Seefeel are a British band that emerged in the fertile period of the early ‘90s when more readily available electronic music-making equipment and home recording technologies expanded the horizons of what was musically possible. Yet even within this Cambrian explosion of creativity, Seefeel stood alone, pulling threads from the fabric of dub, rock, ambient, idm, and elsewhere to synthesize a sonic landscape wholly their own. Hot on the heels of a slew of reissues replete with previously unheard tracks from that definitive era, Emily Wirthlin spoke to Seefeel members Sarah Peacock (vocals, guitars) and Mark Clifford (guitars, treatments) on May 25, 2021 to talk about the band’s dynamic history, their unique approach to realizing music, and the secret to a really good vegan simmer.
Emily Wirthlin: Thanks so much for being so generous with your time with all these recent interviews! As a long-time fan of the band it’s been great to hear so many nice, human anecdotes behind this totally singular musical world you’ve created.
Sarah Peacock: (laughs). Well I hope so! Occasionally I’ve thought, “Is this really throwing too much light on magic?” (laughter). Mark cares about that a little bit more than I do, but I do wonder.
Right, it’s always a little different when you know how the sausage is made.
Mark Clifford: That’s a good analogy.
Where are you both now?
Mark Clifford: I live— do you know Brighton?
Mark Clifford: So I live just outside of Brighton; it’s called Hassocks. I don’t know if that means anything to you whatsoever.
Mark Clifford: I doubt it; it’s not well known. Nothing happens here (laughs).
Sarah: I’m in London, Southeast London.
I ask because I find “place” interesting to talk about since it dictates so much of our experience of the world, which has a way of coming out in the music. And with a band as sonically singular as Seefeel, it’s maybe helpful to explore that in order to distill the elements that make up the band. So with that in mind, where did you both grow up?
Mark Clifford: I was born in Birmingham, in Midlands, and I grew up mostly in a place called Stourbridge, which is— do you know the geography of the Midlands very well?
Only a little bit.
Mark Clifford: So it’s called the Black Country—it’s an old industrial area of the West Midlands. So I grew up in a place called Stourbridge, which is mostly known musically for bands like Pop Will Eat Itself and The Wonder Stuff.
Sarah Peacock: And there’s Clint Mansell, the famous film composer.
Mark Clifford: Yeah, yeah. And then I moved to London—I went to Goldsmiths College—and basically never looked back. I lived in London for about 10, 12 years, and then moved to Brighton. So I’m definitely in the South now.