The first thing you need to know about Savoir Adore is that they really, really like their food. At 2am in any given city you can find Paul stalking the streets looking for a late night deep fried treat. Not to say that they’re all massive porkers or anything, in fact they’re a pretty damn good-looking band, it’s just that during my short time with them, well, food was high on the agenda.
Savoir Adore are Paul and Deidre from New York. They make sweet pop songs with claw like melodies and have a live show so charming audience exhales can often be heard swooning over the applause.
I first saw them at SXSW in March after developing a small crush on their track ‘Bodies’. I interviewed them here. The next week I bumped into Paul in Williamsburg diner Pies and Thighs (food again) and after a short MySpace exchange, I put on their show in Cardiff last week.
The band stayed at my house for a couple of nights after. This interview was conducted over fresh coffee, orange juice, and a tofu scramble with red peppers that Paul whipped up while drummer Timmy sunned himself in my back garden.
So, tell us a bit about yourself.
Paul: Hello, we are Savoir Adore. We’re from New York City and we’ve been playing music together for about three years. Deidre and I started the band. It’s sort of an accident that we even became a band coz we really just started as a recording project over the course of a weekend. We did an EP as a challenge to work with one another and it just sort of developed naturally after that. Our recordings got passed around, we started playing live shows and the rest is history I guess.
Did you record the EP and then start playing shows?
Paul: Yeah, we recorded the EP first.
Deidre: We did it in November and then we played a show in February. A very slap dash thrown together show of some of those songs and a really funny variety of songs from other places, like covers and songs we’d written independently. But it was definitely recording first.
Paul: The EP really was the first step, that first recording. There were twelve tracks but they’re all pretty short coz a lot of the songs are almost like short story form. A lot of people look at it like, “How is this an EP?” But it’s only nineteen minutes long. A lot of the songs are instrumental tracks or short little two-minute nuggets.
It’s very beautifully packaged as are a lot of the things you do, like when you set up on stage with the fairy lights. Do you put a lot of thought into how you appear visually?
Paul: I would say the stage thing is pretty new and it’s something we would love to do more and incorporate the artwork and the visuals into that. As far as the artwork for the albums, the concepts and the visual elements and the stories were really important while we were writing, so when it came time to make artwork we had specific ideas in mind for both the EP and then later the full length… I think we got lucky just knowing the right people to work with. Deidre knew someone who… You can tell the story of Doug.
Deidre: Well, Doug was a friend of mine from high school actually and he did the EP artwork. The same thing with this girl, this graphic designer Connie who we worked with for the album – we just talked to them about the ideas that we had floating around and let them go off and create some stuff and come back to us and in both scenarios, letting them do their thing with the ideas we gave them yielded awesome results.
What is your favourite album cover of all time?
Paul: Ooh, album cover…..
Deidre: That’s a really hard question. No one’s ever asked us that.
Paul: It’s fun though.
Paul: Let’s see…… Oh man, it’s so funny. I made a folder on my computer of album covers I really liked and different ideas for our record and I can’t remember any of them.
Deidre: I always liked the artwork for the Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
Paul: I always liked that. That is beautiful. Let’s see what else is in my head… Oh God….. Picking favourites, that’s the hardest for us. I’ll just search the library in my head… Ummm….
Deidre: You can also say “I can’t answer this question right now”.
Paul: I can’t answer this question right now.
Yeah, you have got to get a train in fifteen minutes. How are you finding touring outside of the States now?
Deidre: Loving it.
Paul: Love it. LOVE IT!
Deidre: It’s really nice. We’re doing all our travelling by trains and it’s nice to be compact in that way coz we really had to pair down what we were able to bring since we were travelling this way. So I think it’s really cool because it’s forced us to focus exactly what we’re doing and what our show is about, just out of necessity.
Paul: It’s also really nice not to drive for seven or eight hours and then play. We have a big van in the states and Deidre and I do all the driving and a lot of the time we’ll drive for five/six hours and then walk on stage and it’s like, you’re exhausted. Whereas here… obviously we are carrying some heavy equipment with us but the fact you can sit on a train and relax a little bit…… I’m gonna keep thinking about the album cover.
Since you’re usually a five piece but there are only three of you over here, how did you break the news to the other two?
Deidre: Ah, we were just totally open and honest about it because it was really a matter of logistics.
Paul: Pretty much as soon as we started planning this we told the two other guys that have been playing with us, “There’s a pretty good chance it’s just going to be the three of us for financial reasons.” So yeah, they weren’t too bummed about it. It was more of a challenge for us, but it was exciting because we got to rework some of the arrangements and how we perform and I think anytime you can step back and rework your set it’s actually really exciting, especially coz a lot of it was done in the studio, to go back and rework some of the sounds and arrangements and the beats and stuff was actually really fun for us. It makes it feel really fresh.
If money was no object, describe the most awesome Savoir Adore show. What would be your dream set up?
Deidre: It would be extravagant. If money were no object we’d probably do the EP in its entirety and it would be progressive and theatrical with lights and everything. I love that stuff.
Paul: There’s so many ways, like if you look at bands like Of Montreal and Flaming Lips, the way they combine all the elements to make it such an experience.
Deidre: Also you don’t have to play typical venues then. You can do it somewhere awesome.
Paul: Like an outdoor performance space or like an Opera House
Deidre: Or somewhere totally unconventional like at the Beach. Like, set up a seaside stage. I don’t know, you could do anything!
Paul: So many possibilities. You could have it rain Skittles!
So with possibilities in mind, what’s the future hold for Savoir Adore?
Paul: I think, really, the first step is working on new material. This tour was something we’ve been looking forward to and hopefully we’ll come back in the fall, fingers crossed. It’s tough planning and paying for it all but I think we’ll be back. Definitely working on new songs.
Deidre: Yeah, the next thing is definitely working on new stuff. We’re pushing our release here which is coming out in August which has already been out in the States so we’re really ready to get working on some new stuff too.
Paul: Thought of a few record covers! Some recent record covers I’ve really liked. It’s also my favourite album is Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, but I just love that album cover of him lying on his back with a cigarette. It’s just perfect; the photography and everything. And also, Bon Iver’s album cover I think is gorgeous. It really fits the music as well. That’s the next step that’s important so it all really works in harmony….. And when I think of more I’ll shoot you an email.
I’m still waiting on that email.