Interviews

This Is… Savage Nomads

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The idea of the live music venue Under The Bridge has never been one that I’ve been entirely at ease with – given that my aim remains to be promoting the unsigned and independent, the idea of a venue incorporated into a football stadium seems perhaps a little too grandiose. That being said, my issue may well be that the only time I had previous visited Stamford Bridge was to watch Arjen Robben run rings around a Portsmouth team that were somehow in the top division of English football. Nevertheless, Under The Bridge was thoroughly impressive upon first glance and it appears to have been crafted in a musicians dream. I found myself there on the invite of Cole Salewicz of Savage Nomads as they would be performing that evening in support of the mighty Dreadzone.

An hour or so before they were due to take to the stage, I sat down with Cole and had a rather nice conversation. For anyone with a particularly keen (read: stalker-esque) eye for my work, you may well have spotted previous glowing reviews of 2 Savage Nomad tracks and a slightly less satisfied live review. I am, however, keen to stress that I was significantly more impressed by the band this time around (review coming shortly on AAA Music). As Cole and I sat down to chat, I noticed a quiet confidence about him that is surely a key trait of a successful frontman. As he described how falling off a bike made recording synth significantly harder – explaining how his left hand was “not quite as dextrous” – there wasn’t a hint of wavering in his voice. The Brixton native explained how the band had made some recent changes as only 3 of them appeared in their recent video for ‘Pinkie’s Little Light‘, Salewicz along with brothers Josh and Benjy Miles (both guitars) with new additions Tom Williams (bass) and Louis Lacoste (drums) completing the band’s new set-up. Given the venue, Salewicz’s use of the phrases “getting some new transfers in” and “in the middle of some negotiations” seem particularly fitting.

The aforementioned video is a somewhat bizarre affair, revolving around the ever-popular idea of dreams and fantasy sequences, as they were able to spend a bit more time planning and being creative than they had with the previous video for ‘PORNO‘ – which is also well worth a watch. With the pressures of getting the previous video together and being on tour in a short-time leaving the band “knackered”, the somewhat more relaxed situation that the band currently find themselves in seems to be suiting them considerably better. Salewicz feels that there has been a “significant change in the vibe” and there’s absolutely no reason not to believe him. Recent gigging form includes them joining the bill for a gig with the legendary Adam Ant last weekend, something that came about from the band simply receiving a phone call from a man who appears to play a role in the development of their sound. Mr Ant’s fondness for the band appears to go back some time, Salewicz recalls a previous manager informing him thusly well over a year ago – something which may not have been confirmed until recently. Despite there being a certain 80s vibe to some of the tracks, Cole admits that he’d “never really listened to that sort of music” until quite recently. In truth, their sound is hard to pin down for definitive influences – when struggling to name their sound-alikes I’m met with the line “Savage Nomads come out of it” which is exactly the sound they should be going for. Recent inspirations for Cole include The War On Drugs and the timeless sounds of Scott Walker and Led Zeppelin, as well as the exquisite Edwyn Collins (Cole goes on to recite the opening line from ‘GIrl Like You‘) who now is the proud owner of a Savage Nomads badge. As am I.

So what exactly inspires the new Savage Nomads sound? Well, the sibling guitarists used to listen to a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers – described by Cole as “where the funk comes from” – whilst the frontman cites Prince as a key inspirational figure. Whilst describing his lyrics as “very personal” there is an acknowledgement that the message in what he’s saying needs to be clear and there’s a genuine desire to connect with the audience. The next album is fully written and the band are in the middle of recording, gigging often rather than resting on their laurels. Cole expresses a desire to release a succession of singles, admitting that he feels an album needs a purpose. He’s not buying in to the idea of the death of the album, if it has a journey it can create an impressive body of work – citing Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange‘ as a perfectly crafted album.

The peculiar title for their latest single is explained thusly “the little light is what’s inside, it’s something you have to clasp onto in the darkness. The idea is that the shadow behind you is always going to be there, your doubt and insecurity, so you’ve got to follow the little light.” This forward-looking attitude is exactly what a young band need given the competitive nature of the industry. The name Pinkie is ‘borrowed’ from Brighton Rock, Cole goes on to discuss his adoration for the book’s author, as well as relating to one half of everyone’s favourite cartoon mouse duo (Narf!). When dealing with my ever-ready quizzing over a least favourite cartoon character, Cole roots for the good guys and picks Dick Dastardly and Muttley mere hours after I had been enjoying the Catch The Pigeon soundtrack.

Having recently gone to America to record, the band certainly seem to be on the up – they were guests of Fugazi who have taken a certain liking to their sound – thanks to Josh wearing a Fugazi T-shirt in a recent video. The sky is the limit in Cole’s opinion, there are high hopes but he seems keen to persevere on the music-making road as it is such a passion of his. Having previously toured with Big Audio Dynamite (Mick Jones’ current project) the band are making contacts rapidly and the more they get their name out, the more you’ll find yourself hearing their name from all the biggest movers and shakers. With a gig lined up for King Tut’s in Glasgow, the band are undoubtedly moving in the right direction and they’re deservedly on the shortlist for Gigslutz ‘Unsigned Band Of The Year’. Keep an eye on them, these guys will go far.

Find out more about Savage Nomads on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud. ‘Pinkie’s Little Light’ is out now

Ciaran Steward

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