The Savage Nomads : Reunited Lovers [Interview]

A picture of the Savage Nomads

Trebuchet has had a short spell away from The Savage Nomads, like lovers on a break.

We just wanted so very much from each other and the pressure simply tore us apart. I’ve heard love will do that.

Time has passed as time does, summer turned to autumn, winter washed away the heartache and although it was never quite the same, we began to see other people. Then one day, inevitably, the note arrived. It was a kind of ‘let’s meet for coffee’ thing.

You know it’s a booty call but you just can’t help playing along.A picture of the Savage Nomads

Before this can go any further the air needs to be cleared. We had issues and no-one was communicating. There were unspoken and unanswered questions, it led to a wandering eye and mistrust and the cracks formed. It’s clear to see that now, but we’ve both grown, both made small but important changes, and we’ve both learned lessons, haven’t we?

‘Jaded Edges’ is the title of the new track. It’s a fitting title but it also shows us just how you’ve grown, matured into that thing you promised last summer. The thing we should have believed in. “Give and take on both sides” you say, well ok Cole Salewicz. While the passion’s high, let’s do coffee.

THE SAVAGE NOMADS – THE HEROES THAT GOTHAM DESERVES?

Trebuchet : Lux Interior once said, “Some of the best bands I think you’ll never hear of because they have jobs. They write great songs but never get to a place where they can make records or find a record company or something, but they still make great songs. Some of the worst bands you hear are doing it because it’s a business”. You are in a place where you can make records and have your links with the industry, so is it business or pleasure for The Savage Nomads? Would there ever come a time to call it quits, buckle down to a day job, or is this for life?

Cole Salewicz : I don’t really think about whether or not music is a chosen path, or if I’m meant to follow what the guy who was here did before. I don’t want to think about the greats, greats from the past like Lux Interior or modern greats like Win Butler. I’m not too interested in comparison because it just leads to distraction. I try to study those who have inspired me but I don’t put too much emphasis on how it relates to what The Savage Nomads are doing right now.A picture of the Savage Nomads

It isn’t lazy hard work; it’s good hard work. I mean, of course it’s a pleasure to get up onstage and play to people who are reciprocating fresh energy. That’s an amazing and unique feeling.

Equally so, the more mundane side of things that some artists probably find a bore I actually get a kick out of. I like to have control of all those things – the website, the video, the colour coordination. It is 24/7 but I don’t want to analyse that, that’s your job to ask or that’s what someone who’s interested in the music can dwell on.

I’ve never wanted to get too objective about what’s going on because I’m enjoying the present moment. I’m trying to stay in the zone and cover all the bases at the same time. It’s not easy but when it clicks, I’m a happy bunny.

Trebuchet : Well I’ve been shooting the ‘next big thing’ for over 25 years. I think it started with Proud City Fathers (PCF) way back when (Who? Exactly.). So many bands, even the hard working ones, just fall by the wayside, which I guess is not helped these days by the bullshit of the X Factor culture. Cole, you have had the blessings of such people as Mick Jones, and with that The Savage Nomads were tipped for greatness back in 2011. So when will you be famous?

Cole Salewicz : HA! I can’t comment on bands falling by the wayside, everything that is meant to happen to someone does, I guess. Sounds like a cliché but the honest truth never steers me wrong. It’s never been easier to record, it’s never been easier to present yourselves, but what this means is that we have a multitude of groups, an incessant swamp of new sounds and it’s tough for bands to get head and shoulders above the rest.

Any tactician needs a

playbook. I can’t get

mine out right now

because I’m redrafting

It’s amazing how hard it is to get people to actually LISTEN to the music. I don’t just mean normal people; I mean the A&R in the industry who are paid to do so. And to be fair to them, how can they keep up with the thousands of demos thrown at them in the post? Or in their email or CDs pressed into their hands at shows? Most labels don’t have the manpower to handle this! It’s funny: music is in a huge transitional period and anyone can have their say, but to get noticed quick it all comes back to having friends in the right places and being in the right place at the right time.

Or do you say, “Fuck that, I’m going to do it all on my own”?

Trebuchet : Your voice has matured over the past year, that’s for sure, and the band has a slightly new line up. Let me quote a couple things here (clears throat) ‘This year’s best debut album from a British band’Artrocker. ‘Tension In The Middle is the most astonishing record I’ve heard this year” Tom Robinson – BBC 6 Music. I have a suspicion the Salewicz book of plays has a good few pages left in it. Give a brief account of yourselves over the past year or so, what’s been the battle plan?

A picture of the Savage Nomads

Cole Salewicz : Any tactician needs a playbook. I can’t get mine out right now because I’m redrafting, but I will say we look to the future and we’re not vague about it. We’re planning on putting out one or two more songs before the end of the year and have plans for February-March too.

We’re getting some good shows booked and more and more people are taking an interest than ever before. It’s great to have a good team of people backing you, and luckily we’ve met some amazing people who believe in The Savage Nomads.

Trebuchet : You’re gigging hard, what has been the best gig to date?

Cole Salewicz : The show we played for Artrocker‘s New Blood at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen in June was pretty terrific. It was our first show in 9 months and the room was heaving. The night had a special vibe. That night Fierce Panda spotted us and over the summer we played a few great gigs for them, which we were a real delight. They’re going on 20 years as an independent record label. Amazing.

We opened up a few nights for Big Audio Dynamite on their reunion tour, which was incredible; we played Shepherd’s Bush Empire and felt like we committed a serious heist.

Trebuchet : A worthy notch in the belt for sure, and you’ve just put out the latest Nomads offering, ‘Jaded Edges’. As mentioned, this has a distinctly more mature feel to it. Do you feel you have grown musically during the past twelve months and can you tell us a little about the writing process behind this track?A picture of the Savage Nomads

Cole Salewicz : Thank you, yes I guess so. We definitely wrote a lot more in a shorter space of time than ever before. It was almost factory-line songwriting, just knocking them out. Josh and I got really into using Logic, and I think being able to sit down and consistently work on tunes three days in a row together helped us develop. Maybe! I wanted to capture those irregular heartbeats when she’s seen you and you’ve definitely seen her. Electric feel.

Trebuchet : As we are mentioning electric together with the great and the good, Jim Morrison famously said about the future of music, “I can kind of envision one person with a lot of machines, tapes and electronics set up, singing or speaking while using machines.” Do you consider music made by someone on a computer real music? Where does the future lie?

Cole Salewicz : Of course it is REAL music. Rhythm and melody – that’s music, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. It is quite shocking how much people take for granted these days; how easy it is record songs by yourself so quickly. Embrace it! We use software like Logic and Ableton to write music all the time. You can write so efficiently; so easily get into a thousand different directions at the click of a mouse.

The more you explore, the further your musical horizons will stretch and there’s nothing wrong with that. Change is good! I hope there are more radical changes in my lifetime, not just in music… there has to be the way things are going.

What’s the battle plan

for the next twelve months?

What have you set your

sights on?

Cole Salewicz : Superbowl

Half-Time Show.

Trebuchet : What other artist/s would you say have any direct impact on your sound?

Cole Salewicz : It’s a pretty huge list and I think it wavers all the time. Josh just introduced me to Explosions In The Sky, who write these brilliant ten minute long jams. I love that. We’re all into Haim‘s new album. We’re getting quite funky with some of the new material. We love working on grooves, Prince, Chic grooves! Direct impact is hard to say but I’ve definitely listened to the first two Strokes records a lot.

Trebuchet : I heard a reviewer (who shall remain nameless) remark on your sound as ‘good but a bit twenty years ago’. How would you respond to that and do you consider changing the sound when you hear such remarks?

Cole Salewicz : Fair play to them! I don’t really mind what people have to say, I’d only worry if they had nothing to say. A friend of mine said to me about chasing girls: “The worst thing that could happen is she just doesn’t care…”

Trebuchet : Well we’ve all had that experience. Moving to the immediate future, what’s the battle plan for the next twelve months? What have you set your sights on?

Cole Salewicz : Superbowl Half-Time Show.

Trebuchet : Keeping those sights high is the best way forward for sure. Apart from the likes of Prince and Haim, what are you listening to right now and why?

Cole Salewicz : Well my friend just sent me some records that he thinks I should listen to, so I can tell you what I’m about to listen to: the new Four Tet record, the new Space Dimension Controller, Julia Holter, Disclosure‘s Settle, the new Pusha T record that Kanye West produced, some ambient nature-techno called Pacifica by Segue, Phosphorescent, the Danny Brown record and the new Oneohtrix Point Never record. I’m also listening to Van Morrison‘s Astral Weeks properly for the first time, which is incredible.

One of my best friends is a House DJ so he sends me house mixes, which are great. I know nothing about house so I like to listen to it when the time is right. I’m also re-listening to Blood on The Tracks for the millionth time.

Trebuchet : You say you are a hard working band, how hard is it today playing live music, constantly playing the circuit and looking for the breaks?

Cole Salewicz : It gets easier the more you do, it’s good to go out there when you’re really young and play anywhere that’ll have you. You have to be completely willing to look anyone in the eye and play to them.

Trebuchet : Ok look us in the eye and tell us why we should go to a Savage Nomads gig. What are you going to offer Joe Public that the band down at the next venue aren’t?

Cole Salewicz : Effortless effort.

Trebuchet : Well with that effortless effort you guys went down a storm at the recent Relentless Garage gig. The new level of confidence was certainly on show and the revised line up had obviously been working hard. It was apparent you guys were simply well up for it, which set you streets apart from other bands on the bill.

Cole Salewicz : The gig was great. We were very pumped up having played to a ton of kids in Brighton the night before. We’re a gang onstage, if you don’t like it you can fuck off, but fortunately people are dancing, people are smiling and that makes us feel great onstage. The Savage Nomads are on a roll right now, we’ve had some developments in the team behind the band and things are looking rosy. We’re going to keep on keeping on, working hard, treating every show and every new song like our first and our first like our last.

Trebuchet : Do you have a message, something The Savage Nomads want to get across to the masses?

Cole Salewicz : We’re the heroes that Gotham deserves.

COLE SALEWICZ: GUITAR & VOCALS
JOSH MILES: GUITAR & VOCALS
RORY JONES: BASS & VOCALS
BENJY MILES: GUITAR, SYNTH, AND PERCUSSION
PETR MATOUSEK: DRUMS

will@wpmanagement.co.uk colesalewicz@gmail.com

Photos: Carl Byron Batson, Grace Lightman

Carl Byron Batson
About Carl Byron Batson 283 Articles
Photographer, published poet, former party animal, body builder, grave robber to the stars and renowned chainsaw juggler, Carl can often be spotted on his Harley Davidson pretending to be in Terminator 2. He is also frequently seen in the press pits of old London town, camera in hand, avoiding being hit by bottles of wee and crippling his opposition with secret Kung Fu moves.

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