The curious and ever-evolving mind of Sandflower constructed and released a visual album of artistic beauty and wonder earlier this summer, titled ‘The Quantum Seed‘
Sandflower is an organically grown Brooklyn, New York City powerhouse, influenced by music from all walks of life. Along with years of inspiration from her highly creative parents, Sandflower has blossomed into a bold creative herself, with a keen interest in quantum physics and its vast influence on the arts and us as humans.
‘The Quantum Seed,’ released on 29th July is a 16-track visual album, meaning each song is meticulously paired with a music video, produced, directed, and edited by Sandflower herself, alongside many respected industry professionals. The genre-bending project explores the multifaceted universe in which we exist in, drawing inspiration from her eclectic musical influences and the art you see every day, if you pay close enough attention to the world around you.
Sandflower is a passionate individual with a lot to teach the world through her art; a goddess who seeks to spread this divine message to channel your inner goddess.
We sat down with the artist herself and spoke about the importance of visual aid in music and her creative inspiration which led to the creation of ‘The Quantum Seed,’ all whilst she gives us a science lesson on the study of quantum physics…
So, you released the wonderful ‘The Quantum Seed‘ at the end of July, how does it feel having it out in the world for people to hear?
It feels really good! Some of the songs took years, some took minutes, some I decided to rerecord. Most of them are new, but to have people respond positively to work that you’ve created, that is really genuine and personal, it feels really good. Every artist, whether you are a painter; sculptor; musician; singer/songwriter; whatever you do, it does feel personal, even if it’s removed from you. Music is literally my voice, it’s a piece of my essence that you can capture through sound, and when people vibe with it, it feels in a way like they are vibing with you and your ideas.
You offer such a diverse range of genres on the record, from electro-pop, and hip-hop to punk. Were you brought up listening to all these types of music, which inspired your eclectic sound?
Definitely, there was pop music; punk music; rock music; jazz music; world music; literally everything, and all types of musicians. I travelled a lot with my mum because she is a musician and goes on tour a lot. Luckily when I was about 12 I was able to start going to visit her at certain shows and so I was able to travel around the world. Even in high school, I was part of this chorus and we ended up going to places like Paris, Florence, and Prague. It was really cool to be exposed to all (the) different chamber music, orchestral music, and I played the flute, so classical too. I was able to be immersed in all types of different sounds.
As ‘The Quantum Seed‘ is a visual album, visual aid in music is clearly something that you are passionate about. Can you explain to us the involvement and importance of it within the listening experience for you?
Every time I start writing new music, I’m always getting a visual. When I’m listening to other people’s music I get visuals. When I hear my own music, I get visuals. I think it really helps me to have a story or image in my head to create the song. Sometimes I like to think about the song before it’s finished, questioning what will the video look like. What image would go along with this? What do I want people to feel, and how would I want to feel at the end of the song if I were listening to it? Visuals help me to tell the story or vibe, and because I’m so multifaceted as an artist, it also might give the listener some context as to where my head was at. I don’t want anyone to feel like ‘you must listen to this song like this’ or ‘you must interpret it like that’, but in case they were wondering what I was thinking, then the visuals will help you with that.
Your influence and interest in quantum physics within your music is so interesting, could you tell us a bit about its involvement in creating ‘The Quantum Seed?’
It all started with watching a documentary film called (What the Bleep!?:) ‘Down the Rabbit Hole‘, and from there I began thinking about physics and listening to scientists and different people who are into the mind and positive thinking, and I actually started to try and understand quantum physics. I’ve gone to talks at different colleges, there’s this organisation called ‘Pioneer Works‘ here in NYC. Half of the stuff I couldn’t understand but there was this amazing talk, with four scientists, one from Harvard, and what I really got from it as a spectator of science, (not a participator necessarily) was the fact that energy can never be created or destroyed, which in of itself is just wow, it just exists all the time, we are always part of something that is infinite.
‘The Quantum Seed‘ is about planting ideas, an infinite quantity of ideas in this quantum world, and taking those ideas and letting them grow, but not just grow on this plane but on this multi-dimensional plane. For every single artist in history, their energy is still there, theoretically, as the energy of them couldn’t be created or destroyed. So it still exists on some plane, and that made me really excited. I don’t understand the intricacies of science but I do get the concepts, and I think a lot of the time as artists, as human beings we feel the need to get to the bottom of everything, we want to understand everything. But what I love about quantum physics is that you’re never going to truly understand it. It’s a mystery and revolutionary in and of itself, as often in science there is a finite answer to things, but this allows you to develop over time.
Sandflower is such an unusual birth name, where did it come from?
My mum is super creative. My mum and dad are about to publish a children’s book, my dad is a painter, they are just prolific artists. My name came from a dream; before I was born an angel came to my mother and said ‘Who would name their daughter Sandflower?’ she said ‘I would.’ A couple of weeks later I was born and she named me Sandflower, and here I am. There was a point in time when I tried to think of an artist name, but I couldn’t do better than what my mum has already done.
Can you explain the process you went through to produce these visual creations?
We had a multifaceted way of doing it. Sometimes I’d work with a director and have their whole team: a stylist, makeup artist, and we would sketch everything out from start to finish. Like on ‘Bump!,’ ‘Don’t Stress,‘ and ‘Sugar Honey Ice Tea,’ those were formal processes, sitting with the director; having meetings; doing visual mood boards and storyboards of the ideas we were going to do. Those processes were really fun and interesting and I got to understand a lot, not just about music videos but about film in general, the kind of cameras we were gonna shoot with, what time of day because of the lighting, all those things that directors and cinematographers already think about, but I hadn’t thought about before. There’s so much that goes into it.
As we are rolling through the pandemic as things were changing, I decided I want to make my own music videos for this. I do my own photoshoots and that’s gotten me a lot of opportunities, so I thought what if I actually get a studio and the gear and styling but on a bigger scale? As a self-portrait, as a visual diary, instead of thinking about it as a music video but as something in an art gallery. That opened it up so much for me and took off the pressure to make a traditional music video. Beyoncé did something similar, thinking along the lines of not every music video needs to be sung, and it makes me feel good that artists like her have taken that form too and elevated it beyond what we previously thought a music video could be. With that in mind, that’s how we created the visuals.
Was the record written over the course of COVID? If so, how was that writing experience different from previous times?
It was definitely different because I get a lot of inspiration from just walking around the city, and I didn’t realise how much the process of walking and looking at the city; the skyline; the sky; and the people who walk by; was such an integral part of my process that I completely took for granted. You don’t realise how important walking to get coffee in the morning is or late at night walking to the Bodega and listening to music, with one earphone in, not two because it’s NYC! I might circle the block to add extra time or walk down to another neighbourhood because I’m into the beat. And so what I thought was going to be easy, I actually had to recreate my entire process and go back to how it was in the beginning, taking a notebook in my room and writing. Once I was back into the rhythm of that, everything started to flow. It gave me time to get a lot of writing done.
Was it important to you to include a track so heavily focused on female empowerment, in the form of your standout track ‘Goddess Cxlture?’
‘Goddess Cxlture‘ was actually going to be the name of the album, it was an idea in and of itself; the song came later. That idea shifted my entire music trajectory, the idea of woman’s empowerment. I think it was a few years ago I realised how much I actually cared about the feminine being empowered. I never realised it was that important to me until all of a sudden I couldn’t talk about it, read about it, or defend women in conversation. It really sent a shock wave through my body. My creativity was demanding me to acknowledge the goddess within me whilst also wanting to shout to every woman on the street ‘You’re a goddess.’ The great thing about music and art is that you have an opportunity to hit multiple people in a short amount of time with one message and ‘Goddess Cxlture‘ was one of the easiest messages and songs I’ve ever written because I was just saying what I’ve always wanted to say, without filtering myself. Especially as women there’s so much of this ‘Would that be okay,’ ‘Thank you, sorry,’ and this song is like no, this is who I am and I’m a goddess. There are so many women in our lives that mean so much to us that I just wanted to create something that would reflect the women who have impacted me and raised me.
As a visual album with so many stand-out videos, did you have a favourite video to film/or one that you were particularly happy with the way it came out?
I love ‘Bump!’ I feel like that song was really fun, and I’d never gone to Joshua Tree where we filmed it in California. There’s so much space and being from New York and having all that open space was really cool. We were inspired by ‘Mad Max,’ with Charlize Theron, which had a more female empowerment vibe to it. So, I wanted to recreate it and give my own spin on it. I didn’t realise how mystical the desert would feel, but U2 making an album named ‘The Joshua Tree‘ or The Doors going there to expand their mind. You hear about the desert and all these things that people have been inspired by and I did start to feel that energy. It’s a different energy in the desert than the mountains or ocean.
What’s next? Any future live performances?
I’m going to get back into the dance studio and rehearse! I want to get back into the process of performing, I love that, that’s fun. Watching dancers dance, to sing with the drummer, it feels so good so am excited to start doing that again.