Evolving explorations: an interview with Cole Salewicz of The Savage Nomads

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Copyright – Grace Lightman

Since the release of their debut single The Magic Eye in 2011, UK rock band The Savage Nomads has continued to impress and ignite the imagination with their ever evolving invention and sound. Through an acclaimed album, an equally showered with praise EP, and their stunning new single Jaded Edges, the London quintet has drawn and bred major attention, including that of Mick Jones of Big Audio Dynamite and The Clash. The time feels ripe and ready for the band to finally explode onto the frontline of the UK rock scene, something their single suggests is imminent as more boundary pushing, for band and genre, songs and releases are beginning to stir. Eager to find out about the inner sanctum of the band we grabbed the opportunity to talk with vocalist/guitarist Cole Salewicz, touching on the history of The Savage Nomads, BAD, songwriting and much more….

Hi Cole and thanks for talking with us at The RingMaster Review

A pleasure…

To start off with some background how did the members of The Savage Nomads get together and what brought the band into existence?

Josh and I were two like-minded souls that were lucky enough to meet each other via a once brilliant London group called ‘Sailor No Youth’. Del Guapo, a fantastic guitarist and songwriter who lives down in Hastings introduced me when I was 15 and Josh about 13 or so. I was playing bass with him in Sailor No Youth for a little bit and he thought Josh and I might be able to link some serious tunes together. Lucky, really…

Did you have a determined intent for the band when starting out and if so has that changed over the years, or has it always simply been an organic journey of discovery from day one?

At first you know we were like any other young band; trying to make whatever we could work and thinking we were God’s gift to music. I suppose that’s a good thing when you’re really young because we went out and played absolutely anywhere to anyone and I think Josh and I were really happy to do that: making our bones playing to barflys watching Champions league football. That was a crucial time, and also a pretty difficult one for some old nomads: a few stragglers got left by the roadside! We were rewarded with a year long residency at the 12 Bar Club eventually…We’re more determined than ever now, though…

Your sound is a multi-flavoured, multi-textured beast, one which is constantly evolving, what are the biggest inspirations to your adventure would you say?

Wow, I couldn’t tell you. Thank you! Anyone who is trying to push their limits I guess, anyone trying to be the best at what they’re doing. Arcade Fire’s new LP is emblematic of that ethos: they play to their strengths but are always looking to cover new ground. The Clash was a big influence on Josh and I growing up, as was Neil Young…I love Prince, I love Bowie…you know, all those guys…we like The Cribs’ attitude…

Each release from debut single The Magic Eye through an album and EP on to your recently released track Jaded Edges have

Copyright - Grace Lightman

Copyright – Grace Lightman

all had truly individual character and imagination from themselves and other bands around. How much has the changing sound been natural evolution and how much a determined guidance from yourselves?

Thanks, I think pretty much up until recently it was all completely natural. Maybe completely out of control! The new material is a different slice of pie…I can’t wait to release more of it…I want a bus driver in Wigan to be able to connect with the songs. We are retaining who we are, because we’re not getting away from what makes us write songs or why we write the songs but I think as we’ve gotten a little bit older we understand a bit more about crafting songs if you catch my drift; because in the past we were just vomiting out our insides, getting all the ideas out in a big pot, the songs came out in a stream of consciousness (a bit like this interview)…we’re a little more composed now. We practice deep breathing!

Earlier songs and releases were seemingly bred from a post-punk seed whilst recent tracks and the new single Jaded Edges, well they have unveiled a weave of diverse aural invention and styles honed into something contagiously ingenious in our book. How would you describe your sound to newcomers?

Golden Pop: The Real McCoy.

How has your music evolved since the early days to the new release for you?

Well we can play a little more and understand more about production and about different methods of writing songs. Different sexual positions! I don’t bother looking at the past too much, I’m very proud of Coloured Clutter but I haven’t listened to it in ages: I’m only interested in The Savage Nomads at this very second and in 2014.

I believe the line-up has changed over the past years, has this been a factor to the changing direction and ever hungry invention of the band?

Probably. Everything that is meant to happen does happen. I love those guys who were in the band before, they were great musicians but we’re in a more harmonious place now.

The Savage Nomads has been a band which has us bemused in the fact you have not exploded into the full attention and psyche of the country before now. We know it is not the music, so can you give us some ideas of the obstacles facing a band which keeps them under cover, prevents them finding the amount of ears needed to be noticed?

HA! Well, I thought it was going well…slowly, slowly catch a monkey, Pete…Guys like you are making it easier. It is hard, I mean, sometimes I feel like there are a million groups in London, let alone the rest of the country. I have often thought given the effort we put in and the organisation that we uphold; we really should of started selling laughing gas…

Have you found a laziness or apathy in some quarters from the industry and the public when it comes to trying to grab their attention in what is a thick wave of emerging bands at any point in time?

Hahahahahahahahhahahaha NOOOOOOO, not AT ALL…what on earth would give you that impression?!?!?!??

Copyright - Grace Lightman

Copyright – Grace Lightman

You have certainly gained strong attention and support from the likes of Matt Johnson, Robyn Hitchcock, and especially Mick Jones. Has this given your presence any extra spice within the music world?

All of that has helped and we’ve been really lucky but it doesn’t mean anything more than a nice endorsement. Mick isn’t going to come round and write the songs for me. What it has meant though Pete, is that lovely people like yourself have taken an interest when maybe they wouldn’t of otherwise. Another piece of the puzzle…

Tell us about your connection with Mick and BAD in particular. How did he become aware of you, which led to the band playing the Big Audio Dynamite Justice Tonight Tour, and how much did you learn from that event?

That was stupendous. A great experience playing on bigger stages and completely euphoric! That Scala show on the Justice Tonight tour was one of the best nights of my life. Mick discovered us when we were 16: West London buzz I guess…a big sewing circle that place. We played his Carbon Casino club nights at the legendary Inn on the Green in Ladbroke Grove. It led to a lot of great things, we met a tonne of people that would help us out later on…met our first guitarist, a really cool kid called Francis Botu…

Tell us about the songwriting process within the band and how songs expand from their early seeds generally.

Nowadays it’s different all the time but over the last year Josh and I have gotten really into using Logic. We immersed ourselves in it and came out with over 20 new tunes. I’m writing some new songs on an acoustic guitar and the new boys in the group are really terrific, really enthusiastic so we’ve started writing collectively as a group a bit more too. Getting competent on Logic was a major breakthrough for us though…

Are you a band which continues to evolve songs right up to the final recording or do you enter the studio/record with a relatively fixed sound and intent for a track in place?

Absolutely, songs have lives of their own so you’ve gotta let them do their own thing! We recorded the latest material at Café Studios in Bow with Cherif Hashizume who we got on like a house on fire with. He was actually in a band called Melody Nelson that we used to support when we were mid-teens, lying about our age to play at the Rhythm Factory…funny who comes back into the fold!

Returning to Jaded Edges, your songs have always had a swagger, a confidence to their bodies which instantly engages, but the new song has a mischief and deep belief as well as passion which suggest that The Savage Nomads has found a maturity and even greater appetite for experiment and inner exploration. Is that how you see it?

Yeah sure! Thank you for saying so! I have definitely become an avid fan of the love song: I don’t think there’s anything I have more fun writing about. I still write about what else is going on in my life and what I see around me but love songs are the best type of songs, aren’t they?

Can we take Jaded Edges as a potent indicator of the direction and avenues the songs you are writing and those to come will a0881502226_2investigate or as we spoke of before it is more of a let’s see what they say to us situation as they emerge for the band?

Jaded Edges is a good indication, yes…but we’re always gonna throw some surprises at you…I’m very excited about the new material, the new set is mainly comprised of it so you gotta come check us live…

What is next for and from The Savage Nomads?

Acrobat training…we wanna take our live shows even further…

Once again thank you for spending time with us. Any last thoughts or revelations you would like to share?

Grilled Honey-Glazed Mackerel, Cherry Tomatoes and Boiled Brown Rice. Add sour cream and scotch bonnet pepper sauce to taste…

Read the review of Jaded Edges @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/savage-nomads-jaded-edges/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 11/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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