Santino Le Saint: "I think I’ve been lucky to never actually feel like I’ve wanted to quit."
Alice Gee | 13/03/2022
Musical geniuses come and go day in, day out. Santino Le Saint is on a mission to grace the ears of those far and wide whilst paying homage to his true self. From throwing out the music manual around release etiquette to being incredibly selective to his work environment and colleagues, this is an artist who lives by his own rules.
Santino’s music has been on my radar for quite some time, as we reunite 5 years on from performing on the same small stage in Kingston. As we catch up I congratulate him on the release of his album last year during COVID lockdowns.
So, not long ago you released your album which must have been exciting. How did the release live up to your expectations?
It was great, but it didn’t feel too different as I’ve released things before. It was kind of a long time coming but I’m excited about another project, of course, I’m happy that’s out but I’m ready to move on to the next single or album.
I’m not surprised you’re hungry for more following the success of your debut album. On the topic of expectations, listeners obviously have their interpretations of each piece of music released but did it have the angle in the way you planned?
I think it did turn out the way I planned. Over lockdown, I was inspired by rock music and I wanted to be able to push people further towards their teenage angsty side of things. So, I made loads of playlists, references, and samples, of my favourite bands and took a lot of melody references to the studio spending a couple of months working on a better sound before making any songs. I went to the boys that I made the album with and said here’s a bunch of songs I’ve made. Here are some of the reference playlists, let’s use all of this and make the album.
You had the opportunity to work with some real muses, producers who’ve worked with names like Mabel and Jorja Smith. How was working with legendary producers like Benji and Thomas Totten?
Yeah, it was amazing, but they’re also my closest friends. So, it’s fun working with my boys and having people there who you click with because I don’t usually like working with loads of random people. It’s just fun to be able to go record a bunch of my friends who are so talented.
Would you say you prefer working with friends rather than an acclaimed artist who may be a stranger?
Definitely friends. Because I think that it can be hard to be able as honest, open in sessions and bounce off people to find the same wavelength in a very short amount of time. So, I’d pick working with people close to me.
Working with people you have a pre-established connection with must have been a key part of coming out with a product that you love and that you’re proud of. The album itself has notes of both R&B and Rock intertwined, were there muses that helped inspire the intertwining of genres?
A huge one was Paramore. They are a huge influence, and although you’ll never hear it necessarily in my music as their music shares the same points of how people are afflicted by things, I guess it’s more of a feeling reference.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of Paramore, that’s for sure! As you know we often focus and touch upon the topic of mental health. Have you found solace in writing?
It’s definitely therapeutic for me. I don’t write because I like to, it’s more I write because I need to. After all, it’s there to help and I love what it gives me. You can get lost in something for six to eight hours every single day and forget about all the pressures. But I think it is hard when a lot of people are tied up in the industry. It’s hard to remember to be free, when you’re creating stuff and to remember that music is ultimately an expression and outlet.
To have such a firm foundation behind your music it must be the light in the darkness at times. We all have those moments of ‘why am I doing this?’, how have you worked through the darker moments and frustrations that many experience in the music industry?
I think I’ve been lucky to never actually feel like I’ve wanted to quit. Don’t get me wrong there have been many times where it’s been super hard, but music is a journey to me, different from a ritual, it’s been a second birth. I’ve just always told myself that there’s no other way. I’ve got to live my life. And if tomorrow doesn’t come then I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
I think you have the right approach. I always say you know you’re in the right place when you wouldn’t have it any other way. Stresses aside what’s in the pipeline for the rest of the year that you’re looking forward to.
I have a tour in April. I’m going to be doing a couple of UK dates, before some European days. In the meantime, I’m working on the next set of music. I don’t want to put out another album just yet, I want to do a project because I like conceptually being able to target something for the sake of stories and to pair it with acoustic songs. I like being versatile instead of just throwing a product out and hoping it goes well.
What’s the ultimate destination you would want to play in the world. If you could pick anywhere for a sold-out gig, where would you go?
Everyone always says stadiums, but a lot of my friends who have done stadium gigs say the sound is always terrible. So, if I had to pick anywhere with 1000s of people then I’d have to say Madison Square Garden because I play basketball and it’s a basketball arena. I think having a physical outlet is key for anything in general. I’ve had friends who have been through a lot of stuff, and they always say when they have a physical outlet, they feel much better.
Whilst Santino manifests Madison Square Garden you can get tickets to his upcoming tour below:
17th April 2022 – Bristol Rough Trade
18th April 2022 – Nottingham Bodega
19th April 2022 – Earth London
20th April 2022 – Manchester Yes
21st April 2022 – Leeds Headrow House
26th April 2022 – Berlin Prachtwerk
28th April 2022 – Hamburg Headcrash
29th April 2022 – Amsterdam Melkweg
30th April 2022 – Paris Les Etoiles
Words: Alice Gee
Photography: Chadrac Lama And Tag