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

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Threepenny Thieves: The Medals Aren’t Mine

Though arguably not the most instant of captivations, The Medals Aren’t Mine the latest EP from UK alternative/punk band Threepenny Thieves, emerges as one of the more intriguing and refreshes releases this year. It is a collection of songs which rile up and challenge whilst offering a boisterous feast of wickedness to enflame mischievous urges. It is raw and instinctive rock n roll which with an abrasive touch lights up senses and thoughts. It is honest and in the face, just as good punk rock should be, and fuses it with stirring alternative rock sounds to make each track a unique and unpredictable experience.

Threepenny Thieves, with a name inspired by the musical The Threepenny Opera, was formed in February 2011 as a three piece by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Mortie Pockett, who brought in long time friend Jake ‘Dreads’ McLewee on bass and drummer Nick Gray, who he met on his university course. The first year saw the band gigging and recording their debut EP Months, and notably the addition of Mikey Digby as second and lead guitar. The South England based quartet according to their bio makes music which is best described as ‘Biffy Clyro teaming up with The Cribs and fighting Two Door Cinema Club’. To be honest they are not the bands which spring immediately to mind listening to the EP but it certainly indicates the eclectic and diverse sound the band conjures up.

The release opens with Let’s Never Play Acoustic Again and immediately has attention firmly in its direction. The song takes mere seconds for its guitars to flare up with tight sonic play whilst the vocals of Pockett delight as they squeal and sing with a distinct expressive style. Though not openly infectious, the song has a tight grip on the ear with its thumping rhythms, energetically charged riffs, and guitar invention, whilst the vocals taunt with a caustic but appealing attitude. As this and the following Frozen Garage Joe chew and tease the senses, the sounds playing with their safety offer a mix of Reuben, ThisCity, and most of all My Red Cell. It is an absorbing and inspiring blend which once it has a connection thrills at every turn.

     Frozen Garage Joe surpasses the opener almost with its first sonic breath. The sense of something special coming is instant and once the discordance kicks in from the guitars, the immediate storm of dirty sounds and wicked intent is irresistible. Mid way in the song finds a stoner vein to heat and fire up the already riotous air of the song to make for a contagious and thrilling climax. The song especially as it makes its final crescendo, is very much like the aforementioned My Red Cell with Pockett having the same acidic and excited crusade of vocal harmonics which makes Russell Toomey from the other band so mesmeric.

Third song Genevieve is a slowly enveloping emotive ballad which taken on its own is an honest and strong piece of passion, but within the manic and bedlamic presences of other songs does initially feel an uneasy fit. It reveals another aspect to the sound and songwriting of the band though which with its closing climactic heart, ensures the song makes for an impressive selection even if it lacks the appeal of other songs.

Fighting Talk is a punk rock fury to again turn the listener into a breathless incited bundle of agitated enthusiasm, its attitude drenched challenge sparking only excited reactions. The track is a punchy taunt with an energy which is steely without having the aggressive and violent intensity to back it up, the sounds reflecting the great lyrical humour and tale.

Will Threepenny Thieves and The Medals Aren’t Mine be for everyone…it is unlikely as most inventive and boundary ignoring bands find a resistance to their imagination but if something different, well crafted, and individual is to your taste than this is a must investigate. Completed by a further three radio edits of its songs and a free download at the following http://soundcloud.com/threepenny_thieves/sets/the-medals-arent-mine there really is no excuse not to take some intensive time with the EP.

RingMaster 12/09/2012

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Rupert Stroud: Chasing The Night

It is always great to be hit with surprises and unexpected pleasures and in many ways even more fun when it is in genres and styles of music one does not usually spend many days with. The new album from UK singer songwriter Rupert Stroud is such a release. Chasing The Night is an eager and mesmeric array of thirteen songs which please and share multiple satisfying moments with the ear and infectious musical excursions with the senses.

Chasing The Night is not quite a flawless album, the hold on the focus slipping as it reaches its latter stages though one suspects that is as much down to the play order of the songs as it is a diminish in the sharp creativity on display. Each song on the release holds its own to varying degrees and never let attention or the eagerness to stay within their call wander. It is an album that also offers great promise and firm indication that there is a one sure masterpiece within Stroud waiting to evolve. Saying that Chasing The Night is itself a fine and rewarding collection of songs that puts the majority of similar fuelled indie releases in the shade.

The album is the follow up to the self titled which first brought Stroud to the attention, but is a more mature and defined release. It brings a vibrant blend of light and dark, its warm inviting breath tinged with shadows and hidden corners that light up the senses and emotions. The great thing about it is the sound has a full and rounded body not the expected acoustic only presence and this is down to Stroud bringing in Mick Bedford on drums, Kate Peters with wonderful backing vocals, and even more importantly eminent British producer Will Jackson (The Kaiser Chiefs, Embrace, The Cribs, The Music) who also provided additional guitars and keys as well as backing vocals. Though the music is stripped down and uncluttered as one would imagine it has a rawness that pulsates throughout bringing a depth and character to the songs and one suspects that is as much down to Jackson as the artist himself.

Nothing is over complicated on the album but nor is it just a mix of obvious hooks and invitations. Throughout you get whiffs of familiarity from chords, riffs, and melodies but without a defined source which adds to the pleasure and fine spicery frequenting the release. The opening 40 Days & 40 Nights immediately brings the ear to attention with its micro drum roll and precise guitar teasing in the first few seconds. They step back for Stroud and acoustic to open up the tale before accompanying him on an eager and boisterous b even paced romp. The song takes you into its world with a sure touch and irresistible beckoning with the great voice of Peters adding a sirenesque lure behind the vocals of Stroud.

It is an impressive start followed by the electrified air of Forget You and the monotone hypnotic Take Your Time. Both songs are enjoyable and have energy within their frame that continues on from the first song but they take a step back compared to its compulsive energy.  It is from this moment though that the album unleashes its heart and fullest might with a series of outstanding songs.

Hate To Say is the brightest jewel, a song that wraps around the emotions with a steely beauty and grace that feeds the fires within. Stroud comes over like a mix of Richard Ashcroft and Adrian Borland and it is immense with the incisive melodic grip of the song as captivating as the vocals. Its suggestive driven pulse which never finds its crescendo reminds of Pounding from Doves and just adds to the pleasure.

The equally impressive darkened Heard It All Before with a further stunning dual vocal blend of Stroud and Peters, the stirring almost primitive On The Run, and the pulsating shadowy No Love Lost which ignited passions once laid at the feet of The Sound, leave the heart throbbing with breathless excitement and deepest satisfaction. If with the opener these had made up an EP it would be there as a classic contender. That is not a comment on the rest of the album just how immense these particular songs are.

The album then changes back to the strong and enjoyable stance that the previously mentioned songs that followed 40 Days & 40 Nights brought.  The likes of the unsurprising blues toned Sunday Night Blues, the excellent Hangover with its great boozy strings, and the unexpected and unpredictable Tears for Now which features vocalist Haydn Corrodus from London Hip Hop/Indie/Soul band The Stow, offer up a varied and enterprising continuation to the album. This particular song is imaginative and adventurous though whether it truly fits the album is debatable.

Chasing the Night is an excellent album with a heart of songs that stir up emotions and feelings like so few others manage. When a song brings a wave of strong emotion as it pleasures you know it is something special and there is a handful upon the album. Rupert Stroud has given the area of singer songwriters a new and impressive flavour.

http://www.rupertstroudmusic.com

RingMaster 15/05/2012

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