Musicscan: Graham, first of all congratulations to the new album. You have been sorely missed. What took you so long to record and release a new album? What have you been up to since your last record?
Savoy Grand: Thanks. You are right this has taken a long time to be released. After we put out “People And What They Want” and we toured, I was ill, for quite a few months, and it took me a while to get back to singing again. Also it seems as you get older, life gets more and more complicated, and unfortunately we have never been in a position that we can concentrate on Savoy Grand all the time. We have to work. And the point is with this music it can't be forced, some songs can take a while to reveal themselves, months in fact. Some come almost instantly. The other main thing was that we decided to record this ourselves, in various spaces, which was a huge learning process and took a long time. But I am proud of what we've achieved.
Musicscan: When we last talked about 7 years ago, you mentioned that you had just recently realized that music is the most important aspect in your life. Has this feeling changed at all? Did you perhaps get more cynical about the state of music in general over the years?
Savoy Grand: I am cynical about everything and I wish I wasn't. Music is still as important to me, but to be honest I lose patience with having to sell and market it in some way. I am compelled to do this, to make records, so that must be done, I realise that.
Musicscan: What makes Savoy Grand special to you? How would you describe the essence of the band?
Savoy Grand: That’s a tough one to answer because I may not see it as special, because I am too close to it. But say I do, I think it’s probably because of the honesty that I leave in the songs. Music that is special to me will have something that feels honest at the core of it, even if it’s not actually genuine. The essence of Savoy Grand is stubbornness.
Musicscan: Do you sometimes feel the urge to write a loud and fast rock song but then dismiss this idea again, because you think it does not fit the Savoy Grand aesthetic?
Savoy Grand: Yes, there are always these urges. In fact, 80 percent of our band rehearsals consist of this. But at the end of the day, they leave you cold, and you go back to the songs that seem special to you, and these are the ones where there is more space and time to let the music breathe.
Musicscan: Is there a lyrical theme that runs through the new album, something that perhaps connects the individual songs?
Savoy Grand: Not consciously. I don't write songs in that way. Perhaps a few of them seem to be dealing with my being ill in retrospect.
Musicscan: What makes for the perfect song in your opinion? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song in your opinion? How would you define a perfect song?
Savoy Grand: I don't think any artist will ever say they have made something perfect, and if they do they should not be trusted. I have heard songs I consider to be almost perfect. But then your opinion may change. Perfection is not absolute, it’s relative.
Musicscan: Is it necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality?
Savoy Grand: Yes, but I think it’s impossible for someone to ever judge their own music properly. But then what is "proper" judgement. It’s pretty easy. Hear it, like it, don't like it. That's it.
Musicscan: What is the difference between art and entertainment in your opinion?
Savoy Grand: Entertainment is art that makes money. No, maybe art is trying to speak to the individual and entertainment to the crowd. Juggling is not art, I know that.
Musicscan: What effect do you think does the accessibility of music have on the music itself? Do you think music might be valued differently nowadays because it’s basically free for everyone and one does not necessarily have to engage with any of its context in order to appreciate it?
Savoy Grand: I don't think it has a direct effect on the actual music itself. I don't think people are making worse music because they think people will pay less for it. Maybe I just haven't heard that stuff…The listener provides the context in my opinion, and that can be anything, it comes down to taste again. I still think the good stuff survives.
Musicscan: Do you think that a band like Savoy Grand will still be able to release records like “Accident Book” in about 20 years? Do you think it is likely that people will solely download and listen to individual songs and that the format of the album will not be of any cultural or aesthetic significance?
Savoy Grand: I think the album will still be around, if musicians are still around, playing live. And journalists are still around, of course. It’s just how it works best in my opinion, practically, for an artist to focus on a group of songs.
Musicscan: What do you hope people to take away from a Savoy Grand show?
Savoy Grand: A CD and a T-shirt. No, only kidding, maybe a smile.
Musicscan: Why is music your privileged form of expression as opposed to other artistic avenues? What makes music special in this regard?
Savoy Grand: It comes naturally to me.
Musicscan: What can we expect from Savoy Grand in the near future? Any tours, collaborations, plans?
Savoy Grand: We are touring in March 2010. We hope to have some new music ready then, too, but I can't promise. I would like to work on some more film and TV music, and we are all involved in other projects that will spring forth eventually.