s kiss*, impeccable. Their sets mix in their own originals with covers of the likes of Doja Cat, Remi Wolf, TWICE, and Dua Lipa. Having debuted 4 singles now, the 8th of December was SAIK’s first official single launch, with their slick new hit ‘Fool Me’. I met them a couple days after the launch to say my congrats and get the scoop on SAIK.
At first, Claire and Amy were two best friends from Maryborough singing songs together in their bedroom, and they eventually started singing at local pub gigs.
“We were in a band in high school with our bass player Dustin, and then we joined a local band called the Scone Farmers, which was our friend’s dad’s [Leon] band. He had heaps of experience so we learned a lot from him…We kinda don’t really know [the story behind the name] but Leon said he chose it after some old saying, something about pigs. Thank god it wasn’t pig farmers.”
I was assured that despite being part band members, neither of them had any idea how to farm a scone. I thought that maybe it’s a Maryborough joke but apparently everyone was confused, not just me (phew). While performing with Scone Farmers they were starting something of themselves.
“I was still in my baby days of production using GarageBand, and we would get little samples and make loops. Then one day Amy got Logic Pro and we just thought “We’re pros!!” That’s how our first Soundcloud song came about, Catch Up.”
Soon enough the pair moved to Brisbane to reach new heights. After posting on Soundcloud for a while and the pandemic cooled down, they formed a band under the simple but still catchy name SAIK.
“We thought it would be cool to join our names together because we were a duo, but our first names weren’t working out. It ended up just being the S from Elyse, Amy’s middle name, and AIK from my middle name Aika.”
The full picture was finally painted for them. With Maryborough music man Dustin on bass and the newly found friends from Brisbane Takeshi (he/him) on guitar and Alex (they/them) on sticks, SAIK continues to sharpen their set with each show.
The band serves up tasty beats with skill and style, while Aika and Mimi are absolutely nailing their dance routines for each song. Not only is SAIK so in sync live that they give JT a run for his money, they also are hilarious online. Whether it’s Claire and Amy shitposting from home or the band messing around during practice, it’s always entertaining to tune in.
“We’ve never had any issues with the band, everyone’s super calm and happy to offer their ideas. We put comedy first always, comedy comes first and then music. I think because we all get along so well as people we work really well together as a band. Everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas which isn’t always easy. Love those friggin guys dude.”
Their new single “Fool Me” was released earlier this month, with a sneaky bassline and saxophone insisting you get up and dance. My favourite bit was after the second chorus when the beat suddenly picks up unexpectedly, adding exciting energy that compliments Claire and Amy’s lyrics.
“[Fool Me] is inspired by the talking stage, and the fun part of getting to know someone, when it’s like “are we flirting or what?”. The tension and all the fun before you either end it or it progresses.”
At the single launch every song was just as groovy as the next, but SAIK still had to pull another surprise out from under their sleeves. I can tell you that after 20 minutes of dance pop music, I was not expecting an eight minute original R & B ballad with Mimi and Aika pouring talent and emotion into their vocals. There was a spell cast over the crowd, listening in awe. Claire and Amy shared that while SAIK are going to continue their current sound, they are now exploring a lot of the R & B influence that inspires them.
“The time of my life when I was a sponge was around 2017-2018, so a lot of the music from around then is super influential. Daniel Caesar was a massive influence, I don’t even listen to him much anymore but I can still hear him in the way I create today. SUMIN is also a big influence, she’s a Korean singer and producer and she’s just insane.” “We have a lot of R & B influence and K-pop influence mainly, I think it’s a combo that hasn’t really been tapped into yet. I’m so inspired by K-pop specifically because the live performances are so theatrical. ”
I’m excited to see what these two talented women create next, and from our conversation I know they’re about to skyrocket. Stream their single “Fool Me” here so you can sing the words with me at their next show.