Billboard Lounge: Savoir Adore InterviewDec 15, 2016
Billboard Lounge - December 15 2016
Q: What do you see for yourself down the road in both your music and career?
Paul Hammer: Well, I think they are very intertwined. And I think we’re at an interesting place right now because we just released a new record, we toured for most of the year, but now we already have a lot of new ideas, so I think especially in the short-term, it’s about continuing to put out new music and sort of building in that way where we’re sort of creating and building at the same time. So every couple months there will be a new song, and also a tour, and vice versa, and hopefully traveling the world, ideally until we’re all ready to have kids and move up to finish.
Q: What is the question you never get asked that you wish someone would ask you?
PH: I do wish sometimes that I was asked about, ‘What is your favorite instrument to use when you record?,’ because it’s rare that it gets into the nitty gritty.
Q: So, what’s your favorite instrument?
PH: My favorite instrument now is a new synthesizer that we just bought; it’s a Roland Juno-106. That’s my favorite instrument now.
Q: What is your most memorable experience as a performer?
Lauren Zettler: It’s hard because some of the most memorable ones are when something was terrible.
PH: Those are definitely the ones we’ll talk about whenever we have a total disaster. We had all of these technical problems in Cincinnati earlier this year, and it was one of those things where it just wasn’t one thing went wrong, it was multiple things, and I didn’t handle it well. I basically just clumsily tried to fix things, and we ended up playing a 20-minute set.
LZ: People actually said it was fun, that everything sounded really good.
PH: That was definitely the most memorable show, unfortunately, this fall. This year, our “Baby’s All Right” show was memorable in a funny way and a really good way. We took two years to write this new album, and really our first show playing all the songs was at “Baby’s All Right,” and it was sold out which felt great because it was our first show back. But they had a problem with their air conditioning, and so the room was crazy hot and every band that played was passing out. Everyone in the audience, no one wanted to get up, it was memorably sweaty.
Q: Do you think it’s easier to sing in heat or in cold weather?
PH: I would always rather it be a little cold than a little too hot; because I think you sweat less. At least I do, I’m a sweat-er.
Q: What artists have inspired your work?
LZ: So many, it really kind of starts from childhood inspiration, like I was really into musical theater as a kid, and playing classical piano, and then you start discovering what cool music is.
Q: What’s cool music to you?
LZ: Like Metric, or Arcade Fire.
Q: So if you had to say your music was like somebody else, who would it be?
PH: We get compared to another Canadian band called “Stars” a lot, because that has a similar male-female vocal interplay, it’s a similar arrangement, it is that sort of synth-heavy indie pop sort of sound. But I think out band is a mixture of that and some dancier bands in a way, so somewhere between Arcade Fire, Stars, and Cut Copy is what I usually say.
Q: What’s your go-to food?
LZ: Well, it depends.
PH: Mine is sushi, mine is simple. I would just eat sushi every day if I could, if it didn’t kill me, or if food poisoning wasn’t a thing. It’s expensive.
Q: Who has been the greatest supporter of you guys?
LZ: I would say, individually, my parents have always been my biggest supporters.
PH: My parents too.
Q: At what moment did you guys know that you wanted to do music?
LZ: I think I always knew that I wanted to do music. I tried to do other things, because I have two scientist parents who were really kind of pushing college, just a different lifestyle than I would have envisioned for myself, but I tried it and I didn’t like it, and music is kind of what ended up happening because it’s what was supposed to happen.
PH: It’s funny, because my dad was a musician, but because of that he encouraged me to do other things because he thought being a musician was really hard, he’s right. But he always encouraged me to try other things. Then I moved to New York, and then I knew. I was pre-med for my first six months of school, and then I played my first open mic.
Q: Living in Brooklyn, where do you guys go for peace of mind and inspiration?
PH: I really like Baby’s All Right, actually, I always feel inspired there for some reason.
LZ: Paul’s a lot like a socially inspired person, I am the opposite. [I get inspired] even just my house, a quiet, pristine, white, beautiful bedroom.
PH: There are some peaceful things I like to do as well, but for me it’s still about going out and being at a coffee shop. There’s a coffee shop that opened up last year called “Devotion” in Williamsburg, and it’s just a beautiful space. It has this huge skylight coming in, one of the walls is just plants, and especially going there early morning before anyone else, that’s the best time I think to be at peace. It’s one of the two, it’s either going out to a show, or being super zoned out at 7 a.m. in a coffee shop. The middle of the day is my least favorite part of the day; the morning and night are the best.
Q: What is the most inspiring performance that you guys have seen?
LZ: Recently, Christine and the Queens. Last year I saw her, and she blew my mind in a way that I haven’t experienced, I can’t remember the last time I felt that way.
PH: 1975, at Meadows, that destroyed me. It was so good.
Q: How do you deal with negativity and motivate yourself?
LZ: I think maybe this is something that not everybody talks about but I’m sure everybody feels, that everybody feels negativity and doubt a lot of the time. I let myself feel that way, and think about why I feel that way, and I’m really into meditation and that kind of stuff, so I try to combat it.
PH: I’ve lately been trying to really focus on flipping it in a way. If you’re feeling sad, allow yourself to feel sad, but also kind of look at it and realize the things you have control of in the situation and not let it get you down. And the same goes for motivation, because it’s hard when you’re surrounded by so many people who are more or less successful than you or doing things you want to do. It’s really hard because you’re constantly, especially with social media, forced to compare yourself passively all the time. So I think, for me, it’s just focusing on what I have control over always that helps, and then not worrying about others, and that just continues to motivate me where if I’m focusing on what I want to do, and focus on little things, that kind of thing.
Q: What advice would you give to young artists like yourself who are trying to pursue their dream and make it big?
LZ: I would say be careful with placing too much expectation on your art. If you’re in music to create music because it makes you feel good, then focus on that, because that’s why you’re doing it and not to expect anything of it.
PH: Expectations are very dangerous, especially early on. It gets easier and easier because you slowly realize more and more ‘Why am I still doing this?’ and you kind of focus on that.
LZ: Once you expect it to give you success or to give you something that makes you feel validated, it kind of squelches it.
PH: You just need to focus on it, because so many other artists and young musicians will do it, and then it’s connected to the expectations. They will write a song and automatically think that they would get picked up by this or this because they saw that happen to someone, or they think they saw that happen to someone. Behind every artist that has a quick rise is because they worked hard, and remembered to be patient. Put as much effort into it as you want to, don’t be afraid to because I can only imagine how hard it is for artists now.
LZ: I think also there’s room for everyone, that’s something that’s helped me a lot too when you get into the comparing mindset, reminding yourself that this world is so big and there’s so many people who know people that I’ve never heard of before, and there’s rooms for everyone.
Q: Where did you guys come up with your name?
PH: That was a long time ago. The first ever thing we ever recorded was a little experiment thing, we wanted to have an ambient sort of thing, and we just sang a few words in French, so we ended up doing that. Then we were like, ‘Oh, we should name the band,’ and what’s important is to know love, and savoir adore is ‘to know love’ in French. We kind of just rushed it in a way because we had to make a Myspace; it was the only way to share with friends. We just called it ‘Savoir Adore’ because we sang in French, and the next thing you know we were recording more and more. We kind of used that phrase as a focus for creating new music.