Words: Miljan Milekić
As versatile as they come, Payton Day is one of the people to pay attention to in the underground scene. Bassist, singer, rapper, and songwriter he already made his mark in the scene with his pop punk band Wilmette, and his solo project Safehold. And that’s only the beginning. We caught up with him to discuss his brand new album ‘Boyish,’ so check it below!
First of all, congratulations on your debut! Tell me more about ‘Boyish.’ How did it come together?
Safehold: This album came together one day when Nate [Steinheimer] from Mutant League Records messaged me out of the blue and said he needed a Safehold album. I really slowed my roll after the signing of Wilmette because I was putting all of my energy into that project, but when Nate wanted a record, I had to throw it down for him. I put this together in about two weeks and scrapped a couple of songs. ‘Right Here’ and ‘In Too Deep’ were actually made a few months later, and were last-second add-ons to the drop.
The album was preceded by four singles – ‘Loose Ends,’ ‘LETTHERAINFALL!’ ‘In Too Deep,’ and ‘Right Here,’ and all of them received amazing reactions. How much did that kind of feedback mean to you before the album release?
Safehold: It was cool to see a lot of people come back and check in to see how I was doing. I was able to make some songs that really connected with people in late 2018 and early 2019, so it was super cool to see some familiar faces showing love. I was also surprised by the positive reviews given by, what seemed like a lot of Wilmette fans, so that was super cool.
It may be too early, but how was the feedback to the rest of the album so far?
Safehold: I think I need to sit on the record for a bit to see what kind of feedback is coming my way, but the singles have done great so far.
You are part of the Mutant League Records, a label that’s known for giving a chance to young, unique artists and giving them a platform to be themselves and showcase their work. How did it happen? Are you happy with them so far?
Safehold: Yeah! Nate is an incredible dude, and I am so grateful to be able to work beside him. I haven’t been a part of any other label besides the Mutant League, but I highly doubt any of them would be able to care about our music as much as Nate cares about ours. Basically, he wanted to make 2020 a big year and amp up the amount of releases. He had known about my side project and wanted to run with it, so here we are, I guess. You can expect a lot of sick music out of Mutant League in the latter half of this year.
Emo rap has been a thing for a couple of years now, launching quite a few artists becoming really big. How hard is it to be part of something that’s practically a movement now, and still bring up something unique and original to the table?
Safehold: I think it is interesting because when I started intertwining pop punk with emo rap in 2018, there were about 3-5 other artists coming up doing it. It was a super underground thing at the time, and now everyone seems to be jumping on this craze in 2020 after MGK and Iann Dior blew up on punk sounding tracks. It is definitely hard now because it is so oversaturated. I believe you have to be putting a lot more into your own work to really stand out then you would have had to if you had gotten your footing a couple of years ago before this genre was mainstream.
How challenging was it to combine all those elements into a cohesive record? Where did all those influences come from?
Safehold: It sounds cliché, but it isn’t all too hard because it is kind of just what happens when I approach a track. I think I have been into so many different styles of music and wrote for so many different styles that I approach them in my normal way, and it just comes out as a blend of all of those things.
We mentioned Wilmette and the support from their fans. Did you expect this, and why do you think it’s the case?
Safehold: Yeah, the support from Wilmette fans has been pretty crazy. I would have never expected them to like this since Wilmette is on the heavier side of pop punk. I think that Wilmette fans could gravitate to it because I do the lyrical and melody writing for both projects, so some people may find some familiarity in both.
I know that for a while, you have been splitting your time between two projects. What does it look like to juggle between the two, and do you think that one project influences another musically?
Safehold: They most definitely impact each other. In this year alone, I will be dropping fourteen songs, and possibly more later in the year, as Safehold, and six songs as Wilmette. That doesn’t account for all the songs that are scrapped. It is a lot to write, and so my approach is constantly changing and being refined every day. I don’t think I could create a Safehold song similar to how I wrote in 2018, because I have learned so much in this past couple of years, from each project.
Lyrically, it seems like you hold no brakes, and it looks like the fans can recognize that and connect with your songs. How important is it to you to build a close and personal relationship with your fans?
Safehold: I try to write relatable music with both of my projects. My passion is writing in a deeper, poetic style, but I just don’t believe that people want to hear that in 2020. The times are moving a bit faster, and people want easily digestible content, so that’s what I try to provide in my music. I really care about building a connection with my fans because I really appreciate being able to provide content that they like.
I know this is probably the worst question for any artist at this moment, but what’s next from you? What can we expect from Safehold?
Safehold: The number one thing is the Wilmette record coming out very soon. But for Safehold, probably some more singles on Soundcloud in the next couple of months, and maybe some singles on all platforms!