Interview: Chatting with Brooklyn’s Savoir Adore about wood nymphs, Whole Foods, and their stunning new record Our Nature (playing at Ortleib’s on Friday)
Brooklyn’s Savoir Adore were born 5 years ago on a dare (“spend 48 hours together; write music”), but since then have transformed into one of the borough’s most popular purveyors of dream pop. The brainchild of Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro, the band has won fans with catchy melodies, relentless creativity, and an inescapable flair for theatrics. On new record Our Nature (out now), the band incorporates lush melodies, sparkling beats, and dramatic narrative to grand effect. I chatted with Hammer as he rolled down the highway en route to the first stop on a Northeast tour—about influences, tour rituals and what fans can expect from Savoir Adore live.
The Key: Compared to [previous record] In the Wooded Forest, Our Nature seems a bit dancier and more unified. Was this the intention?
Paul Hammer: Definitely. I think overall we took our time with this record a little bit more than in the past. There was also always very much a narrative idea that developed as we were writing the record…starting with the song “Loveliest Creature.” We wrote that song first, and then just naturally as we were working on demos, we realized that there was this love story between a monster and a girl. So there ended up being a narrative that ran throughout.
As for the dancier elements of the record, I think that that is as a result of us having really gotten into some dancier music, and having played with a lot of dancier bands than in the past…so as we started working, we ending up having heavier beats than we did in the beginning.
TK: Tell me about the “Dreamers” video. Deidre appears to be some sort of fairy snow queen, and you seem to be some sort of Shakespearean wood nymph, wearing a Mardi Gras mask. I love it—but what does it mean?
PH: In some ways I’d say the video represents me and Deidre meeting in our own imaginations. I am this character in this dream world…and whether I’m looking for something or running away from something we don’t know…and then I happen to meet Deidre who is this other character in the dream world. And the takeaway is that there’s this adventure that we’re about to take together.
TK: Is the adventure the record?
PH: Definitely. “Dreamers” is very much an introduction to the record, separated from the other narratives. “Dreamers” introduces us as the narrators of the story, and then the narrative starts with “Loveliest Creature.”
TK: You both come from very musical families—do you think this impacts the way you view music, or the way you create it?
PH: Absolutely. I think a lot of it is in a subconscious way…just because we grew up in households where there was constantly music being played or listened to or talked about. I think that having this background really fostered the experimental nature of our band and also our relationship. We both come from these musical families…and as a result, we just both love music and being around it.
I also would say that being in families where music was taken so seriously helped us to consider music as a profession…and it was a lovely motivating factor to have families that supported us. Even now, they still support us—both of our parents will listen to the music we’re making currently and give us little comments about it and come to shows.
TK: Do they give you good feedback?
PH: Yes, sure (laughs). Well sometimes they’ll tell us something and we’ll be like, “Ok…that’s your opinion…we’re gonna take it in a different direction.” But overall it’s helpful.
TK: What were you listening to when you wrote Our Nature, and what are you listening to now?
PH: Before and during recording—well, the recording process lasted like 2 years as we were touring and working on other things—but I’d say the Phoenix record, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, was a big influence. We listed to that so much in the van…at South by Southwest two years ago we probably listened to it 15 times. Cut Copy, Zonoscope, was another one—those are two big records.
More recently though, we’ve been all over the place. I really like the Alt-J record that just came out; and the M83 record that came out last year. There’s also that Slowdance song “Boyfriend.” And we’re always listening to Usher a lot in the van…”Climax” is probably the best song I’ve heard in a year (laughs).
TK: You recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to “make your live show more special.” Congrats on that! And tell me: what sort of special things we can expect?
PH: Well over the past few years, we’ve been lucky enough to tour with some more established bands—Oh Land and Lights to name just two—and one of the things we realized from playing with them night after night is…it’s about the music…but it’s also about the experience of the stage show. And a lot of the time, there is a visual element to it. So we decided we wanted to incorporate lights, and so the past few months we reworked our stage show to incorporate lights…the end goal being that wherever we go, we can play a completely dark room and have a complete light show that will go with our songs.
TK: So you guys just started a several-week tour—do you have any tips or routines you use to stay energized/in the right mindset?
PH: Overall, I’d say that we all look out for one and other, in terms of staying healthy and getting enough sleep and stuff like that…we know that pulling an all-nighter or partying is not the best thing to do.
After a show, I’m always like, “let’s go to McDonalds!” And someone else, the responsible person in the group, will be like, “Let’s NOT get fast-food late at night,” or “let’s NOT do that….let’s go to sleep.” We’ve been on tour enough times now that we know that being healthy is necessary, in order to preserve our voices, for example—we all sing, so if one person loses their voice it affects the whole performance. So while we COULD go eat fast food every night, we’re more likely to say, go on Yelp and give a restaurant we liked a good review, or go to Whole Food and get a salad.
TK:Sounds like a good night to me!
Savoir Adore play Orlieb’s Lounge, 847 N. 3rd Street, Friday, October 19 with Buried Beds. The 21+ show begins at 8:30 p.m. and admission is $8; more information at the venue’s website.