MusicMafia presents Sivu‘Better Man Than He’ is the stunning introduction to Sivu. It will be released as a 7" and digital single via ASL Records on February 25th alongside a hand-stamped version by No Recordings available exclusively in North America. The single has already picked up plays across the likes of Huw Stephens, John Kennedy and Steve Lamacq.
Born in Cambridge but presently working in a call centre in Waterloo, 24-year-old Sivu assimilates an unusual mix of sounds and textures. His biggest influences are the lilting melodies of Frank Sinatra, the left-field pop of Bjork or Wild Beasts, and particularly Beck – a singer and songwriter who nonetheless doesn’t suit the “singer-songwriter” tag, as Sivu’s own intricate but ambitious sound is a testament to. ‘Better Man Than He’ blends dreamy acoustics and subtle electronic touches into a sound that befits Sivu’s idiosyncratic moniker (it’s his surname – Page - in Finnish).
Sivu formed a close early relationship with his producer Charlie Andrew, who produced Alt-J’s Mercury-Award-winning ‘An Awesome Wave’. The pair met a year ago whilst Sivu was playing guitar for another band, keeping his solo material largely a secret (Charlie found out, and asked him to come back and play his own stuff). And so Sivu’s days were between the studio and Waterloo, with nights dedicated to a series of “brutal” open mic nights, during which this material was road-tested, and bought to vivid life.
Both experiences have informed the contemplative tone to Sivu’s work. ‘Better Man Than He’, for instance, was penned in response to a close friend’s depression, and draws hope from the darkness (“you can end this any time you want to / just jump out of the window / and feel your body break on the ground”). Another track ‘God Speaks In Tongues’ plays off a similar theme, asking further questions of biblical myth and spirituality – a subject that Sivu, not being religious, never expected to explore, but has found himself picking apart in between (and perhaps in response to) the passing of time at the call centre.
Sivu is busy building a strange world around these strange songs, in part by his collaborations with flat-mate Adam Powell; an acclaimed video director (Dot Rotten, Jamie T, Example) who he met via the hard rock band the two played in as teenagers. The video for ‘Better Man Than He’ features footage of Sivu performing from within an MRI scanner, and was shot live in Barts hospital. This striking clip contrasts the clinical world of science against the emotion of ‘Better Man Than He’, and was inspired by research looking into improving operating techniques for children born with a cleft lip and palate.