There’s an inexplicable rawness that simmers just beneath the glowing synth of Sepia Times.
The lyrics of their songs easily capture listeners and tickle emotions with their honest and enrapturing tunes. While at first their alt-pop tunes are easy to listen to with their warm and electronic tunes, one can quickly find themselves connecting with the melancholic narrative of their songs.
Elisha “Icy” Ang is one half of Sepia Times, her voice crooning over eclectic beats and easily drawing you into their songs.
It’s easy to find yourself at home with their songs, many of which quickly connect to your feelings and where you are at that moment. Drawing inspiration from personal life experiences and turning stories of vulnerabilities and struggles into soul-baring melodies, Sepia Times weaves beautiful narratives that are both familiar and personal to many of us.
Through their deeply personal songs, Sepia Times finds itself in the perfect space to put into the spotlight many subjects we often shy away from – mental health, sex, relationships, and inequality, just to name a few.
“People do point out how different our songs are, there are subjects like mental health and personal experiences. I feel like that we should talk about these things. I’m surrounded by friends and artists, and hearing what they all personally deal with makes me realize that there are a lot of people who are also struggling and keeping quiet,” shared Icy. “We hope that through our songs they find comfort,”
And their songs do just that — provide comfort and serve as a home.
Icy shares that while our individual experiences and journeys may differ, feelings and snippets of realities are shared.
“While our situations can be different in details, I feel like the general feelings of, like, mediocrity, of loneliness, of not being good enough, we relate to. It’s nice to know that there are people who kind of get it,” shared Icy, who shares songwriting work with Sepia Time’s other half, Luigi Balazo.
As many of their songs are soul-bearing and hold a deeply personal note, Icy notes that while the subjects may be difficult, they need to be told. They have to be told.
I think we need to be more open to difficult topics, whether that is mental health or sex. I feel that these things are important and are a huge part of our lives and the fact that we stray away from these subjects just does not make sense to me. We have to have the courage to talk about difficult topics more.
With the gift of being able to weave beautiful narratives together and the desire of always wanting to become a performer, Icy is quickly able to lend her voice on many difficult subjects. While the process may be often challenging and difficult, Icy admits that the rawness of being able to share these moments through her songs allows her to shed more light on these subjects. And more importantly, allows her to help and connect with others.
“When I’m in the moment, I don’t think of how people may take my art. I feel that I’m being honest about my feelings. I don’t feel fear at that moment and it’s nice to connect to people through our songs. It’s nice to hear people’s stories how they are able to connect to our songs,” explained Icy.
As we navigate through many challenging and difficult subjects, courage is a good foundation to take the opportunity to use our voices to raise awareness on issues and subjects. Where Icy may literally use her voice to connect and build conversations with us through songs, we may find other channels to do the same. We may find other channels where we can share our raw stories.
“It’s a really good opportunity to let certain issues be known. It’s just, there are so many things wrong in the world. And there’s a way you can help — by speaking up and using whatever platform you can and win in whatever way you can,” said Icy.
And while we use our platforms to build awareness and bring to light some of life’s most challenging moments, it is equally important to hold space and listen. Listening is equally as important as speaking up because through listening we truly begin to understand.
“We need to be listening to other people’s experiences and educate ourselves. Try to understand where people are coming from, understand these people who are hurting, facing inequality, facing different social issues. We need to understand there is a way we can help each other, especially by educating ourselves and being empathic,” explained Icy.
As more of us hold space, keep conversations, and truly listen, we can amplify our voices and talk about subjects that truly need to be talked about. And more importantly, we can provide help to those who face challenges.
“I feel like we are getting better. We’ve started talking about mental health. As our generation grows up, these topics will be less difficult. The more people talk about it, in whatever way or form, the more comfortable we become to talk about these things,” shared Icy.
We’re getting there.
Where we used to hide behind closed doors and hold conversations in hushed whisperers, we’re slowly finding spaces where it is okay to talk about our struggles, mental health, sex, birth control, our bodies, and many other topics deemed ‘difficult.’
May we continue to do so, to use our voices and move out of behind closed doors. May our voices be raw, real, and courageous.