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Savoy Grand

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Graham Langley, am: 13.09.2002 ]

Ehrlich gesagt, konnte ich die Euphorie um die Band nie ganz nachvollziehen. Bis ich das Glück hatte, die Band beim diesjährigen Haldern Open Air zu sehen, wo sie für die kurzfristig ausgefallen Sigur Ros eingesprungen waren. Ich habe selten eine Band erlebt, die so minimalistisch zu Werke geht und trotzdem eine derart intensive Atmosphäre erzeugen kann wie die britischen Jungs von Savoy Grand. Ich kann nur sagen, dass ich die Band schätzen und lieben gelernt habe. Euch wird es nicht anders gehen. Gitarrist, Sänger und Mastermind Graham Langley stand mir Rede und Antwort.


Musicscan: How did you guys all meet up? I heard that you got in touch through an ad in Melody Maker.

Savoy Grand: That's right. I had been living in Nottingham for a couple of years, writing songs in my little flat, doing little free solo gigs and stuff and then I wanted to start playing live with a band again. So I put this ad in and Oli Mayne answered it, and it kind of went from there.

Musicscan: How does your songwriting process work? Does one person write most of the songs or does everybody contribute equally?

Savoy Grand: Though we credit equally, the contributions vary. I write the songs, and then we all work together to arrange the various parts, it either comes together very quickly or can take a long time to gel.

Musicscan: Did you intentionally write music that was very atmospheric and minimal? Could you also imagine playing "loud" indie rock like Hüsker Dü e.g.?

Savoy Grand: When I started out writing songs I was very much inspired by Hüsker Dü, and I wrote some very full-on songs but I soon found this really frustrating and veered towards much slower arrangements. I think this is because of the way I write lyrics, this for me is the heart of the song, and everything else needs to follow this. I try and write words that are very truthful to me, and I spend a long time cutting words out until only the very essential essence of what I want to say is there. This then means that the music has to follow the same route, otherwise there is a risk of becoming too overpowering. I look at it like whispering in someone's ear. That is much more powerful and memorable than shouting at them.

Musicscan: How is the music scene in Nottingham and how do you like living there in general?

Savoy Grand: I have to confess that I no longer live there, I had to move to London to get work (Savoy Grand does not pay my bills). But I can safely say that Nottingham has a much better music scene than London.

Musicscan: Do you consider yourself part of the whole "Quiet Is The New Loud" movement or would you say you are doing something utterly different? Do you associate with any of those bands?

Savoy Grand: I don't associate with any of those bands, I don't associate with any movement. There are artists I admire and would hope to one day match in terms of what they have produced, but they come from every sort of musical and literary field.

Musicscan: Why do you hardly play live compared to other bands? Do you find it hard to create the same atmosphere you have on the albums live?

Savoy Grand: We hardly play live for a few reasons. We all have day jobs and only so much time in the year to tour and record. we aren't that kind of regular rehearsing band, I tend to write a lot on my own, and we get together when there is something to work towards, like a recording. Also I am the manager and I am terrible at phoning people up and begging for gigs. I just hate to do it.

Musicscan: You surprisingly headlined the Haldern Festival this year, due to a short notice cancellation by Sigur Ros. How did you like the show? I was very amazed and I am sure so were a lot of other people, but I could also notice that people often did not have the patience to just sit back listen. Does that tend to be a problem in general?

Savoy Grand: Yes that can be a problem but it is never a big one, and it is to be expected. The gig was amazing.

Musicscan: Do you feel good on stage or is there always some nervousness and insecurity, especially when playing such big audiences?

Savoy Grand: I have never played in front of so many people, and I wasn't sure that our music was going to work. I think by the end of the set, we were playing up the more 'rocking' bits of our songs - not a bad thing. I like to do both things I think, the very small quiet gigs and the big ones. The small ones are the scariest.

Musicscan: What is your musical background? How did you first get in touch with music how would you define your relation to music in general?

Savoy Grand: When I was a teenager I had a slightly obsessive relationship with music, and then I guess other things sort of got in the way. But just recently I have realised that it is the most important thing in my life, it really is all I have. all I can offer to the world if you like. So that has actually come as a bit of a shock (and a relief) to finally realise that after so long. But I think it has given me a fresh confidence.

Musicscan: Are you melancholic and depressed people at times are do you just like to write great songs that bear these emotions?

Savoy Grand: Most of the time I am a very happy person, and I love to have fun like anyone else. Its just that sometimes I feel pretty bad, and that's when I write songs, then I feel fine.

Musicscan: What would you say is the biggest musical difference between "Dirty Pillows" and "Burn The Furniture"?

Savoy Grand: "Burn The Furniture" is a much more confident record, much more time was taken over it, we used the studio more than we did with "Dirty Pillows". The first album was pretty much recorded live in the studio (I think you can tell..) and "Burn the Furniture" was more pieced together. I like both ways of working, it depends on the songs.

Musicscan: How did you get in touch with Glitterhouse Records? Are you satisfied with the work that they are doing?

Savoy Grand: Reinhard (head guy there) E-mailed me after reading Mojo Magazine. They are great. Great people.

Musicscan: I assume you guys still have to take on outside jobs besides the band or does the band provide a living for all of you? What kind of jobs are doing?

Savoy Grand: Yes we all have to work to pay the bills, I'm afraid I'm not going to tell you what we do. It's very boring and not really relevant.

Musicscan: What is your goal with the band? What do you want to achieve?

Savoy Grand: I don't know specifically. I want to make an album that I am proud of. Some sort of true statement. I want to be able to give up my job, and concentrate on making music. I'd like to score a film.

Musicscan: What can we expect from Savoy Grand in the future?

Savoy Grand: Well I am writing the new album at the moment, so it's a bit early to tell, I think you can expect some different songs, maybe more of a subtler record than previously. Maybe with more of an overall feeling holding it together.

Musicscan: Top 3 records, books and movies?

Savoy Grand: Records: Music For Airports - Brian Eno, ZZ Top - Afterburner, The Queen IS Dead - The Smiths. Books: The Heart Of The Matter - Graham Greene, Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates, The Tape OP Compendium - edited by Larry Crane. Films: The French Connection II. Nashville. The Hairdresser's Husband.

  Glitterhouse Records
  Savoy Grand Website
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