Sometime between Our Nature (2013) and “Lovers Wake,” dream pop outfit Savoir Adore were put on hiatus by the media. Though we were unaware of the news then, it was shortly after their critically-acclaimed sophomore album and before co-founder Deidre Muro’s departure that we filed the former duo next to fellow Brooklynites CULTS on a top shelf (for good reason) and looked elsewhere for a new twee fix.
Now, co-founder Paul Hammer has resurfaced with a new lineup (equal in number to Savoir Adore’s old touring force) for the band’s first tour in two years. It starts tonight in LA, but we were able to catch Hammer just prior to kickoff. Below, we catch up with the dreamer and look forward to Savoir Adore’s upcoming album.
How was SXSW this year? Whose was the most surprising performance? Who were you least expecting to run into?
It was great! Surprisingly, it seemed like the bubble finally burst and the crowds have slowed down a bit (which honestly, as a musician is a welcome change). We played 11 shows [ourselves] so I only got to see a couple of others, but my favorite was definitely Sofi Tukker. I ran into a lot of people, but I wasn’t really surprised. At this point, I just expect to run into people on every street corner, haha.
We’ve been listening to “Lovers Wake” and “Giants.” How will The Love That Remains be different from your previous albums?
I think the main way it will be different is that the sound and arrangements are a bit bigger and more polished than our previous works. I really took my time on it, and it’s the first time we have someone else mixing the album, which is really exciting. It’s also different in that it will have a few more collaborations than usual, as well as some featured vocalists throughout.
What was your creative process for it? Did it start before, after, or during hiatus? (If you were concretely on hiatus?)
It started before, while we were still touring on our last record. Funnily enough, it may seem like a hiatus because we hadn’t been playing shows after Deidre’s departure. But the truth is, I needed that time to step back and experiment on new music either way. So I think we probably would’ve taken a couple years to write the album either way. As far as the process, it really came down to me writing a lot of musical ideas first, about 50 instrumentals. From there, I decided to pick up the story from where we left off. Our Nature was about a journey through a chaotic relationship, a fantasy, and being left in deep solitude… The new record is about waking up from that dream, coming to grips with reality and finding “The Love that Remains.”
Besides the remix album and “The Fire,” your work is very self-contained, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Do you think there’s a reason for that tendency? Should we expect collaborations on this upcoming album?
Actually, yes! For the most part, we didn’t do many outside collaborations in the past… I think partially because the project itself was already a collaboration, but on this new record I started every song but then collaborating with a bunch of different people. So, you’ll hear a lot of different voices and a lot of different musicians on this record, which is definitely different than our past records.
If you ever look back and assess your own material, what’s one piece of work you’re particularly proud of and why?
I think Our Nature as a whole is what I’m most proud of. We started that record by writing “Dreamers” and “Sea of Gold;” it was a very deep emotional anchor to the narrative of the album and as we filled in the gaps it really came together exactly as we had hoped it would. And now, looking forward, I’m incredibly proud of “Giants” as I feel like it’s the first song that I wrote from a more autobiographical standpoint, while still maintaining a Savoir twist.
Will you share a tour memory that you’re not particularly proud of, ie. an embarrassing moment or funny story?
Well, the first time we ever played Bowery Ballroom in New York, I got so nervous during the opening bands set that I drank 5 beers in a row and got… well, very very drunk, very very quick. Then, I decided that tuning my guitar to the wrong notes was an OK decision… Needless to say when I came in for our first big entrance, it was NOT pretty…
Are you familiar with touring buddies X Ambassadors and/or Seinabo Sey from the past?
Actually yes! Our third show ever was with XA back in 2007 or 2008 I believe. We’ve been friends with all those guys for years since then (we also all lived in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn for years). I haven’t met Seinabo yet, but I’m a big fan of her work.
We found an old interview in which you disclosed your touring van’s name. Are you still driving Clifford, or do you have a new vessel?
Haha, well… we actually just got a new van, and it happens to be red again… so this one is Clifford 2.0!
What were your first thoughts about French Horn Rebellion’s new EP? Kanye’s new album? Hoverboards?
Haha! I loved [Foolin’ Around (2015)]. I actually haven’t listened to Kanye’s new album yet as my brain is totally full finishing our record right now. And as far as hoverboards go, well, I don’t understand why everyone calls these things hoverboards — they’re not hoverboards if they touch the ground! Now, if REAL hoverboards exist somewhere and I’m missing that, that’s something completely different.
For you as a band, what does it mean “to know love?”
To be completely comfortable in your own skin, and to be completely open to the world around you.
Savoir Adore will be at the SF Masonic 3/27 with X Ambassadors and Seinabo Sey.
Article by Joanna Jiang